Whatever your typical setup around December 25th – maybe a social get-together with the extended family, a small party with some important friends and a fizz or a feast of “non-traditional” take-away meals at your local Chinese restaurant – between high Omicron prices and the desire to be “careful” this year could look different. (Again!)
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One possible consequence of this is a feeling of loneliness. The holidays are a major reason for this feeling – regardless of a global pandemic that has severed our physical bonds like a piece of cutlery with brandy butter. This is especially true for those who tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating through the day.
According to WH research, 79% of you feel more lonely now than you did before the pandemic. To help you out, WH asked lead psychotherapist and author of This Too Shall Pass, Julia Samuel, to respond to some of your questions, reflections, and comments about being alone this Christmas.
How do I deal with Christmas loneliness?
But first, there is some universal advice that you can take root in. Regardless of your situation, during this bizarre time, the following are likely to be a tonic to some extent.
Keep a routine
“It helps to have regular routines that you can rely on and give you certainty. So it can be a structured routine to exercise before breakfast or meditate after work, ”says Samuel.
“Both exercise and any breathing technique also reduce the anxiety caused by insecurity, so you get double the benefit. Making a conscious decision to do things that bring joy also helps to deal with uncertainty. So it could be that you hear wonderful music while cooking. ‘
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Know what you can control
“Recognizing and writing down what you can and cannot change and influence is worth sticking to the refrigerator door,” explains Samuel.
Remember that even in the midst of wild uncertainty, you are in control of some aspects of your life. “It’s important to be proactive about connecting times online and, if possible, creating real connection through walks together, even having hot beverages to hold together and drink,” she adds.
“More than anything, we need to be connected to others. People need people and love in every form is vital medicine at the moment. We need to get involved and work to have them, not wait for someone else to connect with us. ‘
Keep scrolling for their response to WH readers who are currently feeling a little stuck, sad, or lonely.
7 of your questions about Christmas loneliness answered
1. “I’m feeling sick about Christmas! I’m alone and I’m scared of seeing people and their families on Instagram. What should I do?’
“I can understand that living alone over Christmas is reinforced when you introduce yourself on Instagram and see that families are together,” says Samuel. “I wonder if you could possibly reach out to an organization that connects people in communities, young and old, online and in person.
“Another thing that we should be aware of is that it gives us both sense and satisfaction to use our skills and agency to make something through painting or any type of craft. There are also many online craft meetups, which you can attend to discuss your area of interest. “
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2. “I struggle with uncertainty. It looks like Christmas will be very miserable this year and no work will run out of money … “
“The uncertainty and lack of money make the partying worrying. I wonder if you can arrange a virtual meeting with, for example, four good friends to wish each other a Merry Christmas.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how intimate and enriching meeting a small number of close friends can be.”
3. “My main concern is my 94-year-old mother, who lives alone abroad. My sister is around and sees her a few times a day, but if there is a bad snow storm or Covid regulations she may not see anyone.
“I can imagine it being especially difficult not to be with your mother on Christmas Day when the number of Christmas parties you’re likely to have in the future is uncertain.
“Maybe you could make a Plan B for your mother in case there is a blizzard – does she have a neighbor next door who could call her and agree to come over, and could you arrange to talk on the phone on Christmas Day? the weather?
“I would write and send her a card with a note of everything you think of her and memories of your happy Christmases of the past that she could open on Boxing Day.”
4. “I lost my mother four years ago and she made Christmas magical. It was never the same again. ‘
“It must be bittersweet to have memories of that wonderful Christmas with your beloved mother.
“I would create an annual Christmas ritual that would reflect your mother and your love for her, maybe light a candle with flowers and a photo of her to turn to at certain times, or do something you can do with her over Christmas connects.
“Memory touchstones are a way of expressing love for the deceased because our love for them never dies.”
5. “I think I get depressed because I am expected to do all of the household chores. I used to have my friends to support me, but since I wasn’t in regular contact with them during the lockdown, they left me.
“I can hear how hurt it is not to be in contact with your friends, but I would suggest that you pull up your courage and connect with them and agree to reconnect. I am sure they would love to hear from you as they may also feel abandoned and lonely.
“Partly it’s about just daring to take the plunge into texting or calling, and it’s also about cognitively realizing that the feeling of fear doesn’t correspond to the reality of fear anyway – feelings aren’t facts.
“The worst that can happen is the status quo, they don’t react so you haven’t lost a thing and you can make a friend so it’s definitely worth the plunge.”
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6. “I cannot visit my family because my mother is a very high risk, which means that I feel very separated and alone. Help?’
“This is tough for you and your mom. I wonder if you and others who know and care for you could record a voice message for them that said, Merry Christmas, but also why they are.” is special to you and which you could receive on Christmas Day. ‘
7. “I don’t have a family anyway and I think Christmas is exaggerated as a time to be together – and that alone is the main reason for the seasonal loneliness.”
“I wonder if you would feel a sense of enrichment at a time when you felt overwhelmed by volunteering on Christmas Day or around it? Helping others is good for both those receiving and the giver. “
* This article was originally published on Women’s Health UK
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