Most of us, will be able to enjoy the festive period. Spending time with loved ones, sharing laughter and gifts and enjoying great food. However, for some this time of year can be dark and lonely.

Taking into consideration the people who can’t spend time with family and friends have a rather dull Christmas break as well as the ones that are less fortunate. It can effect their mental health but there are ways to help cope with the struggles of loneliness throughout Christmas. It’s not as easy for them to go and visit people or to go places, which means they spend day in day out on their own and that’s not just for the holidays. 

Social media is such an amazing tool, we all use it everyday. Perhaps, you can’t get to a certain place because of mobility issues or simply travel costs. A great way to connect with your friends or family would be to Skype them, this is a free service that lets you video call or voice call anyone and it’s fairly simple to use.

Yes of course, seeing them on a screen is not as good as reality but it can help boost your mood talking to them and will hopefully ease the feeling of loneliness. You don’t always have to have a face to face chat, perhaps you could just type and keep in contact that way.

Another way you could put your skills to good use, which will result in you feeling positive about yourself as well as feeling more sociable. Is volunteering, you could go see who are doing events for Christmas. A lot of the time, certain churches will do food or tea and coffee for those who need it, go down and have a look what they have on offer. It’ll get you out the house, socialising and doing something that will bring joy to the people who are less fortunate.

If you feel worried about doing social activities, it’s a chance for you to test your boundaries and expand your social skills.

Another element of making your Christmas a little bit more cheery would be to plan an ‘Orphan Christmas’ this means spending the holiday with people who don’t have anyone or join a group of people in similar circumstances. They will most likely feel the same as you lonely, isolated and nervous.

There’s ways in which, if you can’t do any of these things, you can still have fun on your own at home. Be productive, do some cleaning, cook your some yummy Christmas cookies or plan a movie marathon, just do anything to take your mind of the feeling.

Perhaps you are alone because you said no to invitations, don’t be afraid to call those people back and say yes! The problem that causes the feeling of being anxious to go to certain events is social anxiety, but then when you actually turn it down you regret it and feel lonely afterwards. 

It can affect individuals both physically and mentally. The thought of someone having to spend Christmas on their own is a sad thought, but it can have detrimental affects on their health.

Depression can effect us at anytime. But it can be a lot harder at Christmas time especially when you have no one to talk too.  It can be especially difficult with social and financial pressures of Christmas. 

Common symptoms are restlessness, irritability, feeling worthless and finding no enjoyment in anything. Other warning signs could be behavioural changes: insomnia, having low or increased appetite, drinking or smoking more than usual. 

Speak to a GP, or if they’re closed over the holidays call NHS 111 which is a 24 hour hot line to discuss your symptoms. Adopt healthy habits over the festive period, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, reduce alcohol consumption and exercise!

Loneliness is the feeling of isolation but not always being alone. Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at mental health charity Mind, says, ”some people choose to be alone and live happily without contact. Others might have lots of social contact, and still feel lonely.”

It can feel like there’s to much pressure to celebrate with friends and family. However, for some it could be their first Christmas after loosing a friend or family, which may result in them spending the festive period entirely alone. 

Loneliness can affect pretty much anyone at any age. According to Age UK almost a million older people feel lonelier at Christmas, two out of five of whom have been widowed. They also report that half a million older people can go up to a week without seeing or speaking to anyone. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZTzHOacNN4

If you know anyone or you yourself, are suffering from loneliness or depression throughout the holidays don’t be scared to reach out!

Call Samaritans, on 116 123 or email them on jo@samaritans.org.

Call Contact the Elderly, on 
0800 716543 open Monday-Friday 9am-5:30pm or you can send them a message if you’d prefer by clicking this link.

Call British Red Cross, on  0344 871 11 11 or you can send them an email on contactus@redcross.org.uk.

Call Age UK on 0800 055 6112  open everyday from 8am-7pm or send them an email on contact@ageuk.org.uk

http://www.counsellorwhocares.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/BeckyCares/

Student Journalist