For many reasons people may find themselves spending a lonely Christmas this year without their partners. This is one of the hardest periods of the year to face alone, especially as it is usually meant to be a time for friends and family to enjoy together. Although it is very difficult to get through, there are many techniques and strategies that can be used to make the festive season substantially more bearable. Creating a support group of friends and family who understand what you are going through and who are willing to be with you over this difficult time can, for example, help substantially. In many cases it is your own attitude that keeps you from making the most of the festive season. By approaching a lonely Christmas in the right frame of mind, you will find that it is suddenly far easier to deal with this sense of abandonment at a time when you should be with your partner and other people who you love.
Tip 1: Don’t Focus On Your Loneliness
Clearly this is easier said than done: it is very easy for someone who is not going through the same thing as you are to say that you shouldn’t wallow in your misery. However, although it may be hard to avoid doing this, it is something that you should really make an effort to achieve. If you can focus on something other than your loneliness:
- You will feel better about the situation as you will have something else on your mind
- Other people will be more willing to talk to you when they see you, which in turn will decrease your loneliness further (people do not tend to walk up to the most miserable person in the room and strike up a conversation)
There are many different ways to take your mind off your loneliness such as looking at funny memes about life. Go shopping with a friend or family member. If there’s no one to go shopping with, consider volunteering your services at Christmas charity service. The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting through Christmas without your partner is that you will be more miserable if you are alone, so you should, therefore, make an effort to find someone else to spend time with.
Tip 2: Surviving Family Time
Although you are encouraged to not spend Christmas alone if you find yourself without a partner, it may seem very difficult to face your family at a family gathering without your partner to join you. If you feel this way, there are two important things that you should remember:
- People aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think, and it is highly unlikely that they are judging you or pitying you to the degree that you think they are
- After a while, you will relax and probably start enjoying yourself, which will make a big difference in helping you survive the festive season
If you are one of the lucky people who actually has a family to lean on in this difficult time, take advantage of it. It may help to take a friend with you to any family gatherings that your family organizes as this could lessen the sting of being the only one there without a partner. Your absence will be more conspicuous than your presence and, in the long run, it will make you feel better to spend time with your family than to spend it alone at home.
Tip 3: Fill The Time Leading Up To Christmas
Christmas day is one thing, but you must remember that the entire festive season is likely to be difficult to bear without your partner this year. You therefore have to think about what you will do in the days leading up to Christmas to keep your mind off your loneliness. The best thing to do is to fill your time. This goes hand in hand with Tip 1: Don’t Focus on your Loneliness. You could, for example, get into to contact with some old friends who you haven’t seen in a while and invite them round. If you have other partner-less friends in your friendship circle, invite them over for dinner. Go to parties, spend time with family and think about starting a new hobby. If you get into the habit of not sitting around by yourself, it will be much easier for you to go to a family gathering and enjoy yourself, or to attend a friend’s Christmas party when the big day rolls round. This is basically a method about how to prepare yourself for facing a potentially, but not necessarily, lonely Christmas without your partner.
Tip 4: Make Yourself Feel Good
When you have no partner over Christmas the temptation is to start feeling worthless. This is simply not the case. In order to overcome this feeling you should find a way to make you feel good about yourself. Here are some suggestions:
- Although charities often have too many volunteers over the Christmas season, there will always be somewhere where you can offer a helping hand and focus your attention on the needs of others rather than on your own problems – this will go a long way to making you feel good about yourself.
- Depending on your reason for being without a partner, it may be a good idea to spend the money that you would have used on a gift for them to by yourself something – remember that the point of doing this is to treat yourself, so buy something that will make you feel good.
It is not selfish to focus a little more on yourself when faced with a lonely Christmas. In fact, it may be the best way to get through this very difficult period of time. It’s only one day of the year, so spend a bit of money on yourself.
