How to Still Feel Connected During the Holidays
The holidays are upon us, and while many eagerly anticipate this time of year, some people will find themselves feeling isolated and lonely. They may find themselves alone during this time of year for several reasons, and this can produce highly detrimental effects. Some of the risks associated with loneliness include an increased probability of cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, and depression. If you are finding yourself struggling with the effects of isolation this holiday season, here are some ways you can feel more connected with the people around you.
Call your loved ones
While it may seem obvious, calling your family and friends is often the simplest way to stay connected to them. You may be hesitant to call them, and this may especially be true if you are already lonely. People who are lonely are much more likely to experience cognitive distortions and negative perceptions about themselves. They may feel inferior, worthless, or that they lack social skills. If this sounds familiar, you may not wish to call or get into contact with the people you know, as you may feel that you are bothering them or that they do not want to hear from you. This is unlikely to be true, so make sure to reach out to your family and friends if you are feeling lonely, as you can still remain connected with them even if you are not going to be spending the holidays with them.
Make new friends
Lonely people are also less likely to make new friends. They may feel hypervigilance in terms of actual or perceived social threats, which can cause them to view others with suspicion. This may lead to more negative exchanges with others, resulting in increased feelings of loneliness, which can confirm the negative views they hold about others and themselves. As a result, they may reject the people around them causing a harmful cycle of worsening isolation. If this sounds like you, try coming out of your shell a little and exploring the possibility of making new friends to remain connected to if you cannot be around the people who are already in your life.
Focus on what makes you feel better
The holidays can increase the strength of our feelings across the continuum. While they can amplify feelings of anxiety or depression, they can also be a joyous experience for those who value connecting with family members and friends. If you cannot be around them, you can try to focus on the aspects of the holidays that you most optimistically associate with this time of year. For example, going through family albums or listening to holiday music. This can alleviate the stress you may be feeling if you are alone during the holidays. Just because you may be spending this holiday alone is no reason for you to ruminate on your loneliness.