While many are looking forward to the holiday season, some may not feel as thrilled. The holidays come with a lot of high expectations. They can also be physically and emotionally taxing when your life situation is different from the idealized holiday images that surround you. If you’re feeling alone this holiday season, know that we see you and are here for you.

Holiday loneliness

The holidays are often portrayed as a joyous occasion with family and friends. However, the COVID-19 pandemic still makes it hard for a lot of us to feel safe around others. Some live far from family or don’t have a close relationship with them. Family gatherings may be smaller this year. And sometimes, even when people are surrounded by relatives and friends, they can feel distant or misunderstood. When we feel isolated, we often struggle with difficult thoughts and physical symptoms. This can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social challenges
  • Heart issues
  • Immune system issues

If you’re dealing with any of these challenges, here are a few ways you can find joy.

1. Assess your emotions and adjust your expectations

Take a moment to reflect on how you’re feeling. Whatever emotions come up for you, know that they’re valid. It’s easier to respond to challenges when you can accurately name and understand your emotions. If this sounds tough, lean on a trusted friend or a therapist for help.

It’s also important to be realistic, no matter what your situation looks like this holiday season. This can be hard when we get our holiday expectations from movies and social media. Know that it’s OK to spend time with close friends instead of family. By putting more time and effort into your social life, you can build stronger connections that make you feel safe and cared for.

2. Avoid comparison

Try to remember that most people don’t live a perfect life, regardless of what they post on social media. It’s best to focus on the positives in your life instead of comparing yourself to others and what they share online. Don’t just think about the big things you’re grateful for. You can find joy in your plants or favorite book.

3. Be kind to yourself

You know your situation best. It’s fine not to go home for the holidays if visiting family is toxic. You have every right to take care of your needs. It can also help to notice how you feel without judgment. When you begin to judge yourself, stop and take a deep breath. Acknowledge the feeling and then try to move on. Taking care of yourself can help you feel better and have a more enjoyable time alone. Take a relaxing bath, go for a run, eat a healthy snack or enjoy one of your favorite hobbies. Self-care activities can boost your mood and take your focus off feeling alone.

You’re not alone

While you may feel alone right now, know that you’re not. The holidays can feel lonely for many. If feelings of loneliness are too overwhelming or difficult to deal with, consider talking to a therapist. Our therapists are ready to help you get the support you need from wherever you’re most comfortable.

Find my therapist

Whether you’ve been diagnosed and are having trouble finding the ideal treatment, or you’re not sure what your mental health symptoms may mean, we’re here to support you on your journey. Our U.S. board-certified doctors and licensed therapists are available by phone or video. Schedule a visit seven days a week at a time that works best for you. Learn more at Teladoc.com/therapy, or schedule an appointment now and have your visit within three days. Teladoc offers online therapy services on your schedule, with experts available to talk by phone or video.

 

Published December 1, 2021

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