How to Handle the Holidays Alone
Most years, the holidays are a time to spend with friends and family, bonding with one another and catching up. For many of us, holidays with loved ones won’t be in the cards this year, which can leave us feeling lost and alone. While it’s certainly acceptable to mourn the celebration you’re not able to have, it’s also important to reframe the situation. Spending the holidays alone gives you the opportunity to reflect on what truly matters and practice quiet gratitude in the absence of gifts and loud gatherings. Will things be different? Absolutely. Acknowledging that and accepting it will go a long way to helping you cope.
Here are a few tips for handling the holidays alone:
Pick up the phone
You don’t have to be surrounded by friends and family to connect with loved ones — after all, they’re just a call away. An easy way to feel immediately connected is to reach for the phone and dial up someone you would be spending the holidays with if you could. Texting may be quick and convenient, but hearing the sound of your best friend or favorite cousin’s laugh is hard to top, and may give you just a bit of love you’ve been missing.
Set up a virtual holiday party
If you can have work meetings over Zoom, surely you can arrange to meet with your favorite friends and family members for a virtual holiday party! Find some festive cocktail recipes and send them to your guests so you can all “share” a drink—bonus points if you send the ingredients to each participant beforehand as a holiday gift. Sing songs if that’s your thing, play games, whatever makes you feel close and connected despite the distance.
Be smart with social media
Social media is a good way to stay connected and up to date with those around us. During the holidays, however, scrolling through countless pics of happy families eating hot meals together on Instagram can leave those of us who are alone and elbow-deep in a bag of Paleo Puffs (no judgment here) feeling a little sad. If Instagram and Facebook are surfacing feelings of loneliness consider a social media detox until the holidays are over. Fill the time you used to spend scrolling with something that leaves you feeling uplifted and allows you to relax and enjoy your holiday. (Because, remember, the holidays are still a time for you to rest and rejoice, whether you’re alone or not.)
See something new
Even if you’ve lived in the same town your entire life, chances are there’s something nearby you’ve never seen before but always wanted to. Enter: the day trip. With some time to yourself and no set agenda, the holidays can be a perfect time to explore the area and make new memories on your own. Too cash-strapped to head out for the day? Look for historic landmarks or parks nearby, or pack a lunch and head out for a hike. Seeing new places can be a great way to handle the holidays alone.
Remember that the holidays are temporary
If you’re not feeling particularly good about spending the holidays alone, that’s okay. It’s a hard time to be alone for a lot of people, but it’s important to remember that the holidays won’t last forever, and neither will your feelings of loneliness. In the meantime, do your best to give yourself what you need in the moment because honoring your needs is an act of self-care and you deserve to be cared for, alone or not.
Wherever you spend your holidays, or whomever you spend them with, try to keep in mind that this time is intended for you to connect with what’s important, give thanks for what you’re grateful for, and look forward to what’s to come. After all, things may look completely different this time next year, so do your best to stay present and cherish this time that you get to spend taking care of you. So use these 4 ways to handle the holidays alone, if your feeling down and need to something to cheer you up.