For most of us Christmas is when the whole family get together, enjoy wine and food, and invite friends to parties. However, for others it can be the loneliest time of the year.
On one messed up Christmas Eve several years ago, when I lost my job just a few days before, I missed my flight home, had no money for another ticket, and had to go back to my small rental apartment, holding my knees and sitting in the cold sofa.
I felt so lonely but had to pretend to be smiling when my mom gave me a video call. My tears couldn’t hold back after the call ended.
That scene is, I guess, something everyone must experience at some point of life. It’s the loneliness challenge which no one can escape from.
And loneliness doesn’t necessarily discriminate by age. Young people aged 16 to 24 reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups, according to a national survey.
“Loneliness and isolation can be especially triggered at Christmas,” said Liz Ritchie, a psychotherapist, “as it’s the time where you miss the people you may have lost in your life, whether that it be through failed relationships, living far from relatives, losing touch, bereavement or social isolation.”
However, according to Ritchie, the “lonely feeling” is just a feeling, and although you may be painful, you need try to accept these feelings rather than over-reacting to them. Negative thoughts are, in the end, normal emotions that you are able to handle. You are being loved, and you should never feel like you are lacking support.
1. Make an effort to spend time with people, especially positive ones who lift your spirits.
2. Don’t turn down every invitation – why not say yes?
3. If you can, find your feel-good factors. Why not try exercise and activate those endorphins?
4. Be mindful of your eating habits; it is easy to forget that you need to be nourished as well as satisfied. Try and eat right.
5. Enjoy sunlight, outdoors if possible. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a real issue during the winter months.
6. Boost your self-esteem; perhaps you can help those less fortunate.
7. Enjoy your solitude, if it is just for one day! If being alone is unavoidable, try and embrace it - you might like it. Cook for yourself, watch your favorite movie, and enjoy your life on your own. Keep things in perspective. This helps you most.
I’m in a steady relationship right now and keep constant contacts with my parents (I don’t have siblings.) There are many days in one year that I have to be alone at home because my husband usually goes for business trips, but I always enjoy those days because I know I’m not alone. Don’t let your emotions control you. Control your emotions instead.