Tip 5: Surviving A Lonely Christmas As The Only Single
Unfortunately you may find yourself as the only person without a partner at many Christmas parties. The way that you deal with this depends on how you feel. If you don’t mind being the only single person in the midst of couples, then there is nothing to worry about – go to any party that you want to. However, if you feel that you will be bothered or upset by being the only single person there, consider taking a friend with you to Christmas gatherings and parties, or perhaps arrange to do something else in a context where you will not be the only single person at the party. Have a clear idea regarding what your true feelings are in this matter. If you go to a couple’s party and realize that it does bother you to be the only single person there, think about leaving. However, if you do leave, make another plan as going home and sitting by yourself will only make you feel worse than you already feel. If you have been invited by a good friend to a party where you will be the only single, speak to them about how you feel so that they also understand.
Tip 6: Prepare Some Stock Answers For Those Nosy Relatives
Although being around family at Christmas goes a long way to easing the burden of being without your partner, nosy relatives can actually make things worse. Whatever your reason for being without your partner, nosy relatives will want to know what you plan to do while they are gone, or whether or not you will move on and find someone else. The question “How are you coping?” is possibly one of the worst to answer, especially when it gets asked by everyone all the time. It is a good idea to have some set answers ready. If you let these questions take you by surprise you will probably end up reacting in a way that you regret, either by exploding or by becoming sulky. Think about the people you are likely to see at Christmas and the questions that they are likely to ask you. Run through possible scenarios in your head and think about what you would say to them in each specific case. This will make the day much easier and will also get everyone off your back for quite a while thereafter.
Tip 7: Look On The Bright Side
It may seem trite, but it does help to look for the silver lining of being without a partner over Christmas. For example:
- You won’t have to agonize over buying the perfect gift for your partner, something which can be extremely difficult to do
- You won’t have to deal with the well known phenomena of questioning your relationship over this period (Christmas puts huge pressure on couples too, with 1.8 million considering divorce over the period (see here for divorce attorneys), according to Family Mediation Helpline)
Your specific situation may come with its own advantages.
There are many different reasons for being without your partner on Christmas, and in some cases no amount of ‘happy thinking’ is going to make the pain go away immediately. Even if emotionally you are still miserable, listing the advantages may help you cope on a practical level and can still, therefore, have a positive effect on your well being over this very stressful time. There is usually some silver lining to be found, which you will appreciate in the months and years to come if not immediately. Your mindset and approach to the problem will have a significant effect on your ability to cope with it.
Tip 8: Get Away From It All
Most of the previous tips have stressed the importance of being around other people over the Christmas season. However, this is a general article covering everyone who is without a partner over Christmas and that does not specify the reason for being alone. If, for example, your partner recently passed away in tragic and unexpected circumstances you cannot be expected to adjust in the same way as someone who broke up with their short-term boyfriend just before Christmas day. If the thought of spending time with friends and family is simply too much to bear, there is a chance that you are not ready for that and you should consider keeping the festive season to yourself. Get away from it all. Take a small holiday, even if you just go somewhere for the day. This can result on a new and useful perspective on life and your situation and can make a substantial difference to how you feel this lonely Christmas. Being alone is, in some cases, a better way to cope with the problem than being with other people, but it can also make the problem worse, so think carefully about what might be best in your situation.
Whatever method you choose for dealing with being alone on Christmas, you need to monitor the results. If what you are doing is really not working, try changing your strategy and approaching the problem from a different angle. If, for example, you’ve decided to spend your lonely Christmas with some old friends, but you realize that you’re not enjoying the party, excuse yourself and consider heading to your family or other friends instead. If you’ve surrounded yourself with people and realize that you can’t cope, leave and spend Christmas alone. If you find yourself missing companionship of any kind if you have chosen to spend the day alone, phone around and see if anyone still has room at their dinner table for one more. A bit of experimentation will probably be needed to discover what the best way is for you, personally, to avoid feeling extensively lonely over the Christmas period. Remember that, if you have children, they will also be feeling the effects of your partner not being there, so make sure that you put on a brave face for them and that you take their needs into account as well.