How to Cope With Loneliness During the Holidays

Lonely woman.
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While it's supposed to be a jolly time of year, many people find themselves combating feelings of loneliness during the holiday season. And if you’re currently without a plus one, holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations can be even more challenging, uncomfortable and isolating, as you may feel an additional pressure or judgment that you’re not currently with someone special. In addition, you may feel sad, embarrassed or disappointed that you don’t have someone of significance in your life at this very moment, and hanging out under the mistletoe all by yourself can make you feel as though you're missing out on what the season's all about.

Fortunately, there are four key ways that you can prevent loneliness during the holiday season and beat the holiday blues with flying colors. Remember, the New Year’s Eve ball may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean that your confidence should.

1. Surround Yourself With People Who Treat You Well

During the holiday season, you may feel obligated or encouraged to spend time with people you’re not particularly fond of, and feelings of isolation and loneliness can start to set in. In fact, this can be especially true when you have to face these individuals without a plus one by your side. However, rather than feeling compelled to spend your time with people who belong on the “naughty” list, you should make a real effort to surround yourself with those who treat you with dignity, kindness, and respect. In fact, going out of your way to hang out with and talk to family members, friends, and other important people in your life who have your best interest at heart is key to fighting the holiday blues.

2. Don’t Isolate Yourself

Along these lines, if you’re battling loneliness during the holidays, it’s important that you stay busy and continue to engage in the activities and pastimes that are meaningful and significant to you — even if you don’t have a significant other. And while your first instinct may be to stay away from others during this time of year and decline invitations to gatherings since you’re currently riding solo, this is only going to make your feelings of loneliness worse. So rather than staying in and shutting out the outside world, you should make a true effort to continue to engage in your passions and pursuits and push yourself out of your comfort zone by saying “yes” more often — even if it means doing something by yourself. In fact, when you make a concerted effort to stay social during the holiday season, you’re upping your chances of meeting new and interesting people who can enrich your life.

3. Remind Yourself to Stay Positive and Upbeat

An additional step toward combating the holiday blues is to keep a positive attitude. After all, if you feel as though you’re never going to meet someone, that you’re always going to be alone during the holidays and are green with envy that others have a significant other during this time of year, these feelings are going to lead to the holiday blues. And even more alarming, having a negative outlook is only going to cause you to feel even more isolated, anxious, and alone. On the flip side, if you choose to stay positive, engage in what the season has to offer and recognize that you’re not destined for a life like Uncle Scrooge and that you will in fact meet someone, you can keep loneliness out while bringing in more happiness, joy, and optimism. 

4. Understand That Everyone Feels Lonely From Time to Time

With this in mind, in order to ward off the holidays blues, it’s important that you’re not hard on yourself and that you understand everyone feels lonely sometimes. Along these lines, you shouldn’t be mad at yourself that you’re dealing with feelings of loneliness, as it’s perfectly normal and natural to experience these emotions throughout your life. And as long as you recognize that everyone has good days and bad days, you’ll be better able to manage your emotions. In fact, accepting that it’s okay to feel lonely is actually an important step toward fighting and conquering loneliness during the holiday season. In a word, while you may have moments where you feel lonely, it’s imperative to recognize that you’re not the only one who is experiencing this. And while it may be cold outside, it’s important that you’re not cold or cruel to yourself.