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Dealing with loneliness at Christmas

woman sitting alone at Christmas

Loneliness can be difficult to cope with at any time of the year, but add a little forced festive cheer and, for many, it becomes unbearable. If you're set to spend the Christmas period mostly, or completely, alone, here are our tips for coping with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

 

1. You're not alone

Perhaps one of the most isolating feelings when it comes to spending Christmas alone, is the idea that you're the only one in that situation. In short, you're not. There are lots of people who, for whatever reason, aren't seeing friends or family at Christmas. It's also entirely possible to feel lonely in a room full of people. Take some of the pressure off yourself by recognising that many, many people are in the same boat and it's nothing to be embarrassed about.

 

2. ...but if you want to be, that's fine too

Don't feel pressured to accept invitations if you'd really rather be by yourself. Sometimes, being in a room full of people who don't understand how you feel can make things worse. If you're not sure whether you want to accept an invite, or are wavering, make a compromise in the form of dropping by for a festive drink before or after Christmas dinner, then spend the rest of the day as you want to.

 

3. Try and meet new people

older women at christmas market

Easier said than done, we know. But take a look at things going on in your local community - walking groups, craft groups, evening courses... There are plenty around and many of these are free (or very cheap) to join. Join now and you may well be in time for their Christmas get-togethers too, so even if you aren't seeing friends and family on Christmas Day, you can still enjoy some festive fun beforehand. Making new friends may seem daunting, but it may well be the best decision you've ever made. 

The U3A, the Women's Institute and the Townswomen's Guild are particularly good organisations to get involved with as they operate all over the UK.

 

4. Avoid overindulging 

While it may be tempting to say 'sod it' and work your way through a vat of Christmas wine, excessive drinking and eating will do very little to lift your mood. Like the outdoors? Try going for a winter walk instead. Have a neighbour in the same position? Invite them over for a mince pie. Feeling lethargic? Go for a quick bike ride. The key here is to get moving, interact, and keep looking outward instead of inward.

 

5. Talk to someone

Don't bottle it up - if you feel lonely, talk to someone. Whether it's a counsellor, a family member or a friend, it's far better to acknowledge your feelings and understand that they are valid and real. The Campaign to End Loneliness and The Silver Line both have helplines that allow people who may be feeling alone to make personal connections. And don't forget, there's a large community of supportive people to chat with here on Gransnet (some of whom will be dealing with the same feelings), even over the Christmas period.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Images: Shutterstock