For most people the holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, a time for exquisite food, gift-giving, and togetherness. This year many of us are fortunate to take a day or two off of work or school and spend some quality time with the important people in our lives. But for some us this holiday season will be time spent alone, perhaps due to limitations of money, distance, relationships, or other life circumstances. And while many of us will be gathered together in the warmth of friends and family, some of us may find ourselves resenting or even dreading this time of year. If you are one of many who will be spending the holiday season alone this year, do not fret. Although you may be alone there are still many ways in which you can use the holidays to be a time of great accomplishment, personal reflection, and relaxation. Here are some ideas on how you might use this time alone during the holidays to your advantage:
- Attend a choir performance or service at a local church. You do not have to be religious or even spiritual to appreciate the songs of the season, and most churches have free holiday concerts that are open to all. There is beautiful music in the air this time of year so why not go out into the community and enjoy it?
- Volunteer your time to helping at a food pantry, shelter, or other charitable organization. Although you might be alone this holiday there are many local men, women, and children who cannot even satisfy their most basic needs, let alone celebrate the holidays. You have something to offer so use this time as an opportunity to give to the community. Besides, prosocial work has been shown to have amazing positive effects on our moods.
- Make something. This may sound vague, but this is your chance to finally begin that hobby that you have been thinking about all year but for which you have never found the time. Construct a model. Prepare a meal you have never made before. Try your hand at stained glass or pottery. Write a short story. This can be a time for new beginnings and great creativity.
- Complete a project that you have begun or have been putting off for some time. It is difficult to find the time during our busy schedules to attend to those tasks that might take more than just a few minutes, so use your time wisely.
- Stay in and have a movie, book, or T.V. marathon. Why not order take-out and watch a few movies or catch up on that series you started watching several months back? Brew some coffee and read an entire book if you like. Listen to a little music, relax, and be lazy. This is after all a holiday so feel free to treat it like one.
If you are planning on spending the holidays by yourself this year remember that being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely. There are many ways to use the season as a time for giving, productivity, and reflection, even if you do not have friends or family nearby. If you are having difficulty with stress, depression, or anxiety related to the holidays remember that there are always counselors available at Village Counseling Center who are happy to help you.