The holiday season is supposed to be a bright spot at the end of the year, but for many people, the holidays bring unwelcome negativity like feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness. In one recent study, nearly 40% of adults said they had no plans to travel for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa in 2021, opting to stay close to home instead of visiting with far-flung friends and family. However, even if you intend to celebrate the season in a house full of people, struggles with your mental well-being might still make you feel alone.
Why Do You Feel Alone During the Holidays?
Culturally, we tend to place an outsized emphasis on the importance of the holidays, driven by sentimental movies and commercials depicting unrealistic ideals of perfection. If you do not have a romantic partner or many close friends and family members, it may magnify your loneliness during a time when all the cues around you are pushing you to maintain a jolly holiday spirit.
Issues like seasonal affective disorder also tend to reach their peak during the fall and winter holidays, brought on by shorter days, less sunlight and gloomy weather. In many cases, SAD symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with your daily life.
Additionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic nears its two-year anniversary, the long-term stress of living amid a global health crisis has taken a toll on many people’s mental health. Experts have cautioned that the pandemic’s long-term effects may worsen issues like social anxiety and agoraphobia, particularly among people who were already prone to these problems before the pandemic hit.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Loneliness
If you’ve been feeling down lately, consider these three all-natural ways to improve your well-being this holiday season.
1. Shift Your Expectations
When you feel alone during the holidays, one way to deal with it is to be more realistic. Few people’s lifestyles measure up to the scripted perfection of a Hallmark holiday movie, or even family photos posted to platforms like Instagram. Instead of comparing yourself to others and listing all the areas where you believe you have fallen short, be realistic. When you take time to count your blessings, you’ll realize you have so much to be thankful for.
2. Make Time for Self-Care
Whether you are spending this holiday season alone by choice or because various circumstances are keeping you apart from family and friends, taking good care of yourself can help you embrace the solitude. Indulge in rewarding solo activities like getting a massage, reading a book or going for a hike. Take the opportunity to learn something new through an online class, or expand your horizons with a museum tour. With the appropriate mindset, it’s possible to be alone without feeling lonely.
3. Give Back to Your Community
Volunteering is an excellent way to connect to others and help you feel less alone this holiday season and beyond. If you feel passionate about a specific cause, giving the gift of your time will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and a mental health boost known as the “helper’s high.”
A Full Continuum of Care for Your Mental Health
If you feel alone this holiday season and are worried about making unhealthy choices to cope with your isolation, reach out to us at Vista Taos for more information about our comprehensive, holistic addiction treatment services. We offer medically supervised detox, primary treatment and extended care, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Taos, New Mexico.