The holidays are a time of merriment and fellowship. These days are filled with events and activities that gather family and friends together. However, they can also be bittersweet. For some people, being with family and friends isn’t possible. Celebrating the holidays or favorite traditions is a little different, because of being apart. This distance could be due to living in various places, inability to travel, sickness, or other reasons. It can also lead to many emotions and a feeling of disconnectedness with the holidays. During this time of the year, emotions are already higher, because of the sentimental value of the holidays, but being alone or not celebrating with a certain person or group of people can put a negative spin on the festive days.
Yet, there are still ways to honor these days and moments, helping to make them just as memorable and positive. If you find yourself missing family or friends, try these ideas to help:
- Facetime and Honoring Your Traditions Virtually
This is a fairly common strategy that is used by thousands of people, and facetiming with your loved ones is a wonderful way to feel connected. Don’t just video chat on the important days, but include some traditions. Maybe you are both making Christmas cookies and facetiming or watching your favorite movie together. By completing the same activity at the same time, the distance between the two of you will be a little less farther away. Other traditions could include opening presents virtually.
Needs within the community increase during the months of November and December. Nonprofits and charities are always looking for volunteers to help spread Christmas cheer. Take some time and spend it assisting at your local food bank or Salvation Army. Another way to volunteer is delivering food to an elderly neighbor, calling someone who doesn’t have family in the area, or making holiday cards for a local nursing home. Through volunteering and giving back, your holiday spirits will rise.
- Hosting a Party with Your Friends in Your Area
Throw a gathering with the friends you have in your area and create new memories. Host a fun, festive dinner or assemble everyone for a cooking challenge. You may not be with your family, but friends can turn into family. If you don’t have any friends within the area, it is completely fine to spend time with yourself still doing holiday activities. Don’t be afraid to celebrate a version of the traditions you know from home.
- Focus on Yourself
Being alone can be lonely and isolating. Instead of focusing on the holidays, focus on yourself. Take part in self-care activities and meditate. “Treat yo’ self” with a massage, journal, downtime, or a gift. Be intentional and slow about what you choose to do, no matter if it is holiday-related or not. While distractions are important, make them meaningful. Commit to activities you want to do and that will make you happy. Be careful not to overcommit yourself to work or other activities that take your energies away from yourself. Don’t rush through the days and give yourself plenty of grace time. Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to loved ones far away, if needed. They may also be feeling the strain of the distance between the two of you and will have a compassionate ear. At the end of the holiday season, it is better to recharge and connect with yourself than to be emotionally drained from trying to overcompensate for what you are missing.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings and Give Yourself Time
Part of focusing on yourself is also acknowledging how you are feeling and giving yourself time to process those emotions. One mistake many people make is trying to make the holidays feel and look like what they think they should be like, instead of focusing on the reality. This fake happiness can be toxic and detrimental. Don’t be afraid to take a break from the holiday festivities and regain your mental wellbeing by creating new traditions that you can enjoy. You could even look forward to sharing these new traditions with your family when you are able to share the holidays in person again.
The holidays are a fun, but hard time, especially if you can’t be with your loved ones. By using these strategies, your holidays will be more festive, less stressful, and you may just end the year a stronger person.