How to cope with feeling isolated this Christmas.

Loneliness can affect anyone during the holidays, not just the elderly or vulnerable. Here are some ways you can look after yourself & reach out to others.

“While many may be feeling isolated throughout the year, there’s something about Christmas that can worsen those wounds.”

The holidays are meant to be the most wonderful time of the year. But what if it’s not? This time of the year we hold onto high expectations. We want everything to go well, we want to be happy and enjoy ourselves, but when that doesn’t happen we can be left feeling disheartened, and isolated There is a very prevalent expectation to be happy and joyful, even when we really don’t feel like it.

For many, the holidays can be filled with loneliness, discomfort, and grief. Some may be experiencing Christmas without a loved one for the first time, family dysfunction, health concerns or maybe it’s their first year abroad, away from the comforts of home.

Who might be feeling isolated?

  • The elderly.
  • Bereaved families.
  • Single households (due to COVID-19).
  • Those who have immigrated away from family and friends.
  • Those with mental or chronic illness as they might not be able to take part in the festivities.

Anyone. That’s right, anyone can be left feeling isolated. And with the pandemic in 2020, this fact has become even clearer!

2020 was a very different time for many of us in regard to the holidays. But even now, as we navigate a ‘post-pandemic world, it’s important that we exercise caution. Specifically around those most vulnerable.

Check out this post to learn more about how to make the most of the holiday season.

How to cope if you're feeling isolated.
Image from cottonbro studio.

How to cope if you’re feeling isolated.

Spend time with people you love.

Loneliness doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no one in your life. For some, it can mean feeling isolated from those who are immediately around us. You can feel alone in a crowded room, in a room full of family or even among friends.

I’ve felt like this at times and it can be so hard. Our usual support group can be busy, especially on Christmas day. But you can always agree with them ahead of time that you’ll text each other, or even spare an hour for a phone call during those special days.

I’m also going to encourage you to spend time with any support animals you might have. Even if they don’t actually support animals, the family dog or cat can really help with those feelings. Just having my cat around the house while my partner is working can really help alleviate those feelings of isolation.

Open the curtains.

I’ve talked about the importance of natural sunlight in making us feel better emotionally. In the winter it’s especially important to make sure we get as much sunlight as we can.

Open the curtains first thing in the morning, or even go outside for a quick walk (if able, of course). Failing that, you can invest in a therapy lamp that simulates natural lighting.

Of course, this won’t fix loneliness, but it will help improve our overall mood which can reduce the symptoms.

Image from David Bartus.

Get some exercise.

It can be difficult to encourage ourselves to exercise, but if you’re fit and able, it can help not only your mood but to kill time. Bundle up warm, put the dog on the lead and stretch your legs, even just for thirty minutes. It’ll also contribute to your daily sunlight quota! Two birds, one stone and all that jazz.

Why not get up a good playlist on Spotify and dance around the living room? Or even do some light yoga.

Spend time practising self-care.

Read a book, watch a TV show you’d forgotten on your Netflix list, or play your favourite video game. Spending time with ourselves, for ourselves, is so important, and yet often overlooked.

Need some self-care inspiration? Check out this post.

Talk about your feelings.

If you’re feeling lonely, talk about it. Tweet it if you use Twitter. If you happen to be with people you trust, tell them how you’re feeling and what you need to help reduce the feelings of loneliness.

I’m lucky I’m able to spend a portion of my day with my husband, but this wasn’t always the case. There were many years that even though I was surrounded by family, I felt more isolated than ever! I often had to reach out to him from afar for help. That’s okay though. That’s why those people are there. So, take advantage and talk it out.

Volunteer with other people who might be feeling the same.

If you’re up for it and well enough why not volunteer at an animal shelter or care home? We can become so consumed by our own feelings of loneliness, that it’s easy to forget that others might be feeling the same way.

Elderly people are among the highest group that experience loneliness during the holidays for a variety of reasons. They would love nothing more than for someone to come in to see them during the holiday season.

You might be wondering how this helps you feel better. It’s the rules of kindness. What you give out comes back to you in ways you might not even think. Being kind to others is proven to make us feel better about ourselves.

