Loneliness can be triggered by a variety of things around the holidays. It can be an outpouring of grief that affects us in an isolating manner, a symptom of our modern lifestyles, a part of being excluded from groups of people you want to join, or just the feeling of being unwelcome. The internet, the death of communal gathering points, and lack of social cohesion–all of these things have contributed to the atomization of our communities everywhere, leading to people feeling like they no longer have somewhere to turn to when things seem lonely.
Depression and anxiety can trigger loneliness in individuals where it’s untreated, but it can simply appear organically in a variety of people. Those who suffer from addiction, homeless individuals, those with mental illnesses, older folks without family to be around, and single parents are all examples of those who can be struck with loneliness.
Loneliness can be overcome in a number of ways. We should be empowered to practice the art of reaching out when we feel lonely to combat those kinds of negative feelings. Here are some ways to combat holiday loneliness.
- For extroverts, learn to value time alone. Some of those who are more extroverted than others don’t like to spend any time alone. One thing extroverts can do is learn to value their time alone like a kind of rest. It’s good to recharge! An example of getting valued alone time is going for a winter camping outing over New Year’s and enjoying a big fire under the stars.
- Socialize. Take any and all opportunities to get out of the house and talk to some people or friends. Putting yourself in large social situations where you can meet new people is one effective way to combat loneliness over the long term, especially when you’re making long term friends. There is unity for those who find themselves in recovery, so groups of those in recovery that might feel a lack of wellbeing can help bring each other up together in support group environments where they can socialize.
- Join groups of like minded people. Joining groups of people who value the same things as you is both a great way to make friends and participate in meaningful interaction with those who might want to emotionally invest in others. Church is a great example of a place and opportunity for those who are religious to plug in and connect with a group of likeminded people.
- Volunteer. For some, giving back and being around the needy can help serve as a way to invest in others. It also serves as a meaningfully constructive way to keep busy over a short term.
- Speak with a doctor. Perhaps seasonal anxiety and depression is caused by a kind of hormonal or neurochemical imbalance that might legitimately require medical care to help overcome.
Maintaining community in times of significant emotional inequality like the holidays is tough but possible when you know ways to cope with it and conquer the negative feelings and emotions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to support groups if you need help through this time.
If you’re struggling with substance use during this time, we understand and want to help. Reach out to Landmark Recovery at 888-448-0302 to see how we can help you unlock your potential once again.
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