How to manage holiday loneliness

Creative expression can take many forms, Dr. Holt-Lunstad said. You might paint or craft. Perhaps you write or play an instrument. Maybe you finally take on that DIY project in your home.

If creativity does not come naturally to you, Dr. Holt-Lunstad noted, you can still reap the benefits by spending time around others who are doing creative things. For example, she said, you could go to a holiday concert or performance. That has the added reward of getting you out of the house and putting you in the company of others. Social isolation and loneliness are not synonymous but are linked.

The fantasy of endless holiday magic and deep, meaningful reunions with loved ones can set anyone up for feelings of disappointment.

dr Floyd suggested “reframing,” a tactic he often uses in his own life. It is all about challenging your self-talk to shift your perspective by asking yourself: What is an unhealthy narrative running through my head right now, and how could I change it? For instance, if you are having a small family get-together, concentrate on appreciating the people who are attending rather than focusing on those who are not. If you are away from home and missing a favorite tradition, make a list of other elements of the season that bring you joy and direct your attention to them. dr Floyd recommended jotting everything down and returning to that reframing exercise in moments when you feel yourself slipping back into negative thought patterns.

Gratitude can also serve as a powerful antidote to loneliness, Dr. Holt-Lunstad said, because it helps you focus your thoughts on what you have rather than on what you are lacking. Write down what you are grateful for, or tell someone you appreciate them, which has the added bonus of fostering connection.

“Let people know how much they mean to you,” she said.

If you’re spending more time alone than you’d like, make an effort to do something with that time that feels indulgent, Dr. Floyd said. Take a walk in the moonlight. Get lost in a book. Bake your favorite dessert and eat it right away.

“Turn the experience of aloneness into something positive,” Dr. Floyd said.

Michelle Munson, a professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work who studies social isolation, said it is a good practice to plan ahead for when difficult feelings arise.

Written by trendingatoz

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