The holidays are full of love, laughter, cheer, gifts, gingerbread cookies and Christmas trees, or at least according to many greeting card companies and the thousands of holiday commercials that start broadcasting the day after Halloween. For many, the holidays can be a magnificent time of year, but for others the holidays can magnify feelings of loneliness and emptiness. Just because you are alone during the holiday season does not make you the Grinch or Scrooge. Being alone during the holidays can be difficult for many, especially those who are diagnosed with a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Regardless, whether you are alone or with loved ones around the holiday season, you can always find ways to appreciate the holiday cheer. Below are 7 ways to stay mentally and emotionally healthy around the holiday season.
The holiday season is a time for giving. Even if you don’t have material things to give, donating your time can be extremely valuable and appreciated around this time of year. Many volunteer opportunities present themselves around the holidays, such as volunteering at a local homeless shelter or a toy drive. Many organizations need volunteers to help wrap gifts before they send them off to people in need. Giving your time to someone around the holidays not only lends a helping hand to that individual, but it can give you a sense of appreciation. You may even make new friends.
The holiday season is about giving to others, but it is just as important to give back to yourself. Self-care should be practiced year-round including the holiday season. Treating yourself to a gift or a fun experience around the holidays is important.
3.Host a Christmas gathering with friends:
Although you might feel like it, you are not the only one spending the holidays alone. Many people will feel isolated this time of year if they are away from their family and friends. Feelings of isolation arise around the holidays due to frayed or broken relationships. We often think about that one significant other, friend or family member we don’t see any more. Reach out to other individuals who are spending the holidays alone and plan to get together for a meal, exchange gifts or decorate a Christmas tree.
Regardless of whether you have three years of sobriety, two weeks of sobriety or are still in rehab, it is important to express gratitude wherever you are in life. There will always be someone who is more fortunate than you are and someone who is less fortunate than you are, and it is important to give thanks for wherever you currently are in your life journey.
5.Enjoy the festivities:
The average American will spend approximately $800 on Christmas gifts and decorations, according to a national study. Although the Christmas music, decorations, gingerbread, Santa Clauses and Christmas lights over the three-month holiday period can be overwhelming to many people, try to appreciate the little things about the holiday spirit, such as the change in weather, fires in the fireplace, holiday art festivals and all the tasty desserts. You can do this without becoming bogged down in the consumer aspect of the holidays.
6.Keep your regular schedule:
It is easy to feel more lonely around the holidays and deviate from you schedule. You may just want to stay in bed or, on the contrary, you may try to attend as many parties as possible. Regardless of your strategy, maintain your routine and attend your scheduled meetings, counseling sessions and sobriety networking events. Eggnog and spiked apple cider are just some of the many temptations that you may encounter around the holidays. Keeping your scheduled routine will give you the proper tools to be comfortable while avoiding these triggers.
7.Remember you are not alone:
Although the holiday season can come with feelings of isolation, keep in mind that you are not the only one feeling this way. It is important to reach out to others and find company in the true belief that you are not alone. Call a friend or a loved one and be honest with you feelings. Sometimes just talking about your feelings can help the loneliness subside.