Christmas and New Year’s Eve, two iconic holidays at the end of each year when we spend time with close friends and loved ones and be happy – right? That’s the general assumption at any rate. However, the reality for many people, isn’t quite so picture perfect.
According to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC, in an article published by PsychCentral in 2013, expectations are immensely high around Christmas, and many people feel extremely pressured to be socially connected and happy. The article went on to suggest that there is this overarching misconception that everyone else is living a perfect, happy-go-lucky life with the perfect family. Everyone, of course, except you – thus triggering feelings of isolation.
So what is one to do when it appears everyone bar you is happy and celebrating Christmas with loved ones?
Give back to others
Consider getting involved with the myriad of volunteer and charity programs running throughout the Christmas period. From volunteering at a soup kitchen, a Salvation Army store, or other organisation, there are many options available. Spending a few hours a week this way may help you put your own situation into perspective and give you a chance to give back to those in need this Christmas. An added benefit is the opportunity to socialise with new people and the potential to forge long-lasting connections.
Look after yourself
When feeling isolated, it can be very easy to fall into a slump and further worsen your mood. Make sure to keep active and take good care of yourself. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well and remaining physically active throughout the holidays. Consider participating in group activities for an added chance to meet new people.
Seek out interaction
It’s important to surround yourself with people you can talk to and distract yourself from your negative thoughts. When engaging with an individual or group that matches your interests, you are less likely to be so intensely focused on your feelings of isolation, allowing you to break the self-defeating pattern.
It can be hard to override the initial instinct to isolate yourself from the world when feeling lonely, which is where platforms such as The Connectar can help make the process easier. By finding and pairing you with likeminded individuals, you will have the means to establish truly meaningful friendships with people who may be in a similar situation to yourself.
The Christmas period may be a difficult time for you (for a number of reasons), but it’s crucial to remind yourself there are others out there who feel exactly the same as you do.