Whether through choice, death, or simply logistics, some find themselves alone during the holidays. While quite a few feel depressed due to this circumstance, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some suggestions to not just survive the holiday season, but to thrive!
1.) Volunteer. There are so many wonderful organizations that are in desperate need of volunteers. Volunteers can volunteer with babies, children, teens, adults or older adults or animals. If someone doesn’t want to volunteer face to face with strangers, there are plenty of behind the scenes ways to volunteer, i.e. administrative tasks. Here is just a short list of organizations to chose from: Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Animal Shelters, Homeless Shelters, Political causes, and so much more. In Orlando, there are literally hundreds of charities that could use more volunteers. Volunteering and giving of ourselves is the best way to feel better. Additionally, new relationships will be created, and suddenly, one might find a social calendar teeming with new friends and activities.
2.) Ask. Most of us (not all, but most) have extended family that we could chose to be with during holidays. If your extended family doesn’t invite you to join them, (because they likely assume you already have plans), why not ask if you can join them? They will most likely say “yes” and perhaps apologize for not thinking to ask themselves.
3.) Remain active. Exercise/movement is especially important during the holiday season. We need sunlight, and getting outside to take a walk, go for a run, or a bike ride can help us feel better.
4.) Faith. Faith is huge. As a Christian, I could fill my entire calendar with my church’s activities alone. Some people don’t have a church, and there are various reasons for that. Churches are made up of fallible human beings (to borrow from Dr. Albert Ellis.) If you didn’t have a positive experience at one, you can try a different one. There are seeker friendly churches, churches that go more into depth, and “high” churches. Is your family from another country? There are Greek churches, Romanian churches, etc. What a great way to connect to your heritage and create some new relationships. If you live in a metropolitan area like Orlando, FL, every denomination represented. There are even churches which meet on our beaches! It can be fun to visit every single denomination, learn their differences, and discover where you feel comfortable. Faith – believing in something greater than ourselves – can be incredibly powerful, healing, and fill us with Joy because we believe we are never alone.
5.) Grief. If you find yourself alone due to loss of a loved one, and find yourself grieving, it’s important to talk about it. Holding it in, ignoring it, and hoping it will subside may make those feelings worse. Call your local Hospice and find out what groups they offer for grieving family members. Hospice typically runs many groups for children and adults who are grieving. They also tend to be free of charge.
Of course each of these can be expounded upon and take hours to discuss. These tips are meant to stimulate thought and give some quick ideas as to how to potentially fill up your holiday season, brighten it, and thrive this year.
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About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (2001) and Nationally Certified Counselor (1999.) Mrs. Peddie-Bravo is the founder and owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC. For more information or to arrange a brief complimentary appointment, please call 407-222-6239. http://www.TheBravoCounselingGroup.com