Home alone for the holidays
As greeting cards and carols remind us, Christmas is a time for family and togetherness, but if this season you find yourself alone, don't give up on having a good time. There are many things you can do to make the holidays feel a little less lonely even when you're alone.
Here are 10 things you can do if you're alone for the holidays, from psychcentral.com.
1 Adjust expectations. Elaine Rodino, a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, California, said there are so many categories of expectations about the season being just right that it brings up all sorts of issues relating to family, stress and anxiety, eating disorders, sobriety, self-esteem, competency - and the list goes on. "There's this idea that it's supposed to be perfect, and if it's not, the person asks, 'What's wrong with me?'"
2 Pick up the phone. Call friends and ask to be included in whatever they're doing. Rodino suggests offering to bring a dish or seeing how you can contribute to the gathering. She said most people love opening their homes and expanding the celebration. It works for everyone.
3 Be proactive. Create an 'alternate family' made up of people whose company you enjoy. Plan and prepare a potluck feast if you like. Remember that you are not alone in being alone during the holidays. Get together with others and have some fun.
4 Plan an outing. Go to the movies or a park. Enjoy the outing with your group or by yourself.
5 Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a day of beauty at a spa. Get a massage or find some other special way to luxuriate. Do whatever you enjoy.
6 Reach out. "Build bridges the rest of the year, and cross them during the holidays," said Craig Ellison, author of Saying Goodbye to Loneliness and Finding Intimacy. If you can't be with family or loved ones during this time of the year, send them letters or emails or call them.
7 Remember your bonds and blessings. Pull out photo albums and read old letters. While this may be bittersweet, Ellison said it's not toxic. If possible, get on the phone and talk with loved ones.
8 Help others. Volunteering at a mission or shelter for the homeless will help you feel connected. Ellison suggests that you participate in activities with this organisation at other times of the year, not just during holidays. This will make the experience more fulfilling.
9 Travel. If you have the finances, get away for a few days. Singles groups often organise tours during the holidays. Rodino says this gets you out of the traditional holiday mindset.
10 Just get through the day. If you're unable to do any of these things, Rodino tells her patients to just get through it. Read. Sleep. Rent a video. And remember, tomorrow it will all be over.
The holidays can be a lonely time, but that doesn't mean you have to feel alone. Stay focused on acknowledging and meeting your needs and enjoying the time alone.