The holiday season is known for being a time when families and friends travel from near and far to get in some much-needed quality time. Unfortunately, these days work schedules can be incredibly inflexible, and the cost of travel is notoriously high during the holidays. So for people starting out at new jobs or for those who live far away from home, making it back for Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s Eve is impossible.
If you’re a person who will be spending this holiday season alone, know that you really can make the most of it. Your holiday by yourself can really be whatever you make it. Do you want to spend the whole day sleeping and feeling a little bummed out? Feel free to. Do you want to eat a lot, drink a lot and spend the day binging on Netflix? Go ahead. Just know what to expect, and it will be a perfectly fine holiday alone.
The luxury of being alone is you can do whatever you want. But do you need a little advice on how to get through this time of year by yourself? We have some tips for getting through the season.
There’s this mythical idea that every holiday has to be perfect, that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, and that everyone will be magically happy every December. However, that is simply not true. If you’re spending the holidays alone, don’t expect to have a joyous time. Know that it’s OK to be a little sad, and don’t be afraid to cry.
Christmas Day is the one day a year when (almost) everything is closed, so take that time to get some things done that you’ve been meaning to do all year. Need to paint the garage? Have you been wanting to write a novel? Keeping busy will not only take your mind off the holiday, but it will also help you to accomplish tasks you may keep putting off otherwise.
If you have family or friends out in the world who were just too far to get to this holiday season, call them up when you’re feeling lonely. Sure, knowing that everyone is together without you can be incredibly difficult, but hearing a familiar voice on the phone is a comfort that is hard to deny.
The holidays have always been about traditions. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you can’t start a few new ones of your own. Watch a new TV show from start to finish, revisit some of your favorite movies from childhood, or consider cooking a new meal just for yourself. Whatever you do, make it fun!
Order enough Chinese food to fill an entire buffet. Bake four kinds of Christmas cookies and eat them all yourself. Drink a bottle of wine (or two, so long as you don’t go out and drive). The holidays are a time of excess, so take part in that from the comforts of you own home. Plus, stuffing your face always helps to curb the blues.
Buy yourself some holiday gifts online. Take yourself to the movies and see that blockbuster no one else is interested in. Go to the salon and get your nails done. Use this holiday as a time to treat yo’self.
If nothing else, Christmas is a day off of work for most people. Use that time to catch up on some much-needed rest. Not only does sleep help reduce stress, but it can also help curb depression and give you a sense of renewal. So, go ahead: Sleep in until noon and take ample naps. It’ll make you feel better.
If you’re feeling the holiday blues, scrolling through endless feeds of people celebrating and being together with their family and friends won’t make you feel any better. Spending excessive time on social networks has been occasionally linked to depression, so just avoid those apps.
There’s no rule that any particular calendar date — be it the fourth Thursday in November, December 25 or December 31 — has to be a special day. Treat the holidays like just… any other day off work. If you focus on the present and try not to linger on what other people are doing or what you’ve done on holidays in the past, your holiday can just be another day in the life.
If you have the means, book a vacation for your holiday alone. Solo travel can be a great way to find yourself, and countries around the world go all-out for Christmas. See someplace new, explore, and have tons of fun.
Though you may feel like you’re all alone, rest assured you are not. No matter where you live, there are others who are spending the holidays by themselves. Get out of the house and try and connect with someone new. Head to a local bar or grab something to eat. There are a surprising number of restaurants open on Christmas Day.
An easy way to avoid spending the holidays completely alone? Do some volunteer work. Not only will volunteering get you out of the house and meeting new people, but charitable acts have also been linked to mental health benefits. It gives you a sense of community and purpose and helps combat depression. Start here with 60 things you can do to fight hunger in America.
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