Sunday, 29 November 2015

Loneliness at Christmas

As December comes hurtling toward us at breakneck speed; I am reminded that Christmas and the Holiday period is not always a joyous occasion for everyone. And I don’t mean because of the running around a lot of us have to do; like Christmas shopping, office parties or cleaning and stocking the pantry in preparation…I don’t even mean having to be away from extended family on Christmas day.
It’s those around us that are dealing with loss; whether the loss is recent or not, others who are feeling isolated, whether from their families or the world in general and those who struggle to provide themselves and their family with food or shelter on any given day, never mind at Christmas … that my heart goes out to at this time of the year.
The following curation is taken from an article I found really timely, as loneliness is not always the first thought that comes to mind, in general, at this time of the year - but is something experienced by many. 

5 Tips for Coping with Loneliness at Christmas
Curated:By My Guru Me
There are many reasons why someone might be lonely at Christmas including:
  • A partner is in hospital or has recently died
  • family is interstate or in another country
  • breakdown in maintaining relationships or friendships
  • as one of the last surviving members of their family they feel isolated
  • being  unwell, in a retirement home or hospital, or having a disability that makes socialising difficult
  • Family breakdown through separation 

Whatever the reason, here are some tips for coping with loneliness at Christmas and throughout the Holiday Period.
For many people, Christmas is a time of enjoying time with family and friends, good times and relaxation.
But for many other people, Christmas and the Holiday Period is a time of loneliness, isolation and sadness.
1. Stay active
Staying active and not becoming too sedentary, helps maintain a more positive outlook. Making it easier to reach out and connect with the people around you. Feeling connected is an important ingredient for good mental health and personal happiness.
2. Initiate social events with others
If you have a tendency to feel lonely during Christmas or the Holiday Season, try planning ahead so you have social events or outings organised to keep you busy, aim for one or two outings a week.  You could try organising a street party with your neighbours, don’t wait for someone else to plan it…take the lead. It can be as casual or formal as you choose. A great way to catch up or meet those you don't know. Take yourself or a friend/s to your local club or park and strike up a conversation with fellow club and park goers. Get involved with community events and enjoy the benefits of trying something new.
3. Volunteer for a charity
Volunteer work is a great way to avoid feeling lonely at this Christmas. Many people are in need at this time of the year and if you are able to give a helping hand; the act of selflessly caring about others brings with it a sense of purpose and joy – and the possibility of new friendships.
4. Give gifts to others
One of the best things about Christmas is giving. Giving to others is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for those you care for or are special to you. Remember, it really is the thought that counts and the thought will be very much appreciate. Gifts do not have to be of the material variety and if they are you don’t have to spend a lot of money if your budget is tight.
5. Practice gratitude
I hope you find that there is a lot to feel grateful for when you look around. The practice of gratitude is a great way to lift your spirits. Take some time to reflect on the things you have to be grateful for in your life, a change in perspective can often shift your mood. Bringing about a more positive, happier state of mind.

Today I feel very grateful for my spirit and determination. I am fortunate to be surrounded by love and kindness, as my little family and I make our way through the Pre-Holiday Season Madness, and as we do I am sparing a thought for all who are dealing with hardship and loneliness in their life. 

To anyone who may be feeling lonely at this time of the year...if you are unable to reach out to family and friends - please reach out to one of the many organisations available to help you.

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