Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Counsellor in Canterbury, Kent

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – For Some More than Others

It’s that time of the year when people are bustling, lights are twinkling, everyone is filled with anticipation as to whether we’ll get a white Christmas. But for some, it’s not the best time of the year. Some people will spend this Christmas in isolation, cut off from friends and family, particularly with the Covid restrictions in the UK. Here are some ways of combatting loneliness this Christmas.

  • Try and find three people you can contact over Christmas. If three is too many, try one. It can be anyone at all, a friend who knows what your situation is like, or a particular helpline you like to call when you feel low. The more the merrier – if you can find just one person you can connect with over Christmas to make it a bit less lonely in your mind, it will do wonders. I promise, you’re not the nuisance you might think you are and people would love to hear from you.
  • Come up with a list of films you would like to watch. It’s a fab time of the year to binge watch your old favourite Christmas films, or if that’s too offensive, find something on Netflix you’ve wanted to watch for a while but haven’t gotten around to doing. Sometimes people find having something on in the background helps with loneliness.
  • Go through your happy memories box. C’mon, everyone has one of these! If it’s a folder on your laptop full of times that made you happy, or if it’s a box of receipts from meals you enjoyed, get it out and go through it this Christmas. Although the goal is always to stay in the present, sometimes taking a trip down memory lane and remembering how happy you were can help you remember the loneliness won’t last forever.
  • Make sure you eat, hydrate, and get plenty of sleep. It’s really important to have your three meals a day and drink plenty of water and make sure your brain gets the sleep it needs. It won’t cure loneliness, but it will certainly help put things into perspective when things seem bad. And feeling lonely is one thing – feeling lonely, hungry and tired is something else completely.
  • Try and head out for a walk at least once a day. I know it’s cold outside and the thought of going out while it’s windy, rainy, whatever the weather has been where you are is unappetising. But walks are wonderful for reconnecting with the world around you – notice all the Christmas lights, the different smells in the air of all the food being cooked, the way your breath rises in the air in front of you.
  • Do something different or creative. Doing something new for the first time can be a great way of getting out of your head. Be it a yoga app you’ve downloaded on your phone that you’ve been meaning to do for a while, or picking up your old paint set – treat yourself to a new experience. You might be surprised at how rewarding and therapeutic it feels!
  • Take care of yourself. Whatever this looks like for you, do it. If it’s drunk singing along to Mamma Mia, or if it’s curling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and an old favourite book, really spoil yourself this Christmas. Treat yourself to central heating (if you can afford it), or turn on your fireplace and make this Christmas cosy. Think of someone who cares about you a lot – if it’s your parents, children, friends – think about how they would spoil you if they knew how you were feeling, and do that. Can’t think of anyone who would spoil you? Treat yourself the way Keanu Reeves would treat you.

Essentially, we’re all different, and what might work for some might not work for another. There’s no silver bullet for loneliness, but try and explore and see what works for you this Christmas. If you don’t feel better straight away, don’t lose heart – try something else. And above all, always remember the one thing constant in life is change, and it won’t always be like this.

Merry Christmas to one and all! ❤

(Commissioned artwork by Joe Inkpen: facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | website)

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