*Please keep in mind that volunteering may be difficult due to COVID. Be aware of the restrictions in your area.

Check out this post for more information on kindness and how you can be kind to others this holiday season.


How you can help others feeling isolated?

It’s not always easy, but there are things you can do to help those in your life that might be lonely.

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Call, text or even pop in for a chat (Covid permitting).

Stop in to chat with a friend or family member, especially the elderly and those suffering from illness or bereavement. Take the time to pop in for a cup of tea or even go out for a coffee if possible! Just a simple ‘hello, how are you?’ can really make all the difference to someone.

Spare a chair at the table.

Do you have a seat to spare at your table this Christmas? Why not ask a friend or neighbour to join you if they can? Maybe you’re living abroad, and your recently immigrated friend can’t make it home for Christmas. Dust off the spare chairs and enjoy the holidays together!

Volunteer.

Coming up to the holidays, and even on Christmas Day, there are always programs running to help those less fortunate. You could spend time with the elderly in a nursing home or provide meals for the homeless.

As mentioned, it can help combat your own feelings of loneliness too!


How else do you cope with feeling isolated?

Can you think of anything else you can do to combat the loneliness in yourself and others? Have you ever experienced this before, and if so, what have you done to help? Or what support would you like to see in your life?

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115 comments

  1. These are all such great tips for coping with the feeling of isolation this Christmas. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. This is so important. So many more people can feel isolated than we even realise. I think sometimes people forget that the holidays doesn’t automatically mean “joy” for everyone and sometimes people that extra support or need that extra effort made for them.

  3. It’s lovely to read a post like this. It is sad that this gets overseen somehow, we have elderly neighbours and we will be going round to see them like we do every year ❤️🎄

  4. Holidays can be tough time for people who stay alone. I am usually with my family and always busy with chores so feeling lonely or bored for me out of questions.

  5. The holidays can be such a lonely time, and definitely a struggle for many. It is good to have some tips to help power through it.

  6. The holiday period can be hard for many. Loneliness can be just one of the issues that causes problems during these times. Opening curtains to get natural light in is very important as many suffer from SAD over the winter period which can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Getting daylight in can help.

  7. I think it’s such a good idea to ask a friend or neighbor. It’s lonely on the holidays if you don’t have somehwere to go or someone coming to you.

  8. For the first time in many years, I’m unable to go home for the holidays this year. This is very timely for me and I’ll put some of these ideas into practice.

  9. This is such a very timely post, it’s very informative and detailed! As many of us suffer from this condition! This is definitely a great help to cope with the loneliness for this coming Holiday season!

  10. Thank you for sharing this powerful and inspiring article with us. Christmas is a very emotional time for everyone. I believe that no matter your current circumstances, Christmas must be celebrated. Even if it’s treating yourself to something so small.

  11. These are all great coping mechanisms. We can get lonely in these festive times and I think important to spend our precious time with our loved ones. I always try to go back to my home country at Christmas.

  12. The holidays can definitely be hard when you can’t be with family. I’ve felt this a bit before on the years we aren’t with my parents and sister for Christmas. This year, though, there will be 3 families all under one roof due to the hurricane making my sister’s home unlivable in SW Florida meaning we will all 10 be at my parent’s house since theirs was just finished being repaired! It’ll be a lot of people, but even then, as you mentioned, can sometimes not feel quite right, too.

  13. It is so easy for the “winter blues” to set in, all of these tips are great for helping combat that.

  14. These are such good tips. And I love the one about just opening your blinds! Natural sunlight really does help with feeling down or lonely, especially in the winter.

  15. This is going to help so many people. For many of us Christmas is such a joyous time, but there is a huge segment of the population out there that feels totally shut down during the holidays.

  16. I think the most important tip here is to talk about your feelings. So many people suffer alone, which makes the isolation even worse.

