Although Christmas is considered a time of joy and togetherness, for quite a few folks it also is a time of loneliness. Those without someone special in their life often find themselves full of great trepidation toward the upcoming holiday.
Also, there are many who are spending the holidays alone for the first time after a divorce or the death of someone close. The loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up can intensify the feeling of loneliness during the holiday season. Also, it is very possible to feel lonely in a crowd. We've all been there. You may be in the midst of a large crowd of people, but an intense loneliness engulfs you because of a loss or a void in your life.
Here are a few suggestions to help you make it through the holiday season.
1. Understand that it is OK to feel lonely and sad sometimes, and know that you are not alone. Not only are there many who walk in your shoes, but we also have a God who cares about you. It is no coincidence that you are reading this article. There are things we can do to alleviate the isolation and feelings of being all alone. We can even learn to appreciate our time alone and look at it as a time of reflection.
2. Go out and get yourself involved in some activity. Spend some time at the restaurants, coffee shops and stores that are open and spend time talking to people. Employees working on Christmas need encouragement, too.
3. Get in touch with friends and family, invite others to come to your house and celebrate holidays together.
4. Take a walk in the park or surround yourself in nature. Relax and leave all your worries behind.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are living alone, you may want to find out from your community agencies if they offer special services or programs for people who live alone.
6. Get a pet. Pets can provide great companionship to help beat loneliness.
7. Read some books and listen to music that will encourage you in a healthy and positive outlook.
8. If you are reading this from a nursing home or hospital, please know that you can make a difference to the staff working there and also other residents. A smile or a kind word goes a long way in alleviating someone else's loneliness or sorrow. You have purpose right where you are.
9. One of the best ways to avoid loneliness during the holidays is to surround yourself with others, who also may be lonely. Volunteer. Offer to serve the homeless their holiday meal. Hand out gifts to needy families. Sometimes the best way to make yourself feel better is to fill the needs of others.
10. Carrying on in the spirit of giving, offer to work for someone on the holiday. If you are going to be alone for Christmas, you might as well give someone else the opportunity to share that time with their family. You may even enjoy working on the holiday rather than being alone and dwelling on the fact.
11. Have a movie marathon. Go to the video store and grab as many feel good movies as you can find - even ones you have already seen that you know make you feel good. Don't forget to load up on goodies. By keeping your attention on the television, you will avoid concentrating on the idea of being alone.
12. Splurge a bit. Call someone long distance that you haven't talked to in a while. This will, hopefully, raise your spirit and that of the one you call.
13. Turn on some perky Christmas music. Do some experimental cooking.
14. Go to the movies. Many theaters offer free or discounted movies during the holidays. It will keep your mind off of being alone, and you won't actually be alone.
All of these suggestions are possible ways to avoid feeling lonely during Christmas, but as mentioned above, the best way to rid yourself of loneliness is to offer companionship to someone else who might be lonely. The Bible states that he who has friends should show himself friendly.
Nursing homes are great places to find people who are starving for some companionship. Deliver unexpected gifts to people in your community. And remember to enjoy Jesus on Christmas Day. It is his birthday and though the commercialism of Christmas tends to forget this, you do not need to. Allowing him to come into your life and shine through you no matter what your circumstances is the greatest gift you can give this Christmas. Spend time with him in his word and prayer and know that you are truly not alone.
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a wife and homeschool mom in Elkins. She also is a counselor with Cornerstone Christian Counseling and co-founder of Kristin's Hope. Contact: 304-637-1109.)