First Aid for Christmas Loneliness

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

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 isolating.

If you’re facing Christmas with a sense of loneliness or dread, there are steps you can take to help alleviate those feelings.


Plan ahead

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.

Give back

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 service.

Get support

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.