Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely During the Holidays
Choose your thoughts carefully. You are the masterpiece of your life. ~Rhonda Byrne
There’s so much hype for the wonderful time of togetherness during the holidays that, for some, it only serves to accentuate the feeling of being alone and disconnected. The holidays can be particularly hard on those who are separated from loved ones, those newly divorced, or those who have suffered the death of a loved one. For better or worse, there are also those who do have family, but would rather do pretty much anything other than see them; for them too, it can be a lonely season. The best part of being an adult is we have the ability to make choices. This is supposed to be the season for one-and-all, and you can take back some control - if you choose to.
We are the makers of our own reality and feelings.
If you’re alone this Holiday Season, you can choose to change your expectations; transform your holiday season from a time of loneliness, to an opportunity to create new traditions and nurture yourself. Most importantly, don’t let the image of what a holiday “should” be dictate your feelings. Focus on what this season is really about: love and gratitude – not presents and parties. Regardless of your circumstances, you can choose to open your heart and fill yourself with the same feelings of love, friendship, and compassion that are at the core of the holiday season.
A few ideas to inspire you …
Treat yourself to some holiday sparkle.
Even if you’re the only one who’s going to see it, take the time to decorate your home. You don’t have to go all out – the point is to bring some of the color and sparkle of Christmas into your line of sight, even if it’s just something small.
Take the first step and reach out to others.
Enjoying a bit of solitude is one thing, but there’s no reason to sit at home on Christmas feeling sad because you think you have no other choice. If you have friends (or even co-workers) that are alone this Christmas, consider hosting a pot-luck dinner at your house, or suggesting a get-together at a local restaurant. If you have family, but for some reason are not able to be with them this holiday, don’t be bashful about telling your friends you are homesick! People are normally very open with invitations this time of year. Not only is it in the spirit of Christmas but, to be honest, many people loving the idea of having a friend as a “buffer” at family gatherings!
Write your story.
The more you can write about your thoughts and feelings, the quicker you can work through them, gain understanding about the twists and turns your life has taken, and create a vision of what you want for the future. This is the perfect time to start keeping a journal!
The most important story you will ever tell about yourself, is the story you tell to yourself.
~Jim Loeh, The Power of Story
Celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.
Sometimes we choose to be alone at Christmas because of the passing of a loved one. And of course, there are times in life when we need to give ourselves permission to work through sadness and sorrow. But many people find comfort in being proactive, if that sounds like you, then you may want to consider organizing a holiday memorial; a celebration of the life of your deceased loved one. There are many online sites available (most are free or low cost) where you can set up a memorial page for your loved one and invite friends and family to leave their comments and even submit photographs. Last Memories is just one example. Another idea is to host a combination celebration and online fundraiser in the name of your loved one. For example if they passed away as a result of cancer related illness, you might want to donate the proceeds of your fundraiser to cancer research in their name. Razoo is just one site offering this service.
Avoid second guessing yourself.
When you are newly divorced or separated, hauling out the ornaments and decorations may bring a flood of memories. It’s human nature under the circumstances to fall into periods of second guessing yourself; was the divorce or separation absolutely necessary, or could we have worked through it; should you have hung in there until after the holidays for the kid’s sake? Remembering the good times (or more likely, fantasizing that there actually were good times) makes you more likely to feel depressed when you are newly divorced. Don’t fall into the trap of wallowing in self-pity. It’s more important than ever to begin looking to the future and focus on rebuilding your life – instead of an end, consider this period as your transition to a new beginning.
When you have to share the kids – choose to set the example.
If you have children and they will be spending any part of the Christmas holiday with your ex, negotiate in goodwill to make a plan to call your children at a particular time that will not interfere with their holiday plans. Even if it hurts, and it probably will, the more you support your ex in being a good parent, the better chance your children have of growing up to be confident, well-adjusted people.
Give a helping hand.
There are countless ways to be of service during the holidays. Many nonprofits post newspaper ads looking for volunteers, and there are always soup kitchens and charities that need people on Christmas Day. Giving your time to someone who will really cherish it is the best gift of all. Isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about anyway? Whatever your circumstances this Holiday Season, remember that on the deepest level what we’re celebrating is hope. If you’re not able to wrap your arms around the noise of the season, then just wrap your fingers around that simple truth that the season isn’t about presents, decorations or Christmas cards. It’s about love and peace – try sending some of that love your own way this holiday. You deserve it! If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested to know it’s an excerpt from my holiday season book, Christmas by Design: Tips, strategies and inspiration for the most enjoyable, stress-less holiday season ever!
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