The holidays are a time for family, friends, and loved ones. But for many people, the holidays can be a trigger for depression and loneliness. If you’re struggling with depression or loneliness this holiday season, here are some tips to help you get through it.
- Acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay to feel lonely or sad during the holidays. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend everything is okay when it’s not. Instead, allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling and process those emotions in a healthy way. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to vent to a friend, do it. Acknowledging your feelings is an important first step in dealing with them. Remember that it’s okay to feel lonely.
- Reach out to someone. Just because you’re feeling lonely doesn’t mean you have to be alone. There are lots of people out there who understand what you’re going through and would be more than happy to lend a sympathetic ear or spend some time with you. Whether it’s a close friend, a family member, or even a stranger, reach out and let someone know you need some company.
- Know that you’re not alone. Sometimes, we wish we could be with our families or friends, but for whatever reason, it’s just not possible. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying the holidays. Instead, reach out to friends and acquaintances in your area or online. You can even join a social group or club related to one of your hobbies. You’ll be surprised at how many people share similar experiences and can relate on a personal level with you during this time.
- Do something for someone else. One of the best ways to combat loneliness is to focus on someone other than yourself. Doing something nice for another person—whether it’s cooking them dinner, buying them a gift, or simply giving them a compliment—can help take the focus off of your own problems and make you feel good in the process. Not to mention, it’ll probably make the other person feel pretty good too!
- Make plans ahead of time. The holiday season can be stressful, so try to avoid last-minute plans if possible. If you know there’s an event you really want to go to (or even one you’re dreading), put it on your calendar well in advance and make sure you have transportation lined up so you don’t have any excuses not to go. Having something to look forward to can make the holiday season much more bearable—and maybe even enjoyable!
- Manage your expectations. The holidays are often portrayed as a time of joy and family gatherings, so it can be easy to feel let down if things don’t go according to plan.
But remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect holiday and that it’s perfectly normal for things to not go the way we expect them to. Ignore the TV commercials, tune out the bragging social media posts, skip the Hollywood films that portray unrealistic holiday scenes, and focus on what really matters: You.
Acknowledge your expectations but try not to let them overwhelm you.
The holidays can be tough for anyone struggling with depression or loneliness. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling—lots of people understand what you’re going through and are more than willing to help however they can.
The holidays can be a difficult time, but they don’t have to be. With some self-care, you can help make the holiday season a little brighter for yourself—and maybe even enjoy it a bit too!