  17. I love opening the curtains as soon as I get up! I do the same thing to my little studio area as well. The holidays can be a hard time; my father sadly passed away 2 years ago and we live very far away from family, but we make it work

  18. Thank you for commenting! I’m so sorry to hear you struggling with OCD. Keep fighting against it and looking after yourself and your own wellbeing.
    I hope you’re able to find some comfort and downtime in the festive season. Sending you lots of love. x

  19. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog. I’m so pleased to hear you’re no longer in this position. Nor am I, but I know all too well how triggering the season can still be.
    Sending you well wishes. x

  20. I have cross contamination OCD, and since I was diagnosed it feels like the holidays are only a thing of stress and discomfort. I think I’m handling it better now then I have in the past, however these are still really good advise to practice to help manage the symptoms. Including having more natural sunlight in the house. Thank you!

  21. I loved reading this and love your recommendations. I’ve spend a few Christmases feeling lonely and isolated, thankfully I’m not in that position anymore, but it can still be a triggering time. I will take some of these tips on board x

  22. We have been counting with technology to keep us close and connected that way we do not feel as lonely

  23. I have been to self help groups, seminars, and in patient throughout the past three decades and you are on point. As I was reading I noticed my curtains were shut and I haven’t been outside in weeks. All of which I definitely know better. Thanks for the reminders and for getting this mentel health information out to the public!

  24. This is great advice. I love that you included that loneliness isn’t exclusively something that is experienced by those who don’t have someone in their lives. You can have a large family and a wide variety of friends, and still feel lonely if you feel somehow isolated from them!

  25. We can’t avoid to feel a sudden loneliness specially in this situation. There’s just so many sources of loneliness everywhere around. Atleast we get to look into the positive and better days ahead.

  26. This is such a good read. I am sure many of us are experiencing such especially this holiday season. Glad that technology exist. It makes the distance not a hindrance to catch up with loved ones.

  27. Feeling lonely on Christmas is the last thing I want to experience. Thank you so much for sharing these tips on how to cope up with it. I will share this with my friends.

  28. I think this Christmas, more so than ever, it’s really important to remember people who are living on their own through no choice of their own. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely but due to COVID, lots more of us are either isolating, or not part of a bubble, or who’ve experience the death of a partner. Really good post, thank you for the timely reminder.

  29. The holidays can be tough on some. Loneliness is something I wish nobody had to experience. I always try to check up on everyone during the holidays.

  30. These are some wonderful tips on dealing with loneliness! I like walking and talking to family on the phone.

  31. It is hard not to feel lonely during this time and the circumstances. One thing that has helped me has been starting a blog and connecting with others .

  32. I always hate thinking about all the lonely people there are out there. It makes me feel even more blessed to have family and friends and wish I could do more to help all the people who are lonely.

  33. Although I have family with me, I have several friends who are saddened to be alone and miss spending time with their families this Christmas. It’s hard.

  34. This is such an important topic to talk about, loneliness at this time of year is an issue for so many people, especially with Covid. It’s important to take a part of your day and check in on those who need a voice to hear or even just a text to that someone! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  35. I experience some loneliness at this time of year because even though I’m with my husband (which is amazing) I still miss my family back home in the UK. I get to FaceTime with them but it isn’t quite the same. I’ve not seen my Mum face-to-face for 4 years and my sister for 7 so I get a bit homesick. This post is really helpful — thanks for sharing!

  36. This is such an important post. Loneliness is awful and it breaks my heart to think of elderly people alone and lonely at Christmas (well any time of year really but especially Christmas). Particularly this year. Although it’s so important to remember that loneliness can affect anyone and younger people are suffering more with loneliness than ever and it’s awful. These are great tips. I’ve luckily never felt this to a massive degree and I hope I never will x

  37. I have been fortunate enough not to feel like this. But I know it happens and it is so horrible!! You have used your platform to create awareness which is good. Great tips too. Thank you for sharing xxx

  38. Thank you so much for reading. I’m so glad these tips were helpful, and I’m sorry to hear about your childhood. Mine was a similar experience even though I wasn’t an only child. It was still very, very lonely.

  39. I hope they helped! Although I had family around me, I still used some for myself. Even if we are among people, we can still end up feeling very alone. I hope your festive season was at the very least okay. x

  40. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading. I really appreciate it. Loneliness is such an important topic to discuss, especially during the festive season.

