christmas loneliness | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

How can you fight Christmas loneliness? Especially when expectations for a perfect Christmas have been stoked by ads and family and friends. You want to have that perfect couple of days, surrounded by family and friends, with lots of celebrating and happiness. Instead, what you get is Christmas loneliness.

Lonely is not the same as being alone.

Feeling lonely isn’t the same as being alone. A person who is single and living alone can be happy and not feel lonely, while a person who has lots of family and friends can feel lonely.

Loneliness is about how you feel inside. It’s the need to feel connected to someone. If you’re in a large group of friends but don’t feel an emotional connection to anyone, or suffer with social anxiety, you will feel lonely. If you feel a connection and have an expectation of the person, but person doesn’t reciprocate, you’ll feel let down. You’ll start wondering what’s wrong with you, and before you know it you’re feeling lonely.

Some ways to fight Christmas loneliness.

You don’t need lots of gifts, or a crowd of people at Christmas. Feeling connected to others or to the world often happens in tiny moments.

1. Connect with family and friends.

Not everyone is socially isolated because they choose to be. Sometimes old age just won’t let a person get out as much as before. So it’s time to call the aunt or uncle you haven’t talked to all year. Visit your elderly relative who can’t get out much. Connecting with family and friends reminds us of who we are, and where we come from. There is history to reconnect with. Plus, not only are you cheering up someone who feels lonely, you’re also fighting your own loneliness.

2. Keep your Christmas party small.

Sometimes people feel they need to compete with each other over who has the largest Christmas party. Parties can be a very lonely place for someone with social anxiety, or depression, or SAD. A smaller Christmas party lets you connect with your guests. There’s more interaction taking place, and less chance for a person to feel left out, forgotten, or avoided.

3. Get outdoors.

Go skating, or snowboarding, or just go for a walk. Being outdoors will let you mingle with others. It also gives your body a good workout which boosts the feel good hormones.

4. Plan for Christmas loneliness after someone’s death.

If this is the first Christmas after someone’s death, let friends and family know how you feel. Tell them it’s okay to talk about the deceased person, and to mention the person’s name. Set aside a few days when you will have visitor, and days when you will go visit others. Have an idea of what you want Christmas day to be like regarding the meal, activities, and people. Don’t over plan or over analyze. Be kind to yourself, and be happy with whatever small Christmas you may have planned.

If you’re having trouble with loneliness, don’t be ashamed or afraid of getting in touch with the nearest distress centre or calling a distress hotline. We all need help sometimes. In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

Find me on twitter @tereziafarkas

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