Christmas is a time of year that is often associated with social interaction. From office parties to family gatherings, it's a time when many people come together to celebrate the festive season.
Spending time with loved ones can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can be particularly prevalent during the winter months. But for some, the societal expectations of togetherness and joy can amplify feelings of loneliness, so it is important to acknowledge your own feelings during this time, as everyone’s experiences are unique.
Here are some tips that can help make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful:
- Attend events that are meaningful to you
Choose events that you are excited about attending. Don't feel like you must go to every party or gathering you are invited to and prioritise the ones that you think will be the most enjoyable or meaningful.
- Reach out to loved ones
If you can’t see your loved ones in person, try connecting with them virtually through calls or video chats. Sharing these moments can bring comfort and remind you that you are not alone.
- Join virtual events
Online communities often host virtual Christmas events and gatherings. Participating in games nights, virtual parties or other activities will help you connect with others who share similar interests.
- Explore local activities
Exploring activities in your local area, such as Christmas markets, concerts or community events where you can meet new people can help combat loneliness.
You could consider volunteering at a local event or for a charity that is special to you. Helping others can provide a sense of fulfilment and purpose and provide opportunity to meet new people.
- Embrace self-care
Focus on activities that bring you joy! Engage in hobbies, read a new book, watch movies or even try a new recipe. Taking care of yourself and spending time doing things you enjoy can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Remember, it is okay to feel lonely sometimes, but reaching out and finding ways to connect with others can make a big difference.
If you are looking for new ways to meet people virtually, these platforms may help:
Meetup is a platform where you can find various interest-based groups and communities. Christmas themed meetups are available to find in your local area which provides an opportunity to make new friends! (www.meetup.com)
- Facebook Groups
Facebook has a wide variety of groups for different interests. Search for holiday-related groups tailored to your specific interest such as cooking, crafts or book clubs. These groups often hold virtual events and provide a space for discussions and connections.
- Online forums
Online forums are a great way to connect with different people from across the world and share similar experiences. These forums can provide emotional support and are often a safe space during the holiday season. Examples: The mix (www.themix.org.uk), Reddit (www.reddit.com/r/lonliness), Elefriends (www.elefriends.org.uk).
- Virtual support groups
Look for virtual support groups which specifically address feelings of loneliness or grief and provide emotional support over the festive period.
Examples: cruse Bereavement care (www.cruse.org.uk), The Silver Line (www.thesilverline.org.uk).
If you feel like you need support at any time, you can reach out for help.
To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK
Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (6pm–3:30am every day).
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.