Loneliness can strike at any time.
However, many people report that feelings of loneliness can be particularly strong during the holiday season.
Why is this?
Perhaps it’s because it’s the time of year when many families come together to spend time with each other, exchange presents, take part in religious services, eat together, and generally see more of each other than any other time of year.
But for some people, it’s just another day of being alone.
Sadly, not all of us are fortunate enough to have close family or friendship groups, and the festive season can feel like nothing but a painful reminder of how alone we are.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are many different ways we can reduce loneliness during the holidays – for ourselves, or for others.
I’m lonely. What can I do?
- Volunteer to serve Christmas dinner to homeless people – your support will be greatly appreciated and you can spend time with other volunteers and people using the service.
- Attend a religious service – you don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to go to a Christmas service, and in my experience, most church congregations are kind and welcoming.
- Join a carol singing group – this is a brilliant opportunity not only to spend time with others but to get into the festive spirit with a bit of a sing-song!
- Video chat with relatives – if your problem is that your relatives live too far away to visit for the holidays, why not video chat with them? There are plenty of platforms you can use, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and so on.
They’re lonely. What can I do?
- Invite them for Christmas dinner – if you have space for one more at the dinner table, why not invite your next-door neighbour/colleague/friend to join your family for a meal?
- Send them a holiday card – try to write a little more than Happy Holidays in the card. Perhaps tell them about your year and ask them what they have been up to – offer the opportunity for them to connect with you.
- Just invite them over for a coffee – you don’t need to do anything elaborate, simply spending an hour having a coffee with someone can mean the world in terms of relieving loneliness.
The holidays don’t need to be a lonely time. If anything, they can be a gateway to making connections that banish loneliness for good.
However, there will be some people who face barriers to making connections at this or any time. If you are finding loneliness overwhelming, please remember that Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (including holidays). You can contact a compassionate listener by:
- Telephone: 116 123
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA
Samaritans can only keep being there for people in crisis thanks to those who donate to keep the service running. If you are able to, please consider donating to Samaritans or another mental health charity.
Have you experienced loneliness during the holiday season? Maybe you have some of your own helpful tips or advice for others? Let me know in the comments!