It seems odd to admit to feeling lonely at Christmas. The season of giving, of Secret Santa and frantic festive shopping where everyone always seems to have too many plans to keep up with.
But it’s a lot easier to feel lonely at Christmas than you think. With such a bright, cheery holiday comes a lot of emotion – particularly for those who don’t have a large family, or have recently lost someone close to them.
Whilst the adverts on TV will tell you that everyone else is spending Christmas around a giant table of food with the people they love the most, it’s easy to feel left out and alone.
Perhaps you’ve recently gone through a break up, or are facing a tough time with your family this year, or are just feeling a little bit low…all the Christmas movies in the world won’t make that go away. So it’s time to take action, and get ready for your new Christmas tradition: companionship.
Take some perspective
In the kindest frame of mind, take a step back and try to look at why you’re feeling so low and lonely right now. Are there people you’ve been neglecting to reach out to, or that you’ve fallen out with recently? Have you been isolating yourself due to work, illness or a personal struggle? Perhaps you’re surrounded by people and family but aren’t feeling connected to them this year.
Taking the time to evaluate why you feel so lonely could help you make the connection of what to do next. Maybe it’s making a phone call to an estranged relative, or starting a conversation with someone you’ve lost touch with.
It could even be as small as sending a Christmas card to someone you really want to get to know, with a nice message inside wishing them a happy Christmas. Gain some perspective on your own loneliness, and it might help you start to fix it.
One of the easiest ways to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling alone is to start filling up your diary with plans for after the festive season.
Arrange to go for coffee with a colleague, or spend the day shopping with a friend. Buy yourself a new calendar, and write down all of the plans you want to happen in the new year.
Whether it’s visiting family far away, arranging a Skype call with your friends, planning a cinema trip for a new release, or just inviting someone over for a quick cup of tea.
The more plans you make, the easier Christmas will be come, and you can start to relax and enjoy yourself with the knowledge that January will be bringing even more exciting things.
Bottling up how you’re feeling could be one of the reasons you’re feeling lonely this year, particularly if you have people around you but are struggling to connect.
Sit your loved ones down and explain how you’re feeling and why – even if they find it hard to hear, they might be able to offer some suggestions to help you feel better over the festive period.
Sending an honest message in your friends group chat, or even just a social media status can help people to really understand what’s going on with you and will help them make the moves to connect again.
And if things are starting to get you really down, it might be worth talking to your GP, being honest with them about how you feel, and seeing what they can offer you to help.
Reach out to your community
One of the loneliest feelings in the world is standing in a crowd of people but being alone. So why not extend your social reach and find out about some events happening in your community?
At Christmas there are so many craft fairs, light ceremonies, festive markets and community events who always need volunteers to help – so get yourself out there and offer your services!
Sending out a couple of emails or making a couple of phone calls could help give you a new purpose for the festive season, and you could gain a new sense of belonging within your own community.
Invest in a furry friend
Although this one might be a little difficult to arrange, if possible, get yourself a small furry buddy for the holiday season. Spending time with animals like cats and dogs can be a real mood boost if you’re feeling down, and can give you a feeling of companionship when you’re feeling alone. T
he presence of another living thing in your house can make you feel more comfortable at home, and can also help you connect to people through walking, training or looking after them.
Some charities are also looking for Christmas foster homes for their animals, so why not offer up your home for a little while to keep you company over the festive period.
Enjoy being alone
If you’re loneliness is really starting to get you down, and it’s something that no amount of reaching out can solve, it’s time to start enjoying yourself. Stick up those decorations, blast that Mariah Carey track and just have fun!
Go to all of the Christmas markets, treat yourself to a new pair of cosy pyjamas, catch up on your favourite Netflix show and just enjoy being alone.
Life can change in very strange ways, and who knows? By next year you could be spending Christmas with a new festive group of people. So take this year to just enjoy being alone, and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do!
It is hard to be alone at Christmas, and many of us do feel the same way. But there is always someone to listen, and there are always people out there who care. If your loneliness is getting you down, here are some numbers to call for a good old fashioned chat this winter:
- MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393
- Connecting Communities: 0300 456 1155
OUR TEAM ARE SUPER CHATTY SO DROP US A MESSAGE ON TWITTER IF YOU’RE LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS AND WE WILL LEND AN EAR