Original post date December 12, 2017
Holidays don’t have to feel lonely. Skyland Trail Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Primary Counselor, Luke Smith, LMSW, shares tips on ways to stay socially connected over the holidays.
Plan in advance and get a few things on the calendar so you have something to look forward to.
1. Plan ahead and reach out.
If this is your first holiday away from your family or in a new city, make plans in advance. Reach out to the people you know and see if you can make plans to see a movie or go to dinner together. You don’t have to wait for someone else to invite you. Plan in advance and get a few things on the calendar so you have something to look forward to.
2. Plan for difficult days.
If there are days that you think may be especially difficult for you because of a recent loss or other association, be sure you have an activity planned for that day, or at least a planned “check in” with a friend or relative by phone, facetime or skype.
3. Research group holiday activities.
If you are a member of a group or organization, find out what holiday activities they have planned and join in. Sign up for the potluck, the holiday cookie swap, or tacky sweater leg day at the gym.
4. Join a new group.
If you’re not a member of a group, find one using sites like meetup.com or identify a faith community with social opportunities.
5. Volunteer to help others.
Another way to combat loneliness during the holidays is to volunteer in the community. Organizations like Points of Light’s HandsOnNetwork match individuals and groups with local nonprofits to meet needs and build community.
6. Know how to ask for help in a crisis.
Especially for people who experience depression or anxiety, isolation can lead to serious thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you or someone you know are experiencing these thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.