Feeling lonely during the holiday or festive season? Here’s how to cope with it
Loneliness and seasonal affective disorders pose real threats to one’s emotional state of mind, particularly when people can't physically see their families. The holiday season, in general, can be a lonely time for those celebrating alone.
This year, however, has brought an additional hurdle owing to the pandemic’s uncertainty. Celebrating without the physical presence of our loved ones in the wake of controlling the virus has certainly thrown the spotlight on the many emotional impacts that loneliness can have on people.
Either way, feeling alone or down around this time of year is common, and completely normal, whether or not we are living through a global pandemic. To those who have never experienced seclusion amid the holiday season, even the likelihood of facing hostile emotions during the so-called “most wonderful time of the year” may seem far-fetched.
This is because not everyone feels loved and supported. The holidays are often a challenging phase for those who don’t have family or a dependable support system. This encompasses people who have lost loved ones, and those who have stressed family relationships. Another reason for holiday loneliness is the increase of triggers, especially during a time when emotions are heightened. The experiencing of an emotional overload can contribute to the manifestation of loneliness.
BEAT YOUR LONELY FEELING WITH THESE COPING STRATEGIES:
Be good to yourself: Practising self-care is a very essential coping mechanism to overcome holiday loneliness. While it may not totally erase feelings of loneliness, taking special care of yourself can enable you to feel better and enjoy your solitude more. Whether you spend time in nature, take a relaxing bath, indulge in a new hobby, or perform physical activity, doing something for yourself is a form of self-care that is particularly vital to wade off stress during challenging times.
Practice gratitude: Practice daily gratitude by being focused on what you feel thankful for, and appreciate the moments you can savour. Embracing all that we have and inviting new things into our lives, irrespective of what that may be will help us feel emotionally lighter. Writing down your thoughts in a journal will help you to only focus on the things you value in your life, thus lifting up your spirits.
Alleviate the possible effects of touch deprivation: Touch, due to its physical and biochemical effects, is a vital element in exacerbating the feeling of loneliness. These effects comprise reduced heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol, and improved oxytocin levels in the body. In an absence of touch, like the hugs or handshakes that are given out around the holidays, individuals could become stressed. You can ease touch deprivation by giving yourself a soothing massage or reflexology that could help keep off the negative effects associated with being alone.
Plan something to look forward to: Although we have been compelled to delay family get-togethers this year, that doesn’t imply that we have lost our chance to spend time with our loved ones. You can consider some innovative ways to spend your holidays, even while you are confined at home. For instance, planning a virtual family gathering, virtual movie night, an online scavenger hunt game with loved ones, or a group experience like a getaway after the pandemic ends.
If you feel loaded by the lonely feeling and find it hard to deal with it, these effective ways will aid in beating the seasonal loneliness by making your holidays feel more inclusive.
(This story is written by Kanchan Rai, mental and emotional well-being coach. For more health-related stories, visit HealthShots.com)