It’s not unusual to feel lonely, and there’s no time like
the holiday festive season to highlight these feelings. But if you’re dreading
Christmas, there are steps you can take to ease your loneliness.
There have been a number of studies across the world about
loneliness. According to many of these studies, in countries and areas like the
US, Japan, the EU and Australia, the number of those feeling lonely and
isolated ranges from 22 per cent to 54 per cent. And the loss of social
connection during this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has been reported as the most
common personal stressor in a recent survey. But loneliness doesn’t strike us
equally. You’re more likely to feel lonely if you’re in your early 20s, over
65, a single parent, or unemployed.
How lonely you feel may also depend on how you feel your
social life should look. “In a lot of younger university age groups, loneliness
is very socially constructed, and people feel lonelier on Saturday nights than
on other nights of the week,” Elisabeth Shaw, CEO of Relationships Australia
NSW, told abc.net.au.
Then there’s Christmas. If anything is going to trigger
feelings of loneliness, it’s the season that comes with expectations of happy
families enjoying gifts and celebrations. Maybe you don’t want to spend time
with your family, for a whole range of reasons. Or perhaps your family live far
away, you’ve had a recent relationship break-up, lost a loved one, or you’re
experiencing a mental illness that makes the holiday season particularly
If you’re facing Christmas with a sense of loneliness or
dread, there are steps you can take to help alleviate those feelings.
If you’re going to spend Christmas alone, allow plenty of
time for the things you enjoy. When you’re taking good care of yourself, you’re
more likely to be positive and those feelings of loneliness may have less power
to get you down. What makes you feel good? It could be
spending time in nature, cooking something special or pampering yourself.
Volunteering is a great way to support people who are going
through a difficult time. It can also be a good thing to
do if you don’t want to be on your own. Despite restrictions on gatherings due
to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may still be opportunities to serve a meal at a
community centre, take gifts to a children’s hospital, or attend a religious
If you’re feeling alone or lonely, reach out and talk to
someone. This can be as simple as sending a text, a
message on social media, inviting someone over for a drink or cuppa, or making
a phone call. You can also go online and connect with an online community for
support. Depending on
where you are, a quick Google search on “support for loneliness” may bring up
some more locally relevant results.