Taking a drive through town you can’t miss that it’s all aglow with everyones unique version of Christmas decorating. Be it Christmas trees glowing in living rooms, twinkling orbs of color along roof lines, yards sprouting with every kind of lighted blow-ups imaginable, it truly takes on the image of a winter wonderland! And yet, with all the extra light shining forth, for you, it might seem like the darkest time of the year.
You might even live in one of those houses other people drive by with a Christmas tree shining out of the front window. But, maybe you put it up because it was the expected thing to do at this time of year. Even though your tree shines brightly, you yourself feel you are living in the midst of darkness.
You know that the expectation of the holiday season should bring about a sense of connection with family and friends and even humanity at large, but it’s just not your reality. You feel lonely and sad and if you could, you would hibernate for the whole month of December. Feeling lonely can make you dread the holiday season more than any other time of year. And watching everyone else (or so it can seem) connect with their loved ones makes your own feeling of emotional isolation even more pronounced.
The reasons for this loneliness can vary but possibly could stem from the loss of a loved one either through death, divorce, separation by long distance, or other circumstances. Or maybe you are uncomfortable getting to know people. Whatever the case may be, the struggle is real dealing with loneliness and sadness during this time of year.
You might feel that you are alone in your feelings. You are not! Many people deal with loneliness and sadness through the holidays. It is actually quite common. And while you might not be able to rearrange your life to match the fantasy of a perfect holiday, you can feel better by learning to approach the season differently. Therefore, I would like to offer some suggestions on how to deal with the loneliness so that you can make your Christmas holiday a little more merrier.
SEEK OUT COMPANY – Loneliness feeds on itself and if you are not careful you can be swallowed up by it. So, the best way to deal with it is to override the instinct to isolate yourself. Call a close friend or family member and go out for coffee or go shopping. Push yourself to attend holiday celebrations.
VOLUNTEER – Especially during the holidays there are many charitable causes and events providing service to the less fortunate. Serving others in time of need often helps you to switch from being so inward focused to being outward focused. It may also help you to realize that your situation might not be as bad as you think. By helping to make the season merrier for others in need can bring about a sense of fulfillment and happiness to your own life.
DON’T PLAY THE COMPARISON GAME – When you are feeling lonely it can be easy to compare your situation with everyone else. “TRUST ME,” no one is experiencing the perfect Hallmark holiday season. In fact, think about a Hallmark Christmas movie for a moment. What you see on TV is the practiced, edited and final version. You don’t get to see the participants not getting along or maybe not even liking each other. They might not smile until the camera turns on and the director yells out “Take one, two, three, etc.” until they get it right. And so, I say that to caution you, if you use social media most pictures that are posted are the practiced, edited and final version.
HONOR YOUR FEELINGS – Having experienced a loss in your life or having dealt with exceptionally hurtful situations in the past, feelings of loneliness or sadness are normal responses to what you have been through. Give yourself permission to feel those feelings. However, I would like to add that if you can’t sometimes separate yourself from those feelings and instead find yourself engulfed by them it could indicate a problem.
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS – Try redirecting your thoughts on what you do have instead of what you don’t have. Sometimes the reason why you feel incomplete and unfulfilled is because you forget to acknowledge any of the blessings and opportunities that have come your way in the last year. Changing your mindset in this matter can go a long way in easing those negative feelings of loneliness and unhappiness.
I hope you will find these suggestions to be valuable on how to cope with your feelings of loneliness and unhappiness during this season of merriment as well as the days beyond. However, if you keep on struggling with profound loneliness, please don’t hesitate to call me at (616) 516-1570 or click on the “contact” tab to make an appointment. I encourage you to seek out therapy to help you explore those feelings. Therapy can help to make you feel better! Together we will work towards bringing some light back into your darkness.