How to cope with being alone this year

You might be feeling upset if you’re spending Christmas alone this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s important to see the positive side of things. Here, psychologist Noosha Anzab shares her expert advice on how to do just that.

Every year, most people fall into two categories – those who live for Christmas and those who dread the festive season.

For some, Christmas is a great time to be with friends and family; to be in the sun, to feast and to spread cheer. But for others, it can be a time that is lonely, isolating and a time that can really reinforce painful baggage, which they’ve hauled with them year after year.

If for some reason, you are doing it alone this Christmas (especially during COVID times), then there are a few things which can be considered to help you get through the season.

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How to cope with being alone this Christmas

1. Accept the present with openness

There is no denying that the present can be quite uncomfortable for some. Fighting that or ignoring it won’t make it any better, however openly accepting the right here and now for being just that can be a wonderful gift to give yourself.

If you’re facing Christmas alone, there isn’t much to gain by accepting that with dismay. Instead, try being open about the situation, and be transparent with yourself. This isn’t a time to pluck out all the reasons as to why you are alone; instead, frankly acknowledge that you are alone and that’s all there is to it.

Being alone doesn’t necessarily have to be filled with the ache of loneliness. Finding ways to appreciate your time alone, by loving yourself, being selfish in indulging yourself and being kind to yourself in whatever ways you need, are great starting blocks for coping with being alone this Christmas.

Perfect doesn’t exist and Christmas is definitely not the time to concentrate on trying to create this unrealistic concept either. Whether you are spending Christmas alone couped up at home, or you plan on heading out on a solo adventure, try to do it imperfectly.

Imperfect can look like staying in PJs all day, eating your favourite Christmas foods, spending the day doing Christmas (or non-Christmas) related things and throwing out the rule book that is usually specific to you.

The important thing to remember is that we can’t punish ourselves for having to face the festive season alone. Sometimes our life’s circumstances lead us to where we are, and we can’t deny that and chastise ourselves for that. Instead of giving yourself a penalty or putting so much unrealistic pressure on yourself to be as ideal as possible, throw out the unrealistic standards in lieu of some more flexible ones.

3. Get moving (and grooving)

If you are embracing your inner introvert, whether that be due to life’s journey or because you are choosing to, don’t forget to move a little.

Being alone at Christmas can really reduce our mood and that can lead to us feeling quite overwhelmed.

To counter this, it’s a great idea to get up and get moving. Put on your favourite tunes and dance around your space, hit the pavement for a run or simply head out on a leisurely stroll. Getting good endorphins released whilst burning off the not-so-positive hormones can be really cathartic and help you cope with being alone for Christmas.

Noosha Anzab is a clinical psychotherapist and psychologist at Lysn. Lysn is a digital mental health company with world class wellbeing technology which helps people find their best-fit professional psychologist whilst being able to access online tools to improve their mental health.