Christmas can be a tricky time for plenty of people; those who don’t have family to spend time with, those who have to be apart from their family due to work commitments or others who’d simply rather ditch the traditional festivities and celebrate solo.
Not everyone chooses to be around as many people as possible at Christmas time. Sometimes spending Christmas alone just feels easier.
There’s also a very real possibility of testing positive for Covid, which may force you to celebrate the festive season in isolation.
But whatever your situation, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely and the first step could just be acknowledging that this year may be tough.
“Actually, it’s okay if you feel down about it,” says Rosie Weatherley, Information Content Manager at Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity.
“It’s helpful to acknowledge difficult feelings when they come up – feeling disappointed, sad or upset are all entirely understandable responses to what’s happened this year, and what we’re facing over Christmas. Pretending everything’s fine when you don’t feel that way isn’t useful – and it can make us feel worse.”
Long before we even knew what Covid was, Mind found that 25 to 34-year-olds were twice as likely as people aged 65 and over to have no one to spend Christmas with.
And, because they know that spending Christmas alone can be a super tough reality for many, the charity has compiled a list of useful tips on their website about how to celebrate – or skip – Christmas according to how you feel, this year.
Switch up your traditions
Remember, traditions are inherently adaptable and if you’re spending it alone, you get to choose the ones you like best.
Letting go of old habits in a positive way can be really liberating. That could be as simple as: ‘Do you know what? I don’t really like turkey, I’d much rather have ham!’ Giving yourself permission to have the Christmas you want, can feel really great.
Self-care is key
If there’s one thing we’ve learned the past couple of years, it’s the importance of self-care. Having a really decadent bath or shower – using your poshest toiletries, your best towel, your nicest fragrance – can be a really uplifting way to start the day and a great alternative to getting dressed up for the festivities.
Eat like a queen
Picking out your food for the day in advance is a great way to lift your mood. Again, choose all of your favourites and don’t not worry too much about whether or not it’s a ‘proper’ Christmas menu.
If you love milkshake, curry, or apple crumble – go for it!
Include 5 easy ways to wellbeing
1. Physical activity and access to nature: Stroll around the neighbourhood or the local park.
2. Connection with others: Make time for a video call with a pal.
3. Take notice: A meditation exercise, mindfulness or yoga.
4. Learning: Dig into a new book.
5. Giving: If you can’t be there to give gifts, leave a nice review of a business or product you appreciate.