Holiday loneliness: How to cope with feeling lonely

Holiday loneliness can make you feel uncomfortable, especially if you stay away from your families. Here’s how to overcome it.

‘Tis might not be the season to be jolly for all of us! The holidays can be fun for many, but many people also feel holiday loneliness. If you have been feeling rather down in the dumps because you have no one to celebrate the festivities with, we got you!

The holiday season, while often associated with joy and celebration, can be particularly challenging for many individuals in terms of mental health. The heightened expectations of happiness and togetherness during holidays can intensify feelings of loneliness, grief, and stress. Health Shots got in touch with psychologist Dr Imran Noorani, who tells us how to feel happy even if you lonely in the holiday season.

Is it normal to feel holiday loneliness?

Yes! Especially for those grappling with mental health issues, the pressure to conform to societal norms of festive cheer may exacerbate anxiety and depression. “People also feel financially strained as the holidays require one to give gifts and meet social obligations can contribute to emotional distress. The emphasis on family gatherings may trigger painful memories or highlight strained relationships, further impacting one’s well-being,” explains Dr Noorani.

How does living alone impact your mental health?

Living alone can have both positive and negative effects on mental health, and the impact varies from person to person. “Some individuals thrive in solitude, finding it conducive to their well-being, while others may experience feelings of loneliness or isolation,” says Dr Noorani. However, by building your support system, staying connected virtually with your family, engaging in community events, creating a solid routine helps. Besides this, you must concentrate on setting goals for yourself.

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It is essential to recognise that the key to a positive living-alone experience lies in maintaining a balance between independence and social connection. “Being proactive in fostering connections and taking care of your mental health can contribute to a fulfilling and satisfying life, even when living alone,” says Dr Noorani.

a sad woman
Living alone can impact your mental health. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to cope with holiday loneliness?

Are you alone, and missing family? Well, first of all it’s normal to feel so. But if it’s weighing you down, try these tips by Dr Noorani to join in the cheer!

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1. Practice self-compassion

Practice self-compassion and acknowledge that it’s okay to be alone during the holidays. Avoid self-judgment and negative self-talk, and instead, be kind and understanding to yourself.

2. Set realistic expectations

Manage expectations and recognise that the holidays don’t have to be perfect. Let go of societal pressures and create realistic expectations for yourself, focusing on what brings you comfort and joy.

3. Plan enjoyable activities

It is very important to do things that help you de stress and enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, watching movies, or pursuing a hobby, plan activities that contribute positively to your well-being.

4.Reach out for support

It is very important to talk to your friends, family, or ask for support on support networks. Even if physical presence isn’t possible, connecting virtually can provide a sense of companionship and emotional support.

5.Volunteer or give back

Consider volunteering your time to help others. Acts of kindness can boost your mood and provide a sense of purpose, creating a positive impact on both yourself and those you assist.

a notebook with a to-do list

6.-Practice mindfulness

Stay present in the moment by practicing mindfulness. Whether through meditation or simply paying attention to your surroundings, mindfulness can help alleviate stress and enhance your overall well-being.

7.Self-care routine

Prioritise self-care by maintaining a regular routine. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat well, and engage in activities that promote physical and mental health.

8.-Reflect and set goals

Use the time alone for self-reflection. Set personal goals for the upcoming year and focus on self-improvement. This can provide a sense of purpose and direction.

9.Seek professional help if needed

If feelings of loneliness or sadness become overwhelming, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Here you can discuss what you need exactly and support can be provided.

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