There are many reasons for spending the Christmas period alone, whether that is a relationship breakdown, work issues or social isolation. So, what do you do if you find yourself lonely at this time of year? However, Christmas alone doesn’t need to be as negative as you may think. You can turn the experience into something positive.
Lonely Christmas at the Homeless Community
Did you know that the Royal Voluntary Service estimates that around one-million elderly people spend Christmas alone? That’s a lot of people that would enjoy a visit and kind word to make them feel better.
I spoke to Chris* who spent Christmas on his own last year, after breaking up with this girlfriend.
“The reality that I was going to be alone for Christmas was quite intimidating to me. I’d spent the previous two years with my ex-girlfriend, as my parents are older and go abroad to spend the festive season in the sun. By the time my girlfriend and I split up, it was too late and expensive to go with my parents. I was initially so worried about being alone, picturing myself eating a pitiful dinner-for-one, and having no one to pull crackers with. I was getting myself into a bit of a depressive funk about it, until someone mentioned volunteering to me.
“It made me realise that I have a lot to be grateful for, and being helpful and compassionate for other people on such an important day way better than any Christmas TV rerun.”
“I searched the local area for something to do, and ended up spending the day serving Christmas dinner to the homeless community. It was a fantastic experience – I never thought I’d do something like that and have so much fun. It made me realise that I have a lot to be grateful for, and being helpful and compassionate for other people on such an important day way better than any Christmas TV rerun.”
Here are some ideas to level up your mindset to survive a sad, single Christmas:-
1. Be grateful
Christmas is the perfect day to take the time to appreciate what you have in life, whether that is your health, a roof over your head, or food on the table. Having active gratitude will also help you to move past anxiety, as you learn to live in the moment and be mindful of your surroundings. Why not write down a list of the things you are grateful for?
2. Be productive
Actually going out of the house to do something is a great way to cope with being alone on Christmas. Imagine how great you’ll feel after a 5K run in the crisp weather, when others are reaching for the chocolate box again. If not exercise, find something that you can do that fits with your mindset and mental state for the day.
3. Be indulged
A day alone? Great! Treat yo’ self. Cook your favourite foods, watch a marathon of movies, sing at the top of your voice and whack a facemask. A full day of doing what makes you happy.
What to do if you can’t cope
Sometimes, it’s not possible to change your negative mindset with ideas like the above. If you’re struggling and need extra support, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind Charity on 0300 123 3393, which are both available throughout the festive period 24/7.
*Name has been changed
Ella in the Big City – She can be found with her head in a book or attempting to learn a new skill (some with more success than others!). Travelling is her second passion and she is constantly dreaming about her next far-flung destination.