Many people associate the holidays with friends, family, and continual festivity. People appear to put socialization on high gear and don’t seem to take any pauses. Others, on the other hand, may find the holidays to be lonelier than any other time of year.
During these winter months, not everyone has close friends and family to spend time with. Some people may have it set aside for extra alone time by accident. Taking more time for oneself during the holidays isn’t necessarily harmful, but doing so excessively might result in bad emotions and feelings of loneliness.
Getting a good balance of alone time during the holidays
There’s a distinction between needing some alone time and avoiding being in the company of others. “It’s like taking a halftime break at a football game,” Megan Williams explains. “You’ve been conversing with folks for a couple of hours and need to take a 15-minute break to recharge your batteries.”
Alone time can be beneficial since it allows you to focus on yourself and the things that make you happy. You can celebrate on your own in a number of ways:
- Begin a new custom! Make a new Christmas habit for yourself by baking a holiday dessert or watching a new holiday film.
- Revisit an old skill. Take out your dusty old instrument, put on your dancing shoes, or do anything else that makes you feel like yourself.
- Get out of the house and do something fun. Explore that museum you’ve heard so much about, or spend some time outside in nature if the weather permits.
- Make phone calls and write letters. Because your loved ones are too far away to see this year, you may find yourself alone for the holidays. To stay connected, spend some time chatting to them on the phone or writing to them. Even a single brief phone call can be encouraging.
While spending quality time alone is beneficial to the soul, it’s also necessary to know your boundaries and when you need to socially recharge. To be healthy, everyone, whether introverted or extroverted, requires some level of socializing.
When alone time evolves into avoidance or extended isolation, it can become unhealthy. As a coping tactic for anxiety and loneliness, we may shun social connection altogether. This loneliness can lead to depressed symptoms, which in turn can lead to even more feelings of loneliness — it’s a vicious cycle.
Other options for dealing with holiday loneliness
If you don’t have any family members nearby, you’ll have to take more action.
- Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities. There are many ways to serve others, and the number of chances grows over the holiday season. Volunteering helps you to make a positive difference while also allowing you to socialize without feeling obligated.
- Accept the invitation. Accept invites to do things from friends and coworkers, even if you don’t spend much time with them. You don’t have to accept every invitation, but putting yourself out there in this way can help you feel less alone.
If you’re depressed or lonely, don’t make things worse by comparing your plans to those of others. Stay away from social media; it’s just a “highlight reel” of someone’s life, and it might make you feel insignificant. Practice healthy coping skills and remind yourself of what’s best for you, even if it means devoting more time to self-care.