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Worried about Loneliness During the Holidays? Here’s how to cope

By December 7, 2020Blog

By Audrey Jaynes


The holidays are a difficult time for many, even without the shroud of a global pandemic looming overhead. While some might welcome a reprieve from familial pressures, others may feel isolated and uncertain about how to connect while also staying healthy and safe. We recommend following the CDCs guidelines when it comes to planning or attending holiday gatherings during the pandemic—but if changing traditions leaves you feeling lonely, here are a few ideas that may help:

Find new ways to connect


While the coronavirus pandemic has no doubt led to incredible suffering and loss, it has also forced us, individually and collectively, to reconsider whether old ways of being still serve us.

This year, try to see the upcoming holidays as a blank slate—a chance to do something different.

Take a moment to brainstorm what new rituals might allow you to find the connection you seek while protecting the health of yourself and your family. Perhaps you might organize a pie exchange, craft some homemade gifts, or take a holiday hike with the people you love. Nurturing relationships during the holidays might take a bit of creativity this year; the key is to look at this challenging time as an opportunity, rather than a burden.


Take a break from Social Media:


Studies show the social media can have a damaging effect on mental health.[1]

This is because most social media platforms are filled with people’s best moments, and any semblance of monotony, boredom, sadness, anxiety, or loneliness are completely absent. Seeing the people around us living seemingly picture-perfect lives can leave us feeing more isolated and alone.

When you feel the urge to scroll, try to understand what it is you are seeking.

If you’re craving connection, call a friend instead.

If you are looking for inspiration, try finding it in a book.

If you feel the urge for creative expression, start a project and try working on it for 10 minutes each day.

Remember, working to eliminate or cut down on old habits can leave an empty space, so make sure to find a new activity to replace the old one. In time, you may find yourself automatically reaching for your new hobby instead of Instagram.


Practice Self-Compassion


The past year has been challenging on a global scale, and to pretend otherwise would be dishonest. From health anxiety, to loss, to economic uncertainty and political upheaval—2020 has had it all.

Having a tough time doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, or that you need to try harder. In fact, being hard on yourself will only exacerbate the pain.

If you have moments where you’re feeling lonely, afraid or uncertain, don’t run from the feelings. According to self-compassion expert Kristen Neff, rather than ignoring your feelings or being critical or angry at yourself for having them, try putting your hand on your heart, breathing, and accepting the moment as it is. Offer yourself the same loving attention that you would a dear friend. It may sound hokey, but research shows that it works!

 If you are struggling with loneliness, anxiety or depression as the holidays approach, reach out today to learn more about how CBT can help you! Contact us at [email protected] or 646-650-2026

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