How to Avoid the Christmas Blues
ShoomKloom Editorial Staff
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with’’
What is Christmas About for You?
I cherish the feeling of the Christmas season, the flickering streetlights lightening up the winter darkness, the smell of wood fires and Christmas trees, the coziness of a decorated home…
But don’t you just hate the whole media hype around Christmas? Those layers of expectation, more and more presents and glittery clothes to buy and having to make that day one of the best days of the year.
We get bombarded with romantic snow filled movies, sugary sweet love songs and pictures of jolly families buying presents for their loved ones. Many people spend Christmas with family or friends.
But also, many of us will spend this day alone: often with a feeling of missing out on love and connection or grieving for what was or for whom is no longer around.
In this blog I am writing for those who are alone, are dealing with loneliness and want to explore how to make this day worthwhile, enjoyable and a celebration of who you are.
Watch out for 6 ultimate tips how to do this.
I have had all kinds of different Christmas celebrations:
- The traditional family celebration with presents under the tree, fairy lights and snow outside
- With a boyfriend making dinner together while singing carols and feeling loved
- Without a boyfriend and celebrating with my elderly parent to compensate for their loneliness
- With friends being silly, dressing up and partying
- Working and taking care of someone with a spinal injury
- By myself alone, having dinner alone and not doing anything special
But does it really matter with whom we are on this day? Wouldn’t it be great if we just had a beautiful day regardless of where we are and with whom we are?
Our Ideas about Loneliness
What I have come to see is that what matters is how I define ‘Christmas’, ‘celebration’, ‘happiness’ and ‘aloneness’. How I give meaning and images to these words. That I feel like a failure when I don’t manage to create a reality to fit the picture and idea I have in my own head.
We all know that being alone and feeling lonely aren’t the same either.
- Loneliness feels draining, upsetting and depressing.
- Solitude feels peaceful, restorative and creative.
But as humans, we have a tendency to think that there is something wrong with being alone. That it means there is something wrong with us, that we don’t fit, that we miss being loved, valued or appreciated.
In reality, we often are happy being by ourselves. Don’t you simply enjoy it when you are alone and not busy pleasing, impressing or proving yourself to anyone? When there is nobody around to irritate nor criticise you? When you can just do what you want, like dance naked or lie lazily on the couch?
Just consider all the assumptions you make about what being lonely means. You know that everyone goes through times of loneliness. Being lonely says nothing about your character or your worth as a person.
Can you see that when adding your meaning to those moments of being alone, loneliness does creep in?
Do you want to be happy at Christmas?
Benefits of being ALONE
I know the feeling of loneliness and desperation. For a while during my thirties, I cried myself to sleep. The ache in my heart was just too painful to bear. Believing that nobody understood me, that I was dropped on the wrong planet and I felt I was missing being loved by that special ‘other’.
Imagine what it would give you to be able to allow the sense of ‘loneliness’ and to discover what is deeper than that?
Here I am challenging you to appreciate your alone time and to see that there is no need to avoid it, run away from it or judge it.
Let’s have a look at some benefits from that precious time when you are on your own:
- An opportunity to recharge, reflect and communicate with yourself.
- Space to accept whatever you feel and to find out by yourself what brings you down or cheers you up.
- Being self reliant and come up with answers to solve issues and for making right decisions.
- Getting clear on what you want next.
- Revealing your creative skills or what you want to develop.
- Not needing to make others happy, trying to do the right thing or looking for approval from the other.
- Being there for you, only for YOU.
Remember that loneliness is just a temporary state of your mind and soul.
Wise people say that in discovering the essence of loneliness, you will never be lonely anymore.
Loneliness at Christmas
At Christmas expectations are amplified. Happiness appears to look a certain way. And either you fit the perfect picture or not. At this time, feeling lonely can feel at its worst.
Yet loneliness is a mind-set. Under the influence of the media and society you can persuade yourself that you must be lonely at Christmas because you’re not in a relationship, not celebrating with a happy family, busy working or all alone by yourself.
The following ideas will almost guarantee you to feel lonely, bad or dissatisfied.
Have you had this sort of miserable Christmas?
Being busy with what it means about you:
- Believing that nobody loves you because you are alone.
- Excessively dwelling on what it means to be alone on Xmas.
- Dwelling on past memories and regrets and not seeing what is here.
- Holding onto past resentments.
- Mourning the wonderful times spent with loved ones.
