7 ways to leave loneliness behind this December

christmas isolation

Feeling isolated or lonely is the worst, and it tends to get even harder around this time of year. Luckily our Supported Housing Team Leader Andy has some advice for kicking loneliness to the curb.

December and all that comes with it can be one of the best times of year. Sadly it can also be extra hard for people without any close friends or family nearby.

The good news is, even if you’re spending the holiday season solo, it doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Here are some tips to see you through the festive season and beyond.

1. It’s not too late to say yes

You might be making plans for one this year because you turned down invitations. The idea of a peaceful break by yourself seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re starting to think some company might not be such a bad thing.

This is an easy fix – just call those people back and say yes. Even if you’re still unsure if you actually want company, worry about being a ‘burden’ or don’t want to disrupt people’s plans – especially if you suffer with social anxiety – it’s not too late. The people you care about will just be glad to have you there, promise!christmas loneliness

2. Help others

Remind yourself about the good things in your life by helping those less fortunate.

Volunteering is a great way to connect with others, boost your self-esteem and bring joy to people who need it.

You could help serve dinner at a soup kitchen, bring gifts to a children’s hospital or visit lonely residents at a nursing home.

Helping older people in your community who might be experiencing loneliness is often simple, easy and enjoyable. Plus, if you’re together, neither of you will be alone.

You could even look at rescuing an animal, if you’re confident you have the time, space and money to look after it. Animals are great company, and you’re giving them a good home too.

3. Get productive

If you enjoy your work, and have the option to work on Christmas, spend the day being productive. This is a smart choice if your job involves interacting with co-workers or customers, which will give you some extra company.

If you don’t have the option to work, spend the day working on your home or on a project you’ve put off for too long.

Now is also the perfect time to join a new group or start up a hobby. This has been shown to really reduce loneliness for many people, especially if you look for activities based around your interests.

It’s easy to forget that loneliness is a completely normal human emotion, so you’re not alone in feeling lonely.

4. Host an ‘Online Christmas’

In this digital age, many of us will have friends we only know online, or who live in other cities or countries.

Host an online Christmas by setting up a Skype chatroom or Facebook group. People can drop in and out whenever suits them and you don’t have to cook, clean or even get off the sofa!

As an added bonus, you’ll have a chance to practice your social skills as you welcome new people to the group and catch up with old friends. You could even ask everyone to invite another friend along, so you widen your circle.

5. Enjoy the peace and quiet!

If being alone on Christmas is unavoidable, plan a day 100% made for you. Buy something nice to treat yourself, cook your favourite foods, plan a movie marathon or spend hours getting lost in origami, a jigsaw, stamp collecting or whatever else you love to do.

You could also cut through the clichés and do something offbeat like learning a new language or starting work on the novel that’s been floating around in your head. The holidays are a time to indulge in whatever makes you happy.

6. Plan ahead

If you’re not happy with how this holiday season has turned out, now’s the perfect time to plan for a better year ahead.

Anxiety may have left you alone, in which case make a promise to yourself to visit your doctor in the New Year and get some help. If you’ve never been diagnosed, make a plan to share your concerns. You could even write a letter to your GP, if you struggle to talk about how you’re feeling.

Social anxiety tends to be overlooked or mistaken for other problems because people with the disorder often struggle to share how they feel. Make it clear to the doctor the impact it’s having on your life. Let them know you’re ready to make some changes, with the right support.

7. Get help

If you’re struggling and nothing’s making you feel any better, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Reach out for help by calling a friend, family member or helpline.

Regardless of whether you’re physically separated from people on Christmas, you should never feel like you’re lacking support. There are people who would love to hear from you and trained volunteers who can help, such as the Samaritans.

If you’re an Onward customer, some of our supported schemes have activities to bring people together over the festive period. If you’re in a sheltered scheme, talk to your scheme manager about how you’ve been feeling. You can also contact Tenancy Support if you need information on local services you could get involved in.

Get in touch with our team for support around isolation or call us on 0300 555 0600

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