How to Deal With Loneliness During This Holiday Season

Edward Bevan

We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving and further celebrations in the holiday season are right around the corner. For many, the holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year, are a time of excitement and joy, being able to see family and old friends. However, for lots of people, this time of year can lead to feelings of loneliness which can be difficult—but there are things we can do to learn how to deal with loneliness and alleviate negative feelings.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what causes increased feelings of loneliness during the holidays and 6 tools for combating loneliness when it can feel overwhelming.

What is loneliness?

In order to think about ways to combat loneliness, we first have to define what loneliness is. It’s important to note that being alone and being lonely are two different things. Many find joy in being alone—particularly if times of solitude are hard to come by—and whether it’s watching movies, going for a walk, having a long soak in a warm bath, or simply being alone with one’s thoughts, being alone can be very enjoyable.

Loneliness, on the other hand, describes a form of sadness caused by solitude. People can feel lonely for different reasons: not being in a romantic relationship, having few or no friends, losing loved ones, and moving away from home are some common examples. Feelings of loneliness ebb and flow through our lives, coming and going with the seasons, appearing one day and disappearing the next. For many of us, it’s a part of everyday life, and knowing how to deal with it effectively can help us lead joyful and enriching lives.

Why is loneliness exacerbated during the holiday season?

Loneliness seems to rear its head for many during the holiday season, but why is this? It seems that a period celebrating togetherness can highlight the lack of togetherness in our lives and create a sense of isolation. Take Christmas, for example. So many of the films, and so much of the advertising, centers around family, friends and togetherness. It can be quite overwhelming to compare our own lives to the supposed “standard” set by Hollywood, advertisers, society and tradition. 

Let’s talk about how to deal with loneliness during a time when we’re bombarded with images of perpetual cheer and happy family gatherings. It’s important to remember that for the vast majority of people, this standard is not the reality. What we’re regularly presented with during the holiday season is often derived from a writer’s imagination. Though designed to create happy audiences with heartwarming scenes or feelings of nostalgia to drive sales, these classic Christmas motifs can lead us to compare our lives to the on-screen lives being played out for us. This comparison often leads to a sense of inadequacy with our lives.

How to Combat Loneliness

So, we know what loneliness is, and we know why it’s so prevalent for so many during the holidays. The question is: how do we deal with it? As previously mentioned, feelings of loneliness can come and go throughout our lives; it’s a normal human feeling, but knowing how to deal with it when it appears can alleviate the pain it can bring, helping us to feel liberated. Here are five tools to help us navigate seasonal holiday loneliness:

  • Gratitude
    The first tool we can use is gratitude. After recently celebrating Thanksgiving, we should be able to identify the things we’re grateful for with relative ease and speed. Loneliness can be exacerbated by lots of self-reflection, causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture. Recalling the things we do have, the people we do have in our lives, the opportunities we’ve been granted, or the things we’ve achieved can shine a light on the things we’re thankful for. This big-picture thinking can ground and center us, replacing the feelings of loneliness with those of gratitude.
  • The gift of giving
    As they say, Christmas is a time for giving, and generosity can help alleviate loneliness. Firstly, thinking about what to give someone can be a great distraction from thoughts of loneliness. Secondly, if we choose to go out and buy someone a gift, that process can incorporate social situations on public transport or in the store which can help us feel connected with others. Finally, giving someone a gift is a meaningful connection, seeing their joy can bring us great joy too, and this connection reduces loneliness.
  • Volunteering
    Physical gifts aren’t the only things we can give, however. Giving our time can be incredibly rewarding and can help us form new connections with people, directly reducing loneliness. Volunteering our time to help those less fortunate during the holidays is an excellent way to bring joy to others while enriching ourselves and our communities.
  • Community giving back
    Seeking community in new places is a powerful anti-loneliness treatment. Thinking about our interests and hobbies and how these could be a door to new and meaningful connections is a great start. We should try to be active, rather than passive. We should seek out community—more likely than not, we’re not alone in our loneliness. Many people bond over shared interests and form long-lasting relationships that can overcome the feeling of being lonely. Starting a new hobby can also fill any empty time in our schedules, limiting the amount of “thinking” time we do—too much of which can exacerbate feelings of loneliness.
  • Season’s greetings
    This final tool may seem small, but it’s very powerful. We should say “Hello” to the people around us. Our neighbor, our delivery driver, our barista, the old lady walking down the street. A simple “Hi” doesn’t seem like much, but even a small moment of human interaction can go a long way. Remember, other people may be feeling lonely too. This small interaction could be the only one they’ve had today, and it could be a huge boost for them. It does good all round, both for us and for them. After all, connection is the antidote to loneliness.
  • Stay off social media
    Staying off social media during the holiday season can be a positive and healthy step towards combating loneliness. While social media platforms continue to isolate individuals by creating a sense of comparison and anxiety, taking a break can help free your mind from the constant stream of perfectly curated content. Instead of spending hours online, seek support and contact with real people in the physical world. By volunteering, joining social groups, or attending in-person events, you can meet and connect with others who are also dealing with loneliness around holidays

Key takeaways

In summary, it’s important to remember that feelings of loneliness are normal and the majority of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. The holidays can exacerbate these feelings with the theme of togetherness being a key part of the celebrations. Thankfully, there are tools to help us combat loneliness that can help us learn how to fight loneliness, whether it’s being mindful about gratitude, giving gifts, volunteering our time, engaging in a hobby, or simply saying “Hello”.

Find a Therapist with Citron Hennessey Therapy

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by loneliness, it helps to talk to someone. The therapists at Citron Hennessy have decades of experience assisting people to overcome loneliness and other mental health challenges.

We can help you find a path to overcome these issues and learn how to combat feelings of loneliness and depression. Call our team today at (917) 997-4849 to connect with the best therapists for loneliness and start laying a foundation for a stronger and healthier life.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • More Networks
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap