Battling Holiday Loneliness: 12 Easy Tips & Tricks to Help You Survive & Thrive by Jagdish Khubchandani
From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Day, people across this nation are pounded daily with advertising that tells us to buy for others, drink festively at holiday parties and sing our favorite songs about Santa and his reindeer. For many Americans, the season is a lonely one. No matter how many times we hear about the jolly old elf, we can’t help but think about lonely days filled by lonely nights under the bright lights found at every holiday celebration.
It’s no wonder. We are simply a nation filled with lonely people. Data shows us the average household size in the U.S. has declined in the past decade, causing a 10 percent increase in people living alone. A recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that about a fourth of the U.S. population – and 28 percent of older adults – now live by themselves. But we can survive and even thrive during the holidays by taking advantage of the season. Here are a few tips:
- Maintain a routine. As much as possible, holidays and loneliness in this pandemic should not disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, working hours, and daily activities.
- Engage in activities that focus on your personal health, training, diet, physical activity levels and health habits, as well as reassessing your work.
- Cook for yourself and others in need. Add more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and proteins to your diet. (Most U.S. adults don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables). Eat two or three meals a day.
- Go for a walk or exercise at home. Definitely go out in nature as much as possible. Only half of adults today get enough exercise.
- Don’t let anxiety or being alone lead to binge eating or alcohol and drug use. Don’t oversleep, but try to sleep at least seven hours a day.
- It is a good time to reassess your skills and training. Consider taking an online course, pursuing certification, undergoing training or personality development or learning a new language. Short courses are available that can be done during holidays.
- Engage in spring cleaning, clear clutter and donate household items. Home clutter can harbor pollutants, lead to infections and result in unhygienic spaces.
- Being alone shouldn’t translate to an unhealthy life on social media. You’re likely overconsuming information and taking away time for yourself and from friends and family.
- Reach out to others and offer help. Consider providing for and helping those at risk or marginalized (e.g., the elderly, disabled and homeless; survivors of natural disasters; and people living in shelters). You will certainly find someone in the neighborhood who needs some help.
- Check your list of contacts on email and your phone. It may be a good time to check on your friends’ and family members’ well-being. This will also help you feel more connected, social, healthier and engaged. Be kind to all; you never know who is struggling and how you can make a difference.
- Engage in alternative activities to keep your mind and body active. For example, listen to music or sing, try dancing or biking, yoga or meditation, take virtual tours of museums and places of interest, sketch or paint, read books or novels, solve puzzles or play board games, try new recipes and learn about other cultures.
- Don’t isolate yourself completely – keep communicating with others.
Simply, the holidays were meant to be a joyous and happy time. So, instead of spending time in our homes, open the front door and get outside. You may be astounded that there are people – like you – who want to be your friend.
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