02 Dec Avoiding Loneliness Over the Holidays
is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. www.janfowler.com. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.
“Avoiding Loneliness Over the Holidays”
We all know that the pang of loneliness is most prevalent during the holiday season and that it helps to be with others to avoid that worrisome feeling of social isolation. As we observe others spending holiday time with family and friends, sometimes it’s all too easy to feel that we’re on the outside looking in, asking “Now why can’t that be me?”.
You are not alone, even though you may feelalone, because millions of people are also in the same boat.
So if you happen to be dreading feeling lonely this holiday season, I would encourage you to take the initiative yourself to arrange a joint celebration with friends, neighbors, students, and maybe fellow workers.
The best way to broach the subject with others is to be direct by simply asking, “What are you doing for the holiday?”, because invariably they will respond by asking you the same question. To which you can reply, “I haven’t made any plans yet. Would you like to get together?”
Or invite others to your own home to share a meal and holiday cheer. There are many people who might not invite you to their house for a holiday celebration because they don’t feel they have enough space, but they would gladly accept an invitation to come to your place.
And just in case you’d be willing to host a celebration yourself, potlucks are great because they take the back-breaking strain off giant food preparations plus expenses.
Sometimes people dread the holidays so much because they are reminded of lost loved ones that they take a trip and travel to a fun destination just to escape the pervasive feelings of sorrow which they fear might overcome them if they stayed at home.
Of course, eating a healthy diet, enjoying outdoor walks, and participating in group activities often help to offset depression brought on by holiday memories of days gone by.
Just make it a point to avoid the misery of spending the holiday alone. Don’t withdraw, even if it means that you find an opportunity where you can volunteer to help serve others by working at a soup kitchen where you can help cook, serve, or deliver food to those who are poor, ill, or low on resources.
Or even by organizing a gift drive. I assure you that there is always someone less fortunate than you to whom you can be a blessing.
And if nothing else, there are always countless patients in hospitals and nursing homes who would love to have a visitor stop in to brighten their day by offering to talk, sing, or read to them—not to mention bringing them the unexpected surprise of a small gift or holiday ornament.
When we brighten someone else’s day, we invariably brighten our own.
And if you yourself can’t seem to shake off feelings of holiday sadness, by all means speak to your doctor, who may very well prescribe antidepressants or counseling sessions with a therapist. If your sadness interferes with your ability to function, you might be wise to visit your local hospital emergency room.
And if dark thoughts prevail, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for needed help.
Holiday blessings to everyone!