  41. This is such an important topic. We agree that anyone can be affected by loneliness this time of year. We love your tips – especially exercise and self care!

  42. Hey! I used some of your tips to get rid off that feeling that I’m lonely on Christmas. They also helped some people who I know. Great job! 🙂

  43. As a teen I really struggled with loneliness. The only child ,I barely had friends, they come and go. But now with my family don`t feel like that anymore. Sometimes it happens ofc , to miss a friend but then I do something to distract myself. These tips are really great , no one should be ever lonely especially on holidays.

  44. Its sad if people feel lonely during the holidays. Hopefully people can find friends and neighbors or someone nearby to hang with!

  45. This is a great post and especially relevant even beyond the holidays. Loneliness is a big issue with many people…especially adults. I especially like the tip on self care.

  46. It’s hard for people who don’t have anyone to go to, or those who perhaps have toxic families. Although my family are…alright, the idea of Christmas still sets me on edge.
    Thank you for stopping in and reading.

  47. Thanks for this post. I also feel quite lonely when Holiday is close because I’m fat away of my family. it reminds me how much I miss them

  48. That’s true that during Christmas some people may feel lonely and we even don’t realize that. I also feel lonely at times, hope your tips will help me a little bit. 🙂

  49. The Holidays are a sad period for many more people than we know… we need to show extra grace and kindness during that time!

  50. I love being alone too but much like you I would feel very uneasy and sad being alone. Especially this year as we mourn the loss of my grandfather/grandmother.

    Thank you for stopping in and reading. Much appreciated.

  51. I agree. Anyone can experience loneliness during the holidays. It’s a special season, but it also the part of the year that hits us personally if we are not emotionally stable.

    I like that you present ideas to deal with loneliness and ideas to help others. It feels great to help others.

  52. Being lonely during the holidays – I can totally believe it, especially since everyone talks about getting together with friends and family. I am the type of person who loves being alone, so I never really get lonely, but I know if I didn’t have the family I have to celebrate these festive times with, I would be sad.

  53. Loneliness can affect anyone but coping up with it is a great deal and you gave an amazing tips to get through it!Have a lovely christmas dear!

  54. These are good tips. Honestly I prefer to just have my immediate family around but I know it can be tough for some who don’t have that luxury. I will be thoughtful of this!

  55. I’m missing my grandfather and grandmother a lot this year. I think we all are. It can be especially hard when you lose someone you love and you have to go through your first Christmas (or birthday etc) without them. Sending you love over the holiday season.

  56. That’s so lovely! I’ve never known anyone to open their home like that. Of course, I’ve opened it to friends and possible family if needs be but I suppose I’ve never thought to extend the invitation. What a lovely gesture. Thank you so, so much for reading and commenting.

  57. Same. I just want to take home all the elderly in my grandfather’s home. It’s so sad.
    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading.

  58. Thank you so much for commenting. Although not overly far and able to make it home, I’m still a fair bit from my family and it can get very difficult at times.

  59. The parties in my opinion must be a moment of spontaneous sharing in which to do what you feel to live them, very often instead we let ourselves be trapped by an agitated routine that makes us lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

  60. This is such an important thing to think about. And you are right that it can affect anybody! One of the problems is we all put on a smile when we are around others so sometimes it is hard to find the people who need a little bit more love and support. Prayers that we can all be a little bit more perceptive to those who are lonely but aren’t telling anybody.

  61. Awe I love this! Such an important post for the holidays. I just want to HUG all the lonely!!!

  62. These are great tips to help keep loneliness at bay. It can be hard to deal with and serving others and putting yourself out there can really help.

  63. This would be hard. There were times when we were away from family during the holidays, so that could get lonely. I always try to focus on what I DO have, rather than what I don’t and that helps me out. I know this year we love my Nana Jo, so I am missing her a bunch. To help, my mom and I will be telling stories about her to the kids so we always keep her memory alive!

  64. Great post as always, loneliness could affect anyone at any time just because you are enjoying them know doesn’t mean that next year you still will be this is the way I think of it. Really informative post. I recently wrote a post on this too. I hope you have a lovely Christmas ????

    Charlotte ????

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