For some, Christmas is a depressing time of year and many people suffer from post-Christmas blues. Christmas can also be a time of great loneliness and the jollity surrounding the festive season can make loneliness particularly difficult to bear. Everyone seems to be having a good time with their friends and families, and this magnifies the feelings of loneliness.
Society judges people according to the size of their social networks, and being lonely can lead to feelings of failure. Bear in mind that being lonely is not the same thing as being alone, and you can be on your own but not feel lonely because you have people you can call on. Lonely people are unable to do this because they don’t have anyone they can rely on and so the feelings of isolation are exaggerated.
Depression is felt acutely at Christmas too, and many people describe feelings of dread as the big day approaches. They may feel under pressure to participate in the festivities when all they want to do is shut themselves away until it is all over. Other people may view them as party poopers or killjoys, not realising that they are unable to shake their feelings of despair.
If any of the above rings a bell with you, just remember you are not alone. The key to overcoming loneliness is to develop relationships with people who share your interests and values. Focus on positive thoughts, and do what you can to meet people such as taking up a new hobby or doing voluntary work. Strive to be positive and reach out to others every day, not just once a year.
If Christmas is making you feel bad in one way or another, there are a number of steps you can take. Take control of your life, set attainable goals, spend time with people that build you up, and do not be tempted to overindulge in alcohol. Learn to relax and don’t take yourself too seriously, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If participating in Christmas events is too much for you, take things easy, explain your concerns to a trusted friend or family member, and only take on as much as you can handle.
It is important not to focus on just one day per year, and remember that Christmas will not last forever. Make sure you get plenty of exercise, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg, try to get seven to eight hours sleep per night and confide in those you trust. Join a support group and, if your depressive mood increases, seek medical help. Try to have an optimistic outlook by remembering that it is possible to recover from loneliness and depression.