• Cara Rheinschmidt

Home for the Holidays

Written by Erin Horin, Cara Rhienschmidt and Betsy Whalen

Feeling Lonely during the Holidays? We’ve got you covered!

Know that you are not alone, as 1 out of 10 Americans last holiday season reported feeling lonely. The holidays can be a difficult time for those who do not have loved ones to spend time with. Even those with a great support system can experience loneliness. Feeling lonely is just that, a feeling, and feelings are temporary! Know that it will pass, and that you will not feel this way forever.

Here’s some tips to help you through this Holiday Season!

1. Avoid the Comparison Trap

Focus on the here and now and avoid comparing your holiday experience to others. Remember that you are a unique individual. There is no one else like you. Your experiences are 100% your own and comparing it to someone else will never lead to joy. Staying in the present moment through Mindfulness meditations can be helpful.

Try the 5 senses meditation:

List 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste

2. Organize Feelings

You can create a list of feelings or journal out your thoughts! We encourage you to read over what you write. Sometimes reading over your thoughts help you to process your emotions. When you read through your thoughts ask yourself if this is true? Also ask yourself “Are my thoughts kind?”. Remember that we are usually harder on ourselves than we are with other people. Treat yourself the way you would a friend!

3. Make a Gratitude List

Write down all the things you are grateful for. You can list anything from a pet, car, home, safety, employment, food, or time to rest! To take it a step further, write out why you are grateful for each item on your list.

4. Create New Traditions

This is a great opportunity for you to create the life you want! What traditions have you always wanted to start around the holidays? Drive around and look at Christmas lights? Watch a holiday movie? Bake cookies? Decorate your home? This is the time for you to decide what is important to you and make that commitment to yourself to start a new tradition.

5. Take Time for Yourself

This is a great time to think about what you like! Do you enjoy creating art? Reading? Watching movies? Exercising? Cooking? This is the time to determine what you like to do. If you are not sure, start by making a list of what you don’t like. Always remember that practicing self-care is extremely important. Take time out of your day to allow yourself to relax and unwind. For some this might look like taking a bath, for others it could be working out. You are your number one priority, so we encourage you to find at least 20 minutes a day to focus on yourself.

6. Volunteer

There are so many wonderful organizations that need volunteers around the holidays. Call your local food pantry, animal shelter, or check out websites like VolunteerMatch to link up with a community agency today! Giving back to others can give you a sense of purpose and meaning. These feelings can usually surpass the feeling of loneliness! This could be a great opportunity to create a new community for yourself.

7. Get Outside

While it might be chilly, this is a great time of year to get outside! Check out a local Christmas light show or go to a local forest preserve or park. The fresh air, peace and quiet is excellent for the soul. Maybe you will get lucky and be able to take a stroll during the fresh snow. Don’t forget to bundle up!

8. Vision Board

The Holidays are a great time to prepare for the next year!

Think about your goals for the future.

Have you ever created a vision board? Try asking yourself a few questions – What do I want to feel next year? How do I want to spend my time next year? What makes me happy? You can write down words or get creative using magazine images. You can look back at this tool throughout the year to remind you of your future goals!

9. Host an Event

Don’t wait for an invite! Create your own holiday event instead of waiting for someone else to invite you over. This doesn’t have to be a traditional holiday dinner. You could plan a coffee shop date to get hot chocolate. Maybe schedule a holiday movie night or have a vision board party!

Above all else, please know that you are not alone.

Here are some resources you can use if you need someone to talk. These resources are free, confidential, and available 24/7, 365 days a year.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 Crisis Text Line: Available to reach a counselor by texting HOME to 741741. The Samaritans HelpLine: 1-877-870-4673

And as always, Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit. 608-364-1083