Help Yourself or Your Spouse Combat Sadness With One of These Simple Suggestions
The air is brisk. The grocery stores are bustling with shoppers. The Amazon driver is becoming very familiar with his routes. Ha! Most people are busy planning their annual gatherings with friends and family. It’s obvious the holidays are approaching rapidly.
Despite the cheerful hustle and bustle, it’s not surprising that many experience loneliness during this time of year. This could be you, and it could be due to a variety of reasons—a loved one passed away this year, you’re newly married, so you aren’t home with all your siblings, and the holidays are different, you’re now an empty nester, and it’s not the same with your kids off at college, you’re experiencing seasonal depression—whatever the case may be, it’s completely normal if you find yourself a bit sad during the holidays.
If you’re struggling with loneliness this holiday season, know that it’s OK, and you’re not the only one. First, acknowledge and accept your circumstances, and then, be kind to yourself and choose to be intentional in how you engage with yourself, your spouse, and your friends and family. Below are 12 tips to help you cope with any loneliness or sadness you’re experiencing this year.
1. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Certainly, you can rattle off things or people you’re thankful for despite your current circumstances—your spouse, your home, food on your table, a comfortable bed to sleep in. Focusing on what you’re thankful for keeps your mindset positive, and it helps you see the good in others.
2. Honor those you miss.
If you don’t already, find a way to honor those you miss like hanging an ornament that reminds you of them or participating in a tradition that brought you joy when they were here.
3. Get physical.
It’s dark and cold, and it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to stay in. But, bundle up with your honey, fill up cups of cocoa, and walk your neighborhood together to look at the lights. Or, participate in a pottery or painting class. Getting moving can help to stir joy within you.
4. Give back.
It’s easy to focus on your own set of negative circumstances. But, remember others are experiencing pain, too. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or purchasing gifts for those who may not receive any.
5. Rely on your spouse.
This seems obvious, but lean on each other during this time. Be patient with each other. Encourage, and lift each other up. Reframe your thoughts to know that you’re in this season together, and you can use the other to lean on.
6. Reframe your expectations.
The holidays are bound to look different year after year. This doesn’t mean they’re bad; they’re simply different. Reminisce about past holidays, and give yourself grace when your expectations aren’t met because circumstances have changed.
7. Be kind to yourself.
If you’re feeling sad and lonely, being negative towards yourself certainly won’t help. Be kind to your spirit and the season you’re walking through.
8. Treat yourself to something special.
It’s OK to gift yourself something you’ll enjoy—a massage, a new outfit, a nice meal. Material goods and experiences aren’t a quick fix, but you can certainly treat yourself to something special to help lift your spirits.
9. Guard against anticipating the worst.
Sometimes, just entertaining the thought that the season, gathering, event, etc. is going to be rough can make it more difficult than it would be. Guard your heart and mind from negativity.
10. Reach out to a friend.
If you know someone experiencing a similar situation to you, or you have a close friend you can confide in regardless, reach out. Talking to and leaning on others for encouragement can be extremely helpful.
11. Start a new tradition.
Combat your sadness by picking a new tradition to partake in. Whether it’s something you do with your adult children, since they’re not little anymore, or something you can do with just your spouse to liven your spirits, find a new way to engage with the holiday season this year.
12. Ask for help.
Of course, if you’re having a particularly difficult time dealing with loneliness, we encourage you to seek professional help when needed.
In the chaos of the season, it’s easy to forget that some people are lonely. If you know someone who will be alone for the holidays, invite them into your circle. And, if you’re experiencing loneliness, know that it’s OK. Try utilizing some of these simple suggestions above to help you navigate the season ahead of you. You may find a special joy you never imagined possible.