Christmas is in the air. Pictures of Christmas trees and holiday décor are all over social media. Malls are bustling with holiday shoppers. Recipes are circulating to help you make the best holiday meals, and folks are busy planning their annual holiday gatherings with friends and family.
Yet, in spite of the hustle and bustle, some people are struggling to get in the spirit of things.
Many will find themselves alone this holiday season, some by choice and others because it’s the in-laws’ turn, or it’s their turn to work the holiday, or they can’t afford to make the trip. While some are perfectly fine with being by themselves, others really struggle with being alone for the holidays.
If you are fighting loneliness this holiday season, acknowledge and accept your circumstances. Then, get a game plan together to help you to enjoy the holiday season as much as possible. You might want to consider these things as you are determining your action plan:
Treat yourself to something special. You know, that thing you don’t ever splurge on – do that. Treat yourself to a holiday concert or a meal at your favorite restaurant with a friend.
Guard your mind. Loneliness can be a slippery slope into a negative mindset of telling yourself all kinds of things that aren’t true. Be careful where you allow your thoughts to go. And, focus on what you have instead of what is missing.
Reach out to someone you know in a similar circumstance and plan a celebration. It might surprise you how much fun a gathering of friends could be at this time of year.
If you have extra time on your hands, give the gift of time by serving meals, delivering gifts or visiting shut-ins. Many who have walked this road say that giving the gift of their time was the most beautiful surprise of the holiday season. They went to give and they walked away having received so much more than they gave.
Start a new tradition. Without all of the pressures that come from family expectations, you are free to start something new.
Limit your time on social media. There is no point in subjecting yourself to what looks like everybody else’s perfect celebrations.
Give people the opportunity to include you in their celebration. Believe it or not, there are many times when friends don’t realize you're going to be alone. Don’t assume you would be intruding on their family celebration. There is nothing wrong with letting people know you are going to be alone for the holidays and giving them the opportunity to extend an invitation for you to join them.
Rent a good movie you haven’t had time to watch.
Splurge and eat your favorite food, take a long winter’s nap, read a good book or take a hike.
Don't let loneliness overshadow your holidays. Reach out to others and find ways to connect with people this holiday season.