On your own for Christmas
Spending Christmas Day without loved ones can be depressing. Here’s how to keep your chin up.
If you’re spending Christmas alone, ironically you've got lots of company. Many people are either far from home, or their loved ones have died, or they've recently moved to a new place – not everyone is surrounded by scores of friends and family on 25 December.
So, what can you do to make this day easier for yourself?
Accept that you're on your own. There’s no need to beat yourself up about this. Most of us will spend at least one birthday or Christmas alone. Accept it and don't see it as a personal failure on a grand scale. Try to avoid getting depressed and stressed out.
Find someone else who's in the same boat. Even if this person isn’t entirely your cup of tea, it’s more cheerful to eat with someone than on your own on this day. Make the effort to invite this person – you can always split the cooking.
Volunteer at a charity, or at an old age home, or at the local hospital. There are institutions that are very busy on Christmas Day and who are operating on a skeleton staff. Everyone should be extremely grateful to you for your assistance. Try and organise this beforehand – do a bit of phoning around.
Avoid places that will depress you. Don't go to a restaurant where you’ll be confronted with large groups of family members. It will make you feel lonelier, not less lonely.
Book comedy DVDs in advance. Don’t watch grim thrillers on this day. Cheer yourself up and have a good laugh. There are also always good TV programmes on this day. Check the TV schedule.
Check local church activities. Many churches have services on Christmas Day. Even if you’re not particularly religious, go anyway. It will do you good to be surrounded by lots of people who are singing and happy.
Avoid being self-destructive. A drinking or food binge will only make you feel ill. This isn’t a day for self-destructive behaviour.
Earn some money. Caterers, cleaners and babysitters come at a very high premium over Christmas time. Find something that you can do, offer to help in some way, and make some money in the process.
This too shall pass. Accept that this day, even if it turns out fairly miserable, will come to an end. Two weeks later, you’ll probably have forgotten all about it.
Go for a walk. Find somewhere beautiful to go for a walk. An endorphin rush will do your mood a lot of good, and moping around at home definitely will not.
Phone a friend. Phone friends or family who are far away – this will cheer you up. If you have no one to speak to and you feel truly miserable, there's always a friendly voice at the end of the line at Lifeline, 24 hours a day. Call them on 13 11 14.
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