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How to Combat Feeling Lonely During the Holidays

Angela Paoli
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Woman thinking how to combat loneliness during the holidays.
The festive season, favorite to many a Christmas celebrator, can be a lonely time of the year if you have nobody to spread the joy with.

Online therapy can be a vital source of support for many during the holidays, providing a listening ear and practical strategies to foster a sense of connection amidst solitude. It can help address the feelings of isolation that more than 30% of Americans experience during a time typically associated with festivities and communal cheer.

Whether your loneliness stems from being away from family, grieving the loss of a loved one, or experiencing the pressures of social comparison, it can significantly dampen the holiday spirit.

As a therapist, I've witnessed the transformative power of online therapy in overcoming these hurdles. Let me guide you through some strategies to help you feel less alone this festive season.

» Learn about the 10 most common types of therapy.

Christmas Conundrums

In my practice, I often encounter holiday-related stressors and emotional triggers such as financial strain, the stress of gift-giving, the demands of hosting, and the challenges of traveling to see family and friends.

Travel during the holidays, affecting 47% of US consumers, is invariably hectic and can lead to family conflicts, which become significant headaches, especially if past seasons have consistently involved disputes.

This period can also heighten social anxiety, as there's pressure to mingle with large groups, sometimes at mandatory work events like holiday parties or end-of-year functions.

The urge to compare oneself with others on social media, who appear to be having a perfect holiday, can trigger stress and set unrealistic expectations for happiness.

Additionally, the sorrow of grieving a lost loved one often intensifies during this season and should not be overlooked.

» Discover the upside: Explore 10 surprising benefits of alone time for your mental health.

'Tis the Season to Accept Yourself

Acknowledge and accept your feelings of loneliness without self-judgment first. Recognize that many people feel this way during the holidays, and it's a completely normal response. Finding acceptance with yourself is crucial.

After you've acknowledged your feelings:

  • Reach out to loved ones or friends for support
  • Plan social activities
  • Volunteer
  • Start new traditions
  • Practice self-care
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself
  • Reach out to a therapist when possible

Remember, you're not alone. As I mentioned, this time of year can be a vulnerable period for a lot of people. Seek ways to overcome the loneliness of the holiday season, aiming for a happier, healthier time.

How to Overcome Holiday Loneliness

If you choose, you can enjoy plenty of activities alone to distract yourself from loneliness. Consider journaling, playing board games, joining online support groups, delving into video games, spending time with a pet, taking nature walks, watching your favorite movies, listening to music, or even throwing a dance party in your living room.

You can also pick up a new hobby that you've been wanting to try but never started. Or, divert some of your attention to those minor annoyances at home you've been neglecting.

During times of isolation and loneliness, it's vital to tap into your creativity and seek out activities that bring you joy. Keeping busy can be a welcome distraction from the negative feelings accompanying a solitary holiday.

Some other suggestions include:

  • Reading
  • Experimenting with new recipes
  • Indulging in arts and crafts
  • Building something
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Exercising via online classes or videos
  • Gardening
  • Watching movies
  • Organizing or decluttering your living space
  • Exploring new subjects of interest

A Healing Holiday

If all of the above is uninviting to you, online therapy may be the solution you need. It may seem daunting to take that first step, but reflecting on how therapy can benefit you and setting clear goals for what you hope to achieve can help shift your focus.

Research therapists by reading their bios and understanding their backgrounds to find someone compatible. Platforms like BetterHelp provide a vast selection of counselors, while services like Cerebral offer affordable options that can accommodate your holiday budget.

And if the first attempt at therapy doesn't feel right, it's absolutely fine to explore other options. Feeling comfortable and safe with your therapist is crucial for effective treatment. If this means trying out several practitioners to find the right match, then allow yourself that flexibility.

Reminding yourself that these feelings are temporary is an important step toward a more supported and uplifted holiday experience. Wishing you a healing journey!

» Looking for a simple, less intimidating start to therapy? Try our best online therapy chat services.

Angela Paoli
Angela Paoli writes for Top10.com and is currently works as a tele-health Therapist Associate providing evidence-based treatments to diverse individuals who are experiencing anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar, insomnia, ADHD, etc. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has over a decade of experience working as a licensed social worker and online therapist. She specializes in providing mental health services to US military members and their families.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.