Loneliness is hard to deal with, period.
It’s even more difficult to handle during the holiday season. It could be the high level of pressure to “be happy” or share special moments with family (who may or not be around). These expectations can be even more difficult for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or figuring out a way to move on from a relationship. So, if you find yourself feeling extra lonely this holiday season, here are a few suggestions to help you cope.
Call a friend.
Loneliness naturally tends to get worse the longer you’re lonely. That could be because you have more time with yourself to let your thoughts run wild. Therefore, the quickest way to reverse your feeling of loneliness is to pursue social interaction. When you disrupt the isolation, you break the cycle! If you’re feeling lonely, call a friend or family member.
Look for Volunteer Opportunities.
Volunteering is great way to make new friends and meet new people. During the holidays, there are always an abundance of organizations looking for help! Try serving at a local soup kitchen, or getting involved in a non profit organization like The Red Cross.
Get out of your house.
When you’re feeling lonely, being at home is not a good place to be. Nothing positive comes from steeping in your loneliness. In fact, the presence of other people, even those you don’t know, can immediately make you feel less isolated and prevent a downward spiral. Try going for a walk in a public space or grabbing a coffee at a local Starbucks.
Limit social media.
Social media often leads us to compare our own lives with the lives of others. This makes it super easy to see something that makes us feel down about ourselves. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others on social media, limit or stop your use during the holidays.
Make taking care of yourself a priority. This means getting enough sleep, doing activities you enjoy, and putting your emotional needs first. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings, and then separate yourself from them.
Have realistic expectations.
Your loneliness may be a result of elevated expectations about how the holidays will play out. For instance, if you know that historically your family members are unsupportive, don’t expect anything to change this year. If you don’t have high expectations, you can’t be disappointed. Try to accept things as they are.
Talk to a therapist.
When you’re experiencing loneliness, therapy can be very helpful. It’s much more common than you think to feel the way you are feeling. In fact, many people struggle during the holidays. Therapy is an opportunity to explore yourself on a deeper level with a trained professional and explore internal resolutions that can help change the way you’re feeling.