Tackling Loneliness at Christmas
Christmas, although an exciting and sociable time of year for some, can often be the worst possible time of year for others, especially if you live on your own or do not have any family or many friends nearby.
Being lonely at Christmas can have a severe impact on mental health so it is really important if you are spending the festive season alone, to occupy yourself in other ways and know where to reach out for support should you need it.
It may seem obvious but keeping busy is a really good way to help with feelings of loneliness, especially if you plan ahead. Think about what you enjoy doing, things you may not usually have time for, or something you would only do on a special occasion. Whether it is watching a full box set or a television series, doing a jigsaw or reading a favourite book – these will occupy your time, focus your mind and lift your mood.
It is Christmas after all! Treating yourself can be something as simple as a long soak in the bath, spending a bit of time preparing your favourite meal or even indulging in a sweet treat! Just looking after yourself can make such a difference to how you feel.
Get Out and About
If you can, consider taking yourself outside. Not only will being in the fresh air help lift your mood, you may also come in to contact with neighbours or other people who are in similar circumstances. Even just a short chat or a friendly wave can help boost your mood and make you feel better.
If you are familiar with and know how to use social media, there are many groups and activities online that can help support you around Christmas. Whether it be a support group with people in the same position as yourself, or a hobby and interest group, there is sure to be something to help occupy your mind and your time.
You Are Not Alone
There are often local initiatives where people who would ordinarily be spending Christmas alone, can get together and celebrate the day together. Try contacting your local community centre or church to see if there is an initiative near to where you live. These are usually run by local charities and the cost of the meal is often subsidised too if money is a worry.
There are a number of organisations out there that will be able to help and give you support over the festive period, if you are feeling low or just need to talk to someone.
The Silver Line – Helpline for older people and is available 24 hours a day every day of the year – 0800 470 80 90
The Samaritans – If you need someone to talk to at anytime day or night including Christmas Day – 116 123
Mind – A mental health charity offering information and support. They can be contacted up until 6pm on 24th December – 0300 123 3393
If you are lucky enough to be spending the festive season with family, friends and loved ones, please don’t forget that not everyone is as lucky, unfortunately. Consider checking in on any elderly neighbours or people who you know will be alone. Calling round with a mince pie or even just for a chat could have such a huge impact on someone’s day.