As we head into the festive season, there are often have moments to pause for reflection. It's time we spend time with our families, loved ones and a cause for celebration. However, it can be quite tricky for some. You may feel alone on Christmas for many reasons. Perhaps you lost someone special this year, or maybe you are far from home.
Here are some suggestions that might make being alone at Christmas a little easier:
Tips for Coping with Loneliness at Christmas
One way to cope with being alone on Christmas is to go out and do something you enjoy. Rather than spend the day at home, alone, find something that you can do that fits with your mindset and mental state for the day.
If you enjoy exercise, and the weather is decent, sign up for a 5km run. If you feel social, you might attend a church service to be in the presence of others.
Perhaps you are alone this year because you turned down invitations. Could you call those people back and say "yes”? This might be easier said than done but braving social gatherings can help alleviate that isolation and be an unexpected mood lifter.
Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to connect with others, boost your own well-being, and bring joy to people in need. Consider offering to help serve dinner at a local Vinnies, Salvos or other community organisations, bring gifts to a children's hospital, or visit lonely residents at a nursing home.
Many people report the first few times taking on such challenges difficult, but research shows that practising altruism may reduce your tendency to avoid social situations in the future.
If you enjoy your work, and you have the option to work on Christmas, spend the day being productive. This is a smart choice if your job involves interacting with co-workers or customers; being at work will help you to feel less lonely.
If you don't have the option to work on Christmas, spend the day working around your home or on a project that you've put off for too long. Hobbies that consume your hands or mind in a positive way can be a great use of time.
If being alone at Christmas is unavoidable, plan a day for yourself. Buy something online to treat yourself, cook your favourite foods, and schedule a movie marathon.
Or, do something offbeat like learning a new language or starting work on the novel that's always been in your head. Binge a podcast or TV series. Christmas can just be a day to do a little of whatever makes you happy.
What to Do If You Have Difficulty Coping
If you are feeling down about being alone on Christmas and can't lift yourself out of it, reach out for help. Call a friend, family member, or a helpline.
Even when you are physically separated from people on Christmas, you should never feel like you lack support. There are friendly people who would love to hear from you and trained volunteers waiting to talk and listen.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
The Salvation Army: 1300 363 622