Feeling Lonely? You’re Not Alone

 

For the years that I have been writing this column, I have typically written a holiday submission that has focused on finding gratitude, grounding, and balance amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday stress.  And while this subject still has great merit for many of us, life circumstances have helped me realize that this topic has inadvertently overlooked those of us that do not experience the holidays in the same way.

So, this year, rather than focusing on the “overabundance” of the holidays that many of us relate to, I would like to make a shift and highlight another perspective.

…Traditionally, the holiday season views holiday happiness as time spent with family and loved ones.  And while this may be true for many, it is not true for us all.  For, in truth, holiday happiness depends much more upon our personal perspectives and experiences, much more than who we spend our time with.

Yet, when we spend the holidays alone, this is much easier said than done,  for if we find ourselves alone on the holidays, it is ever difficult, yet ever so important to remember that being alone does not have to equate being lonely.

So, with this in mind, consider the following the suggestions to avoid feeling lonely this holiday season:

First and foremost, redefine your expectations of the holidays:  Liberate yourself and know that there is no reason whatsoever that you cannot enjoy yourself and find meaning in this holiday season, no matter what your circumstances.  Make this time, whoever you spend it with, count.

Extend invitations:  Be proactive, and do not assume that everyone has plans, and know that many people look forward to a change of holiday-pace even if they do. If there is something that you would like to do, and you would like to share that time with others invite them to join you.

Accept invitations:  Again, be proactive.  Assume that the invitations you receive are sincere, and accept them if they sound appealing.  If they do not, graciously decline, and accept ownership for your decision to do so.

Redefine company:  Regardless if it is your own company, that of a beloved animal, or something else that is not human, do something special and out-of-the-ordinary with the company that you have.

Reflect:  Use this time to reconnect with yourself in a different way.  Reflect on your resolutions, your intentions, and your direction.  Absorb the silence and use it to your advantage during this time of solitude.

Indulge:  Indulge in yourself, and indulge in others.  If you have the desire, give yourself a treat of some kind.  And also, consider how you may give of yourself to connect with and benefit others in a way that is unique to you.

Be creative or productive:  What have you been  meaning to do with your free time?  Whether that is creative or productive, invest your resources into that project, and it is likely that you will find a sense of fulfillment.

Get away:  Explore a change of scenery, whether that is near or far.  Travel, no matter how you define it, takes on a whole new meaning and introduces you to a whole new word when you are flying solo.

 

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