JOYLESS IN THE WORLD - HOLIDAY LONELINESS
I'll have a Blue Christmas without you
All by myself
Don’t want to be
All by myself
A lot of people in this world are alone during the holiday season. Being alone may or may not be a choice, but it is an experience. The other day I went to my local grocery store and noticed that even though it’s only mid-October, all the holiday decorations are out. This time of year, I believe, is when we think about our aloneness more than we do any other time of the year.
Retail stores and markets all decorate early and begin to blast almost 24 hours a day sounds of the holidays. The streaming music sings about romance while the internet and television show us movies about happiness, couples, and families. If you’re lonely, how do you handle the feelings of loneliness and isolation?
Like many of us I have had difficult holidays alone since my parents’ passing. It is very hard for me to be alone during the holidays and keep up my spirits. I find that listening to all that happy music and seeing happy scenes on television makes me sad. Maybe it’s just my response, but I turn off holiday related music and television so as not to remind me of the couples, family scenes, and holiday joy I’m missing. It’s like the old doctor joke, doctor when I do this it hurts. The doctor replies, then don’t do it. If songs make you cry, don’t listen to them. If the Hallmark channel makes you cry, don’t wallow in it, turn it off.
Having been alone on holidays, I believe certain simple basics are important. Even if you feel depressed, get out of bed at your normal time. It is a special day. Get dressed. There’s no need to cook a fancy meal for one unless you want to, but at minimum, plan a meal, set the table, and eat acknowledging it is a holiday. Don’t drink too much alcohol because it will only make you more depressed.
Here are four possible suggestions of things you might do to make the holiday better instead of just sitting in the house waiting for the day to be over. They are:
Be good to yourself. There is some indication that drinking a warm glass of tea or taking a warm bath physically brings good feelings. Do that or do those things such as a spa treatment, journaling, reading a good book, taking a walk outside, playing with your cat or dog, or some other activity that lifts your spirits.
Reach out to others. Call and text those friends to wish them a happy holiday. Take the time to talk with others you know.
Volunteer your time. You can volunteer to a public, private or a religious organization. All are providing help to others at this time of year. It’s rewarding.
Visit a place of worship. Whether you’re a member or a believer, there are some beautiful ceremonies available to the public. You might go observe the ceremony.
Go on a solo date. Eat at a restaurant serving on the holiday and enjoy being among the people. Talk to people and tell them hello.
Travel to another location. Take a day trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. If you prefer to get away, find a place to go stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast to share their traditions.
When everyone else is celebrating family, might I suggest you celebrate you. Celebrate yourself for making it through the holidays and keeping a smile on your face. Make a list that you put on your mirror or refrigerator that applauds all the positive things you’ve done not to feel depressed, isolated, or lonely. Take a moment before the New Year to reward yourself perhaps by taking advantage of the after-holiday specials.
Let’s talk about the moments when none of these ideas work, and all we do is feel depressed, lonely, and isolated. We have a choice. The choice is we can be alone, but we don’t have to feel so lonely. Lonely is sad over what we know or what we perceive we are missing. Are we really missing something? Or, is the truth that every feeling, every possible thought, every thing we need lives inside us. We are complete. We are whole. We are perfect. Celebrate your perfection.
If things get very rough, many countries have a suicide hotline. If you have any feelings of suicide during the holidays, call the hotline. Their personnel are well trained and can help you make it through the holiday. Remember, a holiday is just another day. It too shall pass as will your feelings of aloneness.
For those singles, widows, and those simply choosing to be alone, know that you are not really alone. There are hundreds of thousands of us out here in the world spending holidays alone. The responsibility to find happiness is on us. I will be thinking of all my kindred souls as the holidays are upon us. Be safe. Take care, and remember, you are loved.