For a wide variety of reasons, many of us find ourselves alone for the holidays. With the emphasis on families and being with others, the holidays can be an especially lonely and trying time, even for those of us who are usually okay being on our own. But don’t worry, there are many things you can do to make the holidays a little less lonely when you’re alone.
- De-mythologize and adjust expectations. Elaine Rodino, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, Calif., says there are so many categories of expectations about the season being just right that it brings up all sorts of issues relating to family, stress and anxiety, eating disorders, sobriety, self-esteem, competency — the list goes on. “There’s this idea that it’s supposed to be perfect, and if it’s not, the person asks, ‘What’s wrong with me?'” She adds that statistically, the number of “traditional households” in this country is not in the majority.
- Pick up the phone. Call friends and ask to be included in whatever they’re doing. Rodino suggests offering to bring a dish or seeing how you can contribute to the gathering. She says most people love opening their homes and expanding the celebration. It works for everyone.
- Be proactive. Create an “alternative family” made up of people whose company you enjoy. Plan and prepare a potluck feast if you like. Remember that you are not alone in being alone during the holidays. Get together with others and have some fun.
- Plan an outing. Go on a hike, or go to the movies, a park or a museum. Enjoy the outing with your group or by yourself.
- Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a day of beauty at a spa, get a massage or find some other special way to luxuriate. Do whatever you enjoy doing