The billboards are alight with gift ideas, and happy groups of people seem to surround you on all fronts. Add that to the bitter cold and early nightfalls, and you soon start to feel very isolated. Your family lives far away, and you have never felt their absence more keenly. You’re spending the holidays by yourself and, yes, it can be awful. We’re conditioned to associate this time of the year with tradition, family, and merriment, so it’s easy to feel alone and to bury yourself in work. Or even worse, to fall into a funk. Below are some tips that will help make the holidays more bearable and maybe even fun.
Put Things into Perspective
Your situation is not unique. There are millions all over the world also spending this season alone for various reasons. It could be that their families live far away, or they are not on speaking terms, or they don’t have a family or significant other. Also, statistically, today’s non-traditional households outnumber the traditional ones; it’s just that our collective expectations as a culture haven’t caught on yet. Determine, then, to look on the bright side and to make the most of your current situation. If you start to feel sad, remember that this, too, shall pass.
If at all possible, find people who are also spending this time alone and do things together. Hold a potluck, organize a party, do fun things at home or outside. Find groups on Meetup or InterNations who might be meeting during this time and attend.
This is the time to take good care of yourself. Wear your favourite pajamas, write in your journal, cook your favourite meal, nap, read a book, binge-watch something on Netflix you’ve been wanting to see and just haven’t had the time. Or go hiking, go to the movies, visit a Christmas market, or get a spa treatment. Enjoy the company of those you’ve chosen to be around, or just enjoy your own company.
Helping those less fortunate is a guaranteed way to feel better. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a hospital, or a women’s shelter. Celebrate the true spirit of the holidays, which is meant to be about compassion and charity.
Tackle a Project
Have you been planning to start your own website but just never found the time? Or maybe you’ve been meaning to declutter your closet but never got around to it? Or you may just have chores you need to catch up on. Now is a great time to start. Make it fun by simultaneously playing music or listening to a podcast.
Get the endorphins flowing and take care of your health at the same time. Keep up your routine if you already have one, or try a new exercise video on your DVD player or on YouTube.
If you can, this is a great time to travel somewhere nice. You could try a singles vacation or cruise. Or try a writing or meditation retreat. If you’re staying at home, you could still have a travel experience. Try a French night with baguette and cheese, wine, and a French movie. Or a Japanese night, a Korean night, an Italian night, a Mexican night—you get the picture.
Contact your loved ones, even if they live halfway across the world. Send an email, or talk to them on the phone or by Skype. If there is bad blood between you, remember that forgiveness, too, is part of the spirit of the holidays. If you really miss them, then why not let them know?
Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
Write down a list of things in your life that you are grateful for. Also, if you are unhappy about spending this time alone, remember that everything in life is transient and things can change drastically from one instant to the next. Next year, you could be spending this time with your family, an amazing group of friends, or the love of your life. Stay strong.
And from all of us at The Edge Leaders, happy holidays! May this be a time for love, contentment and reflection in your life no matter what you celebrate. Do you have tips of your own you would like to share? Please do so in the comment box.
Nezha Boutamine | The Edge Blog