Can we just start off by saying that 2020 has seriously changed how we’ve done virtually EVERYTHING? The way that we shop is different, the way that we get together with our friends and family is different, and the way that we celebrate the holidays will probably be different, too.

The reality is that a ton of us may find ourselves spending the holidays alone for a ton of different reasons. We get busy with work, or our family is far away, or there is a global pandemic that prevents us from seeing one another. Regardless of the reason, having to navigate a season that we typically spend with others on our own can be super tough (and, you know, can downright suck).

Also read: 10 Ways to Prioritize Self-Care During the Holidays

Being Alone vs Loneliness

Before we get too far into loneliness over the holidays, let’s start with the difference between being alone and loneliness. Being alone is the physical state of being by yourself, whereas loneliness is a feeling. People sometimes use the terms interchangeably, but the two don’t necessarily need to go hand-in-hand. You can be in a room filled with people and still feel lonely, or you can be alone and feel totally complete. We have to remember that there can be a ton of contributing factors that go into our feelings, so it’s really important that we dive deep into what it is we’re feeling and why it is we’re feeling that way.

For example, a lot of us probably feel like the holidays are all about the people we love the most, which can make spending them alone feel extra lonely. And since this year already feels so challenging for so many of us, it’s extra important to really dive into our needs in an attempt to make this time alone feel less lonely. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to deal with loneliness over the holidays.

5 Ways to Deal With Loneliness Over the Holidays

1. Reach Out

This holiday season is going to look different for a lot of us, and it’s okay to talk to your family and friends about being disappointed about missing out on the festivities. If you are feeling lonely, reach out to the people you love and typically see. Talk about your favourite holiday memories or past traditions, or your individual plans this year, or simply remind one another that you are doing the right thing. Sometimes hearing how someone else is feeling can help to remind you that you are not alone and to work through your own feelings.

2. Carry Out Your Traditions

Even though we may be apart, try to carry out some of the traditions you do with your family and friends. Decorate your space, bake your favourite goodies, watch your favourite movies – try to do some of the things you would normally be doing with others. Try to make the holidays feel as normal, special and holiday-like as possible.

3. Get Creative

Living in such a digital world means we can easily connect with virtually anyone from virtually anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. Get creative with how you see people – ship gifts instead of delivering them in person, have meals over Zoom or arrange a time to decorate together over FaceTime. They may not be the typical, run-of-the-mill holiday traditions you know and love, but you may find that they help to ease the loneliness a little.

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4. Create New Traditions

As cheesy as it may sound, at one point, the traditions we follow were nothing more than a thought in our minds. Sometimes it can feel more difficult to try to hold onto something as opposed to looking at the new opportunities. When we can’t do the things that we may want to do, focus on the things we can still do. Create new traditions with the things you have today.

5. Connect with Others

Let’s face it, the holidays are looking a little different for a lot of us. The fact of the matter is that if you are feeling this way, chances are that someone you know is going through it as well. Depending on the rules in your area, as well as your own risk factor, see if there is a close friend that you can bubble with for the holidays. If that is not an option for you, try ordering in from the same restaurant and having a FaceTime or Zoom hangout.