Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely
Posted by Wes Annac
By Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living, November 23, 2015
There’s so much “joyful” sharing about togetherness this time of year; after all celebrating life and relationships is a big part of the spirit of the season. But for some, the holiday season, talk of family and holiday gatherings serves to accentuate the feeling of being alone and disconnected.
The holidays can be particularly hard for those who are separated from friends and family, newly divorced, or who have recently suffered the passing of a loved one. And, for better or worse, there are also those who do have family nearby, but would rather do pretty much anything other than spend time with them; for them too, it can be a challenging few weeks.
But here’s what we should consider … 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.
The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. ~William James
Create Your Own Reality This Holiday Season
If you find yourself alone this time of year, you can choose to change your expectations and 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 the holidays “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 of the season into your line of sight, even if it’s just something small. If you would do it for someone else, why not do it for yourself?!
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’re embarrassed to reach out or you’ve convinced yourself 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 really do welcome the idea of having a friend as a “buffer” at family gatherings!
Take a Mini Vacation
If you’re able to take a break consider treating yourself to a few relaxing days away from home and work. A visit to a spa, a few hours in the sun and some quality time reading a great book can do wonders to relax and rejuvenate you!
Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead. ~Katrina Kenison
Write Your Story
This is the perfect time to start keeping a journal! Why not write about your year, what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown and, especially, your vision for the future. If you’ve had a tough year the more you can write about your thoughts and feelings, the quicker you can work through them and gain understanding about the twists and turns your life has taken.
Celebrate the Life of a Deceased Loved One
Sometimes we choose to be alone at Christmas because we’re working through the sadness and sorrow of the passing of a loved one, and you need to give yourself permission to do that if you feel you really need the time to heal. On the other hand, some 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 you 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 single. 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.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Lend a Helping Hand
This is my personal favorite because I have met so many wonderful people through volunteering and community projects! 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 show compassion 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 heart 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 book Christmas by Design.
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
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