Being alone for the holidays can be a mixed bag. Find ideas, and experiment to find the strategies that make you feel better.
You might be grieving the loss of your family, or your family’s repellent toxicity. You might be optimistic about time to yourself, but also regretful of your situation and full of FOMO.
Some experience guilt for asserting their boundaries. And some just wish they could feel connected without the holiday drama.
Whatever you’re feeling about being alone for the holidays, you have to do something about it. So below are five strategies to try. See what works for you.
1. Decide What You Want From This Time
Do you want to just do nothing and zone out? Do you want to decompress and recharge? Or do you want to try new activities and find excitement?
Approach your alone time with intention, so you don’t look back and regret puttering around aimlessly.
If you can’t figure out what you want from your alone time, consider using your freedom to tackle longstanding to-do’s off your list. That way, you can go into the New Year fresh and with a blank slate.
2. Make Plans
Get excited about how you’ll spend your holidays, even though you’re not with family.
Take yourself on a day trip to a fun place, or plan a potluck with other friends who won’t be seeing family. Commit to doing one nice or fun thing for yourself each day you’re alone during the holidays.
You’re saving on the stress of family drama by spending the holidays with yourself. Pick your activities, allocate funds, and line everything up in advance for even less stress during this time.
3. Ignore Toxicity
You’ve determined that you’re spending the holidays alone. But your relatives keep pressuring you to attend their dinners and outings.
You have permission from a psychological professional not to feel guilty!
Firmly state that you won’t be there, won’t change your mind. And silence notifications from family members who might continue to harass you, so they can’t disrupt your happy holiday alone.
4. Avoid Social Media
This is a must, whether you opted not to attend toxic family gatherings, or you don’t have family to keep tabs on. Checking social media while alone for the holidays can be a mind-fuck, for lack of a better word.
Regardless if you’re alone for the holidays by choice or circumstances, checking social media may introduce conflicting feelings of FOMO, regret, anger, or even jealousy.
It sounds generic, but volunteering when you’re alone for the holidays serves a number of purposes: occupies your time in a meaningful way, makes you feel less lonely, and gives you something to talk about, to connect with others.
Where can you volunteer? Here’s how to figure it out:
Decide what cause is close to your heart. If you’ve gone hungry before, volunteer at a food bank. If you were cold over the winters, set up a coat drive. Can’t get off all the Facebook cat groups? Try asking what you can do for a local animal shelter.
Use a tool to search for volunteer opportunities.
Can’t find the right volunteer organization? Just offer to help people you know. If you’re alone for the holidays, ask friends if they need help picking up holiday groceries, wrapping presents, etc. Or spend some time with others who are alone – maybe the elderly couple down the block!
What If I’m Still Just Really Lonely?
Sometimes loneliness becomes paralyzing, and all these strategies just feel out of reach. It’s 9 pm on Christmas Eve, and you can’t pull yourself out of this dark place.