Holiday loneliness can sabotage every one of our recovery self care resolutions especially now when there is forced isolation from loved ones and friends. But there is a difference between being alone and being feeling alone. There is something about traditions and gatherings that makes the need for human connection even greater, so this year you may need some new ways to get and feel connected.
Holiday Loneliness Can Be Avoided
Take the gratitude challenge that to help both you and others. When life has you down due to loss, divorce, or being far from home this is a way to bring kinship to others far away. When the loss is a loved one deep in addiction, or you’re new to recovery without the stability of a job or support system, holiday loneliness is more challenging. Here, the sadness and suffering you feel isn’t as easily seen or understood by others. Worse, it may be compared to worse hardships and diseases. Loss is loss, however. Try some tips for relapse prevention.
Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Lonely
When you’re alone on the holidays, for whatever reason, it’s important to make a distinction between being alone and being lonely. And it’s important to get connected. While I avoided the first holidays after my parents died and chose being alone, I filled my days with activities where I could be of service to others. In this way, I was able to honor the spirit of the holiday, and I made new friends in the process. I volunteered preparing traditional feasts and delivering them to the elderly and those who couldn’t travel. I also connected to nature by slathering paper with with peanut butter and rolled it in bird seed for both feathered friends and passing deer.
There Is Gratitude In Serving
Holiday loneliness can be replaced by gratitude when you serve others. Being grateful connects you in powerful but unseen ways. The more thankful you can be right now, even amidst loss and feelings of disconnection, the more your life brings things to be thankful for to your attention.
Look For Connection In Every Moment
Look for joy in the moments of life … the aroma of morning coffee, a heavy ceramic mug, plump blueberries, the sound of chimes, a table and chairs, apples in a wicker basket, silky creamer and the way it both lightens and deepens, crumbs on a napkin, candles flickering their welcome from a window, the grace and flexibility of squirrels as they leap from branch to branch, the way a cardinal hangs from a suet cage – its beak deep in the treat, silence, dry shoes, soap and water, and how the morning light can be separated into slivers of blue, red and all the friends of the spectrum if you just notice it.
Here are a few other things to do to keep connected, especially over the holidays: