Christmas Loneliness

By Samantha De Bono

For some, Christmas is anything but the season to be jolly. For a variety of reasons there are people who dread this time of year due to loneliness.

Loneliness is difficult at the best of times, but at a time of year where it’s all about being connected with family and friends and loved ones, loneliness ratchets up quite a few more notches.

We tend to presume everyone else is living the dream. All the films we see with families spending joyous time with their loved ones, hearing others talk about their Christmas plans with friends and family. Watching everybody else’s apparent excitement about the upcoming festivities can send some into an extremely unhappy decline.

The belief that everyone is having a wonderful time, except you, can feel isolating.

Here are a few things that might help you get through this holiday period:

1. Do not isolate yourself. No matter how much you might be tempted to withdraw from the world, this will only increase your feelings of loneliness. Meet up with friends, if that’s not possible, take yourself off to where there are celebrations. Church gatherings are a great place to do this where you are welcome even if you don’t regularly attend. Go to a teashop. Look online before the holiday period for groups or interests you can join that will not only carry you through the holiday time, but into the future too. When you engage in things that take your mind elsewhere, you have less time to ruminate and repeat negative patterns.

2. Give your feelings of loneliness a time limit. Say to yourself “okay I’m feeling lonely, but in an hours time I’m going to do….”. Stop the loneliness feeding on itself.

3. Check your expectations. Have you got an unrealistic idea of what you should be doing or feeling? Are you comparing your life to someone you know who has 12 brothers and sisters who all get together? If you are the only child in your family it is likely to be a small gathering, it doesn’t have to mean a miserable gathering. Accepting what you have is far more satisfying than spending energy wishing you had something else.

4. You could volunteer your time to those in need. Find where you could help on Christmas day.

5. Be upfront about what’s going on for you. Don’t expect others to guess how you’re feeling. Even if you look really upset, people often avoid saying anything for fear of overstepping the mark, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or what you need. You can’t get your needs met if nobody knows what your needs are.

Above all, remember there are many, many people in the same boat as you. When we feel lonely we tend to think we are the only person going through it which makes things worse. But if you feel you can’t cope with your feelings of loneliness, please reach out to others. Ask for support from friends, family or a counsellor.

Samantha De Bono 07588 931 401
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