Combating loneliness during the holidays


Last year, 1.3 million older people expected they’d feel lonely at Christmas, and more than a third of people are too embarrassed to admit they are lonely at Christmas.

Whatever your setup around the festive season is, it’s possible that feelings of loneliness will come in at some point.

It’s not unusual that the focus and pressure on togetherness and merriment at this time of the year can trigger negative emotions, particularly for those who live or work alone. Our mental health experts have shared their advice on how you can manage feelings of loneliness during this time.

Nine ways to ward off loneliness:

1. Acknowledge your feelings

Know that it’s OK to feel lonely. Recognise and accept your feelings without judging yourself.

2. Keep a routine

Creating a routine and maintaining it will help to give you certainty at a time when things may feel out of control.

3. Use breathing techniques throughout the day

Simple breathing techniques help to keep you grounded and reduce anxiety caused by uncertainty.

4. Intentionally choose activities that bring you joy

Activities could include anything from putting great music on whilst you cook or picking up a coffee before you start work one morning.

5. Take a break from social media

It can be triggering to see families and loved-ones together during the holidays on social media, not just for those who are alone but also those whose setup doesn’t match the ideals we often see online.

6. Create traditions

Start new holiday traditions yourself. These can be as simple as watching your favourite movie, baking, or heading to a Christmas market.

7. Step outdoors

Movement can be a great way to interrupt negative thinking. Step outdoors and connect with the community around you – whether that’s going for a walk, heading to the local coffee shop or popping round to a neighbour’s house.

8. Volunteer on key holiday dates

You may find a sense of enrichment by volunteering. Helping others isn’t just beneficial to those who receive the support, but it’s beneficial to the giver, too. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and connection.

9. Ask for help

If loneliness is causing significant distress or impacting your mental health, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor who can provide support and guidance.

If you need additional help with your mental health, reach out to a mental health professional. You can self-refer to our team here at Vita Health Group. In partnership with the NHS, we provide Talking Therapy services to support in various districts throughout the UK.

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Vita is an award-winning, CQC registered healthcare provider