Loneliness Over the Holidays
By: Elizabeth Lewis
The holidays can sometimes be tough for many….. especially (but not only) singles. If divorced or widowed, it’s one less person for which to buy. One less person in the house (Thanksgiving or) Christmas morning. Less party invites from your “couple” friends. Some have to share kids on those special days and being without your precious children on a holiday, is just tough. So, for some, it’s a sad time. What to do??? Here are a few ideas of things to think about (some of which have helped me through the years).
- Acknowledge your unhappiness/ loneliness……. grieve………and we don’t all grieve the same way so don’t compare to how others grieve. Loneliness CAN be a gift (if you allow it) because it moves you closer to God (or your higher being). Embrace that. Let it grow. Reflect. Listen. Many times, Jesus went to a lonely place to be with God. In Hebrew the word for lonely can be translated as solitude or dessert. Each day try to step toward a happier place.
- Serve others – whether it be homeless, volunteering, making handmade gifts for family or friends…. Get out of your head and “poor me” or victim frame of mind.
- Organize your own friend gatherings to have something in which to look forward (go out to dinner, the movies, happy hour drinks, a party, shopping, etc).
- Read a new book- preferably one that will stretch your thinking/ understanding about yourself. One that will make you reflect. There are SO many great self-help books out there.
- Instead of judging those around you (whether it be friends you observe dating or picking apart the men you meet or go out with)…. Turn inward and find ways you can improve YOU. Look for patterns in behavior that you want to examine. Hire a life coach (to move forward), a dating consultant (if you’re ready to date) or a therapist (to work through past issues).
- Get rid of toxic friendships……Look at the friends in which you hang out. You’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. Are they making you a better person? Are you making them be a better person? Raise the bar and weed out the ones who don’t support you or bring you down………..Some friends just come for a season or a random reason. They don’t all last forever.
- Learn to be open to new ways of thinking about meeting new people. Maybe examine how you think about dating (lots of perspectives out there). Maybe try on-line dating. Take a dating class where you can find a new support group and perhaps challenge your thinking. (I support people with all of these things).
- Make GOALS for the New Year. Not resolutions, but, just a list of goals you’d like to accomplish/ tackle in the New Year. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit them all but it’s energizing to have new goals to achieve.
- Maybe start a small group at your church. A Bible study. A book talk group. A social coffee group. A prayer group? All of these are ways to reach out to others (who may be in your same place) to support and connect.
- You’ve heard this before (and it’s SO true) … live in daily gratitude. No matter how awful your circumstance, there is SO much to be thankful! Life itself, a home, clothes, living in a free country where we don’t dodge bullets daily (although I’m watching on TV about a shooting right now, so thankful NOW that I’m safe), having more than 1 pair of shoes, a full closet of clothes, heck—dry underwear. Read my blog about Gratitude to learn about gratitude rocks. (I’ll give you one, if you’d like).
- Exercise, dance, sing (even if you think you’re not good at these things). Just doing them helps release endorphins. I bet you’ll even catch yourself smiling. Maybe even laughing (even if it’s at yourself)!
- If you’re telling yourself a sad story…. “I don’t have anyone this holiday. Who will I kiss on NYE? I’m lonely. Nobody wants to have me be a 3rd I don’t get invited to all the big parties.” Change your story. You can have your story say anything you want it to say. You ARE ENOUGH and WORTHY of love. It’s just a lonely time right now and this, too, will pass. Walk through it with a positive attitude.
- Speaking of a positive attitude—every time you hear yourself complaining or being negative, recognize it and turn it into a positive statement. For example, “Look at that “in love” couple over there. Gross. Get a room.” Say, “How wonderful. I want that and love is on its way to find me.” It will make you feel better and put positivity out in the universe. Positive begets positive. Negative begets negative.
- Don’t get caught up in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Looking at Facebook and other social media, you look at everyone else’s HAPPY life and think, “Oh poor me! Look how HAPPY THEY are.” You have to know that everyone is fighting his/her own struggles but they just don’t post sad and bad on Facebook. (and if they do, you’ll end up “hiding” their posts because no one likes to read someone else’s negative comments).
- Work on your budget, clean a closet, clean up clutter…. you’ll feel like you’re taking control of your finances and surroundings.
- Forgive and pray- think of those you need to forgive. Mend broken fences. Ask God for forgiveness of your past transgressions. Of course, praying will always sooth a lonely heart because when it seems like everyone else has abandoned you, GOD will NEVER leave you. If you don’t feel Him close to you or that maybe He’s not listening, perhaps it’s YOU who has moved? The closer you get to Him, the better you can hear.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Life! Count your Blessings. We are only all here for just a FEW more minutes in the BIG picture, right? Make today (and tomorrow) a great day…. on purpose.