How to Not Feel Lonely When You are Alone During the Holidays

By Deb Roby from Weight for Deb

The holidays are fast upon us, but maybe -for you- this year is different. Either through a move, a divorce, or a death, someone isn’t going to be at your holidays. Maybe nobody will. You might be looking at a week or more of spending quiet days and nights with a spouse or an adult child and you just Do.Not.Feel.In.The.Mood.

Fourteen years ago, I moved across the country from all of my family. In the years since then, parents have died, nieces and nephews have moved to new cities. There is no reason to return to hometowns. It’s just the two of us. Yet here, all our friends are with their families. Some have extended an invitation; it always feels like being the outsider looking in. It’s easier to decline than go.

So I’m speaking from experience. How do you keep from feeling alone when you’re alone during the holidays?

1. Reach out. Do you know any other people spending the holiday alone? Why not start an “orphans” holiday tradition.

2. Volunteer. Even if Holiday Dinner is filled with volunteers, there are places that need you. The best Christmas of my adult life was spent as a Red Cross volunteer helping victims of a huge fire. Does the local animal shelter need help caring for its animals that weekend?

3. Go to a movie. Sitting in the dark, caught up in another life, is fun. I always seek out the best sci fi, mystery or pure escapism movie to see. (This year? Hello, Sherlock Holmes!)

4. Get OUT. With less pressure on your day, take advantage of the break and enjoy a nice long walk outdoors.

5. Write a letter. Think of the five people who had the biggest impact on your this year. Write each a letter telling them about it.

6. Get away. If nothing is tying you to home this year, think about a vacation. One year we took a holiday Hawaiian cruise and discovered our boat was 50% reuniting families and 50% people who were (often newly) alone. We joined forces, played Scrabble and trivia games, sang carols on Christmas Eve, and in many ways, healed as group.

7. Embrace the free time. Is there a creative activity that you simply haven’t had the time to devote to? That detailed notebook of your summer garden -that’s now just seed packets and pictures? That scrapbook project you’ve been saving for a free day? Here’s the time to fully immerse yourself.

8. Dream. What changes would you like to make in the next year? Gather some magazines, search for poems and quotes, and make a vision board to guide you into the future. There are hundreds of examples online to get you started.

9. Catch up. Everyone has been talking about a TV series you haven’t had time to watch (Walking Dead?) Or a book series (Hunger Games? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?) you haven’t had time read. Find it -online has a wide variety of resources- catch up, and be ready to join the discussions when the holidays are over.

10. At home Spa Day! Bubble bath, exfoliate, deep hair conditioning, shape those brows, pedicure, manicure. Add candles and soft music to your at home spa and at the end you’ll feel like a new person!

In short, find a way to make the holiday Not Just Another Day for you, too. Give yourself the gift of the time to indulge yourself in some activity -or activities- that mark the days as special. Spend a little time feeling sad if you must, but do not wallow. Just because you’re not going to have a “Hallmark Holiday” does not mean you can’t find ways to make the days meaningful to you.

Have a friend who may be having an alone holiday themselves? Why not share one or two of these activities!
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