Taking Charge of Your Feelings
Rather than dread the isolation and loneliness you feel during the holidays, there are things you can do to minimize those feelings and experience greater emotional balance and personal fulfillment. Anderson and Rodino offer these suggestions:
- Recognize your loneliness instead of denying it. Your feelings are real and worth exploring. If you feel you can’t share with family or friends what you’re going through, consider talking with a therapist.
- Anticipate your loneliness and plan for it. Reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch. Create your own social event and invite people to it.
- Celebrate the holidays in a different way. If being at home or attending a family event is a source of discomfort, take a trip. If giving gifts or making holiday preparations stress or depress you, pare down those tasks or share them with others.
- Take care of yourself. Do what you can to reduce your stress and connect with things and activities that you enjoy. Get plenty of rest, eat delicious and healthy foods, go to a museum or movie, get a massage, take a bubble bath—do whatever feels safe and brings you comfort.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant, and as such it can magnify your feelings of sadness.
- Reach out and help someone else. Volunteering is a powerful antidote to loneliness because it boosts one’s feelings of self-worth and usefulness. Embracing the holiday spirit by giving of your time and efforts to those less fortunate might increase your connection to others and give you greater perspective and inner peace.
As the pageantry of this festive season unfolds, no matter what you decide to do, know that you can control the script of your celebrations––and that holiday loneliness need not play a role at all.
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