For many people, particularly singles, the Christmas season (and that includes New Year’s) is anything but a time for joy. The holidays instead come with feelings of separateness, anxiety from being alone at a time that focuses on romance and family, and overall depression.
It’s quite common for those who are separated, divorced, widowed, single and between relationships, or even empty-nesters, to dread the Christmas season. Here’s some tips on how you can avoid Holiday depression and possibly build some great new relationships in the process.
If you want to really make a difference, connect, and make new friends for the holidays, volunteer at any homeless shelter or find a group that has special events for families in need. Not only will you be a part of something special for others, you’ll meet the most wonderful volunteers at these events.
- Consider opening your home for college students who are unable to make it home for their holiday. If you contact the local schools they can direct you to who lines up the holiday ‘strays’ with locals who invite them for holiday dinner.
- If you have a good profile of your ideal partner, go hang out in the kinds of places she would likely be during the holidays. Go to every party you can get invited to. There are usually singles at parties and couples usually try to invite other singles if they know some are coming. Couples love to match-make! While at the party, let the hosts know you will be alone for the holiday dinner and they’ll usually find someone who wants to “adopt” you for the holiday.
- Believe it or not, chances are someone else around you is having this same experience, and the greatest thing you can do to lift yourself from this place is to find someone else in the same state, or make yourself available to befriend another. Not only will this encourage someone else, it will also encourage and move you from an unhealthy to a healthy state. Reaching out to others and sharing yourself is the best gift to offer the world, especially during this holiday season.
- Changing your attitude and perspective on the way you look at things will change the way you feel; after all, you don’t have to be alone to be lonely. Be your own good company and share yourself with others. As simple as it sounds, I like the buddy system for singles! Pick one friend to go places with, be it your girl or guy friend. For extra insurance also be proactive and ask your party-planner friends to invite other singles they know and love – with you in mind!
- Going a step beyond typical holiday upheavals, there are those less fortunate who find it far more challenging to rejoice in the Spirit of Christmas. Think of individuals, couples and families who are experiencing their first Christmas alone, perhaps without a special loved one due to a recent loss, break-up or separation. Or those left in a nursing home, or who have recently moved away from family and friends. Instead of feeling “jovial,” they may feel sad, abandoned, isolated or heartbroken. Invite them to your home to participate in Christmas celebrations. You’ll feel better for having opened your home to someone in need of love, and having someone to share with will bring you joy.
- What about those who’ve experienced tragic moments; losing their homes or belongings to theft or natural disaster? Or those who are in the hospital with a serious injury or devastating illness? Rather than feeling joyful and excited about Christmas, these people are feeling helpless, disheartened, scared and even in great pain. Make it a point to visit them and bring them some holiday cheer. It’s hard to resist anyone who approaches you with a smile and a Merry Christmas. Believe me, you can find a lot of Christmas Spirit by serving others less fortunate than yourself.
- The most precious gift we can give anyone during these challenging times, including to ourselves, is genuine love, empathy and positive thought. Soup kitchens, food pantries, Salvation Army drives, police and firemen toy deliveries are all great projects to get involved with during the holidays. Not only will you be spreading some Christmas joy , but there will be other singles there who you can interact with and develop friendships with over service.
To help with your overall outlook during this time of year,
- Be grateful and express your appreciation towards others.
- If someone is having a difficult time coping with this holiday season, reach out to them. This will help you as much as it does them.
- Accept and acknowledge random acts of kindness shared with you by others – especially if they were not aware of it.
- Be more patient with yourself and with others.
- Focus on maintaining healthy eating habits, stay hydrated with pure water, get proper rest and plenty of exercise. Caring for yourself will help keep your spirits up and keep depression away.
- Let go of past regrets and fears of the unknown.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember to keep giving the gift of LOVE.
Here’s wishing you new memories and friendships filled with joy, hope and peace for this and many seasons to come!