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As the holiday season unfolds, many envision joyous gatherings, festive cheer, and the warmth of shared moments with loved ones. However, for some, this time of year can evoke feelings of loneliness and isolation, negatively impacting mental health. Holiday loneliness is a nuanced and prevalent phenomenon that affects individuals for various reasons.
We’ll explore why holiday loneliness occurs, its potential triggers, and offer practical tips to cope with and alleviate these sentiments during what should be a season of connection and merriment.
Causes of Holiday Loneliness
As its name suggests, holiday loneliness is a poignant emotional experience characterised by a sense of isolation and solitude during the festive season. It often emerges when an individual’s expectations of joyous social gatherings and connections with loved ones are unmet. This situation can be triggered by various factors:
1. Social expectations
The holiday season often comes with societal expectations of joyful family reunions and social togetherness. When reality doesn’t align with these expectations, individuals may feel a sense of isolation, intensifying their loneliness.
2. Comparisons and social media
The pervasive nature of social media can amplify feelings of loneliness during the holidays. Seeing curated glimpses of others’ seemingly perfect celebrations on Instagram, TikTok, or other social media platforms may foster comparisons, leaving individuals feeling left out or inadequate.
3. Loss and grief
For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can magnify feelings of grief. Traditions and celebrations may serve as painful reminders of those who are no longer present.
4. Geographical separation
This particularly affects those who are residing in other countries for work, school, or other reasons. Physical distance away from family and friends can lead to isolation during the holidays, which occurs when people are unable to reunite with their loved ones due to challenges in travelling and scheduling conflicts, to name a few.
Ways to Cope with Holiday Loneliness
1. Acknowledge your feelings
It’s essential to recognise and accept your emotions. Denying or suppressing feelings of loneliness can exacerbate the situation. Instead, acknowledge what you’re experiencing and allow yourself the space to process these emotions.
2. Reframe expectations
Challenge societal expectations and redefine what a meaningful holiday looks like for you. It’s okay if your celebrations don’t align with traditional norms. As long as you get to take part in an activity that brings you joy, such as indulging in a favourite hobby or volunteering in your community, you have a jolly Christmas that’ll be unforgettable.
3. Practice self-care
If you are not attending any Christmas party or gathering, take this opportunity to prioritise self-care. Engage in activities that nourish your well-being, whether it’s taking a nature walk, enjoying a warm bath, or simply journaling and looking back at the past year. Self-compassion is the secret to navigating holiday loneliness and promoting happiness.
4. Seek support
Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you’re grappling with loneliness and need to connect with someone. Humans are naturally social animals, so we have to verbalise our emotions every now and then. Share your feelings with friends, family, or a professional counsellor in Singapore, or attend a family therapy session, and you’ll find that the feeling of burden will be alleviated.
The holiday season can be tough but fear not! There’s a world of resources and support systems waiting to help you redefine the holidays on your terms.
One of these support systems is A Space Between, where we provide a range of rooms that serve as a supportive and non-judgmental space for you to freely express your thoughts and emotions, fostering a sense of connection with your therapist. Through meaningful conversations and personalised coping strategies, therapy can empower you to understand the roots of your loneliness and develop practical tools to navigate such feelings.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.