- Feeling sad because your Christmas doesn’t fit with your idea of a perfect Christmas.
Being totally identified with your ‘issue’ and not seeing the wider picture:
- Being single or heart broken.
- Not being in touch with relatives or not having family members.
- Not having a budget to celebrate.
- Being fully in a depression, anxiety or burnout.
- Grieving for a loved one who passed away.
Going along with common Christmas beliefs:
- I should celebrate this day with others.
- Being single on Christmas is horrible and makes me a loser.
- Everyone else will have a much better time than I will have.
- I can’t refuse to attend family/friend/work Christmas celebration, I have to attend any invitation as they expect me to come.
- If I am alone on Christmas it means that I am not special and nobody loves me.
Consider writing down the beliefs you have about being lonely. You may be surprised at the judgements you are making that have no basis in fact.
Unwrap Yourself as your Christmas Present to Reveal the Very Best of You.
Are you ready to turn your Christmas blues around? Here are those tips we promised you…
#1 Stop believing that there is something wrong with you.
You are definitely not the only person who is alone on Christmas. Realise the hype around this day. Being alone doesn’t mean anything about you, it doesn’t mean that nobody loves you or that others are more loved. It doesn’t mean that you are miserable.
See how you give attention to these thoughts which amplify your feeling of loneliness.
You will see that you give lots of meaning to being alone on Christmas. Thinking of other people being together and being happier. Or feeling like a failure just because your situations doesn’t picture the ‘ideal’ of happiness.
Stop taking those internal comments you tell yourself seriously.
Can you see that your best Christmas present will be to be kind, caring and loving towards yourself and to spend this day without judging or comparing?
#2 Go out and explore, not knowing what will happen…
What if you could have an adventure this Christmas?
Take yourself out for that beautiful walk, bring a book along to a coffee place or restaurant with an open fire, watch a movie or attend Christmas carols at the church.
We never know ‘what will happen’. Often we want to know and try somehow to create that positive meeting or experience.
Can you see that if you don’t expect anything special from the day, anything could make the day special?
#3 Enjoy solitude and being with you.
While being with yourself, you have nobody to please, impress or agree with. You don’t need to smile or shake hands when you don’t feel like it. You are not looking for approval or do the right thing for someone else. You are just there for you, only for you! Make it a point to be kind, caring and gentle with yourself.
- Not all uncomfortable feelings need to be overcome, expressed or fixed. Sometimes you are alone, feel lonely or sad. This is all part of being human. See what happens when you stop the stories in your mind that you tell yourself about how things should be.
- Look at what you want. Treat yourself. Promise yourself to be your own best friend. Write a poem, listen to music, have a bath, make dinner…just do one thing you like at a time.
- Remember that being by yourself, doesn’t mean anything about YOU!
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
#4 Practise gratitude.
For a moment appreciate that you are spending Christmas with the excellent company of yourself. There will be people agonising ‘having to’ spend the day with family. Many people will feel alone while being amongst others.
Maybe you have lost a loved one. You can totally miss that person and be absolutely grateful for the time you have spend together. Think for a moment how your loved one would want you to celebrate this day.
Can you see that the way you look at the situations, determines your experience and enjoyment?
#5 Accept your reality.
- What if I don’t judge myself?
- What if I don’t compare myself with what others have or do?
- What if being alone for Christmas doesn’t mean anything about me?
Can you see how empowering it would be to find true contentment in spending a day like Christmas by yourself and fully enjoying it without a care in the world?
I am not saying you ‘should’ spend Christmas alone. The real invite is for you to be with the questions for a moment. To see how you prevent yourself from truly enjoying your own company and how your ideas are blocking you from celebrating and accepting what is in front of you.
#6 Become a host or hostess.
By now you already have invited yourself to your Christmas party! There are more people in a similar situation like you. You could be the one to reach out to someone else who would spend Christmas alone.
Ideas for being socially involved on Christmas:
- Drop invites for a get together in the mailboxes of your street or neighbourhood.
- Create an event on Social Media for an Christmas dinner where everyone brings something.
- Volunteer; several charities are looking for volunteers to pack up presents, deliver food boxes or dress up as Santa Claus.
- Check your local community board or join a community event.
What would it give you to be an uplift and support for someone who is agonising about their lonely Christmas?
The most empowering is to see that Christmas is a day like every other day. It is up to you what you make of it.