8 Tips To Help Deal With Loneliness At Christmas Time
Whilst Christmas can be the most celebrated time of the year, for others it can be a time of loneliness for a variety of reasons.
Feeling lonely during the festive season could be due to being an international student away from home in student accommodation or due to being an estranged student without a family network.
Another reason for feeling lonely at Christmas could be due to experiencing grief and missing a loved one.
What many people fail to realise is that you can experience feelings of loneliness even being surrounded by other people.
Whatever the reason for feeling lonely during the holidays, read our guide for helpful tips.
Is Loneliness A Mental Health Problem?
Whilst loneliness isn’t a mental health problem it can impact your mental and emotional health.
For those already struggling with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, these feelings can worsen.
Loneliness is a state of mind which can make sufferers feel like they are alone and isolated from others, even if they have lots of social relationships.
Research suggests that loneliness can also impact your sleeping pattern and can cause low self-esteem.
Feelings of loneliness can intensify during the Christmas period because we associate this time of year with being around other people and creating happy memories.
Here are some causes why people may experience loneliness at Christmas:
- Experiencing a relationship break-up
- Dealing with the death of a loved one
- Living away from family or friends at university
- Living on your own or being retired
- Estranged from your family
- Single-parent or care for someone else
- May be surrounded by other people but don’t feel ‘connected’
Tips For Dealing With Loneliness
Now you know a bit about causes for loneliness at Christmas, you can find out about the ways to deal with these feelings.
There are ways to combat these difficult feelings so take on board our 8 helpful tips below.
1. Be Aware Of Your Feelings
Our first tip for dealing with loneliness at Christmas is to be aware of the way that you feel, so that you can actively help yourself and deal with these feelings.
Regardless of your situation, it’s important to make a conscious effort to improve the way you feel, as loneliness can impact your mental health.
Unfortunately these feelings won’t just ‘go away’ if you ignore them, even though it may be difficult, having awareness of the way you feel can help you to make a positive change and can improve your situation.
Remember you can change the way you’re feeling and take control of your emotions.
A good way to track your thoughts and feelings is to keep a journal.
2. Talk To Others
Whilst being honest with yourself about the way you’re feeling is important, it’s also vital to talk to others if you’re struggling.
If you don’t have too many people around you, which could be a cause for experiencing these feelings in the first place, try and talk to a professional.
Whether it be scheduling an appointment with an academic advisor at university, speaking to your GP or even looking online for help.
Loneliness may not be a diagnosable mental health problem but as we said, these feelings can escalate and intensify feelings of depression or anxiety, especially during the festivities.
If you do have people around you, don’t be afraid of talking to others about your feelings and connect with those around you whether it be family or friends.
Chances are, you won’t be the only one experiencing these emotions.
You may find that your mood starts to improve when you reach out to other people, even if you can’t see them.
3. Don’t Isolate Yourself
If loneliness is impacting your life and is particularly prevalent during Christmas time, try not to isolate yourself too much.
Take time to try and strengthen your existing relationships, even if you cannot physically see them over the festive period, you can still reach out to them virtually.
Feeling lonely because you don’t have much of a social network?
Try to socialise with like-minded people in the run up to Christmas.
Such as by spending time in the social areas of your student accommodation or on campus.
If you’re spending Christmas at uni, you might not be the only one, so reach out to those in similar situations such as if you’re an international student or an estranged student.
Having social interactions and spending time with others may feel like a chore if you’re struggling with your state of mind, but it’s a step in improving the symptoms of loneliness.
4. Keep A Routine
Whilst you may not have too much to do during the Christmas period such as when your lectures and seminars finish for the end of term, you should still try and keep yourself busy and stick to a routine.
Having a routine can help reduce stress levels and help reduce the negative emotions associated with loneliness.
So, if you can try and plan your days so that you’re kept busy and not spending too much time alone and in your bedroom or stuck at home during the holidays.
Tis the season to be jolly after all, so try your best to keep yourself busy and make plans each day, to prevent yourself from focusing too much on your state of mind.
5. Use Social Media Wisely
Whether you want to keep in touch with family and friends who you’re unable to see over the holidays or make new connections online, social media can be great for helping with feelings of loneliness.
Although, it is important to use social media wisely as there are some negative impacts it can have upon your state of mind.
Such as, it can make you feel more isolated if you’re comparing your situation over the festive period to other people’s through online posts.
Not only can you experience feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) you can also compare your holiday experience to others.
You may even be reminded of people who aren’t in your life anymore, such as if you’re feeling lonely due to a recent break up or due to drifting from friends.
If you’re substituting real connections with people for social media, such as by only communicating with those in your life through online platforms, this can make you feel more isolated and make your feelings of loneliness worsen.
Social media is great in moderation and is a great way to catch up with people far away, but be wary of ‘doom scrolling’ and spending too much time on the digital landscape over the holidays.
6. Head Outdoors
When you’re lonely, the last thing you may want to do is exercise and spend time outdoors.
Spending time curled up in bed watching films might seem like a dream especially during the winter period, but it can make your emotions worsen and make you feel more isolated.
We all know that exercise and mental health are intertwined due to the release of endorphins so, try to exercise to improve your state of mind.
Whether it’s getting involved with group exercise classes, going for a daily run or walk or even doing some homework outs, this can all help to improve your feelings of loneliness.
Even maintaining a healthy habit of exercising 20-30 minutes a day can make you feel better!
7. Do Things You Enjoy
Keeping a routine and keeping yourself busy is important when you’re feeling lonely, but so is doing things you enjoy.
Some activities that you may enjoy doing could be reading a book, watching a new TV show or film, painting or even playing an instrument.
Doing things that make you feel good can improve your mood and your state of mind.
You should also try to get involved with activities which interest you whether it’s on campus or within your local community, as these can make great opportunities to make new connections.
If you don’t have too many people to make plans with, don’t be afraid of doing things by yourself.
Whilst it can seem daunting, you can still create plans whether it’s going to the Christmas Markets by yourself, taking yourself out for some food or going shopping – get comfortable being in your own company!
If you’re spending Christmas day alone, try to plan ahead so you’re kept busy and can do activities that you find fun.
8. Volunteer Or Join A Group
Our final tip for dealing with loneliness at Christmas is to volunteer within your community, or join a group.
If you’re looking to get started with volunteering over the festive period, see if there’s any opportunities available at your university, or search online for local organisations.
We’re sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer and help out within your local area or take part in groups, like societies at your university.
Not only will being surrounded by others help with your negative feelings and put a smile on your face, but it can also help other people feeling this way feel better too.
As we said earlier, many people feel lonely in the run up to Christmas so you’re not alone.
You could even start your own group or event such as at your university or within your student accommodation!
Where To Turn For Support
Whilst we hope that our tips for dealing with loneliness at Christmas prove useful to you, we’re not professionals.
Struggling with your mental health due to feelings of loneliness this Christmas? Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Here are some helpful online resources you can make use of to help combat loneliness:
Are you curious as to how you can be more eco-friendly during the festive season? Take a look at our guide on Our Top Tips For Having A Sustainable Christmas.