That time of year is here again-and it is a busy time for most. If you are alone, many social activities around the holidays can trigger depression, anxiety and stress. This is a time where many people feel acutely aware of a void left by the loss of a loved one as well as their own personal loneliness.
What is required is a very conscious effort to manage stress in order to remain balanced during these festive times. Being alone over the holidays can actually be positive, if we look at it that way. It is very empowering to be able to celebrate the holiday in whatever way we choose.
When planning for the holidays, making sure we will actually enjoy the event is key. The way you spend your time will actually make all the difference.
Here are some options to consider when planning for the month of December:
Take a trip. Sometimes getting out of town is the best option. A new environment puts us more in the present than a familiar one. We are sometimes haunted by the ghosts of Christmases past. In a new place to explore, we are more focused on exploring and learning.
1. Focus on the positive. Take in beautiful holiday decor or a walk in nature.
2. Practice Gratitude. In 2005, the University of Pennsylvania did a study that proved one of the biggest factors to overall happiness in life is how much gratitude we show. Negativity does not exist when one is expressing gratitude.
3. Volunteer your time to those in need. Visit the elderly. read to a child, make a meal for a friend. Look outside of yourself and ask “What is needed here?” This will take the focus off of yourself. Being of value to others is a gift to them as well as yourself. Be a giver.
4. Network with others who are alone. Find a group of widows, divorcees and single friends without nearby family and get together with them. When we are alone it helps to know that others are alone and going through a similar experience. Laughter can be the best medicine.
When spending time with others, remember that spending time by yourself can be nurturing as well and just as important. Alone time is time for reflection and better understanding yourself. We become more connected to ourselves during alone time, which recharges us and makes us better friends, listeners and contributors.