The holidays aren’t always a happy time – for some they’re reminders that they are lone, whether they’re widowed, divorced, separated or simply away from family and friends. Add grief to that and it’s even more difficult. Loneliness is painful.

If this describes you, these tips may help.

Redefine the Holidays

If you don’t feel like getting a tree or decorating, don’t. Can’t bear Christmas carols? Tune them out. There’s no need to explain, either. Do what’s most comfortable for you.

Make It a Time to Be Good to Yourself

In fact, this is a time for you to pamper yourself in a big way. Visit a spa, get a massage. You might even take a little trip if you can afford it – a retreat – where you spend time reading, reflecting and just relaxing.

Even a day trip is affordable for most. Take a daily walk in the fresh air, weather permitting. Exercise does wonders for our mood.

Spend Time with Close Friends

Plan some outings: a ballet, a concert, a movie. Cook dinner together. Spend time with people with whom you feel comfortable to be yourself. You don’t have to be alone all the time. Nor do you have to discuss how you feel about the holidays unless you want to and unless your companion is ok hearing it.

Reach Out to Others in Need

If you know someone who is grieving or battling a big disease, chances are they’re having a tough holiday, too. Call and make plans for a visit. Bring flowers, homemade brownies or a pretty card.

You’ll make their day brighter and sometimes, the act of bringing support or even cheer to someone else pumps our own endorphin levels up.

Make the Holiday About Giving to Others

Visit a nursing home with Christmas cards and notes for all residents. Dollar stores are great places to find inexpensive cards and it will certainly lift the spirits of residents.

Spearhead a holiday drive to provide sweatshirts and gloves or meals to the homeless, toys for children, blankets for animal shelters or help fill some other community need. Make it bigger than yourself by reaching out to friends, family and social media to get broader support.

Spend Time with Children

It’s hard not to be charmed by children’s innocence and joy at this time of the year. If you’re lucky enough to have grandkids, or grands of any kind, taking them on an outing during this time can be a real spirit lifter.

Adjust Your Expectations and Banish the ‘Myths’ Around the Holidays

There is no single right way to spend a holiday. Who knows, you may discover that you enjoy your redefinition of the holiday so much you’d want to do it again next year!

Make It Through the Day

Finally, if none of that appeals to you, just make it through the day the best you can. Sleep, watch videos, read a book. The day will soon be over.

How about you? Do you have any ways to deal with loneliness or depression during the holidays? Please share them in the comments below.

Carol CassaraCarol Cassara founded A Healing Spirit, where she offers supportive, encouraging products/services to those healing from illnesses and coping with grief. A lifelong writer, she spent 35 years as a corporate communications executive and many semesters teaching writing and business at universities.

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