You may wonder, “What’s not to love about this time of year?” After all, mixed with the season’s hustle and bustle is a renewed sense of kindness to our fellow man.
Feasts fill the tables, themed melodies consume the air and Christmas classics run 24/7 on televisions around the world. Tap or click to check out new streaming holiday movies and specials.
As friends and family gather in celebration, they delight in the sights and sounds the holidays bring; however, while revelers rejoice, there’s an outlook to the season not often recognized or discussed.
Loneliness, although not specific to the holidays, amplifies this time of year. If you feel alone or have a profound sense of isolation during the holidays, it is imperative you know many share this feeling.
According to a study by health care company Cigna, almost half of Americans “report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).” To help you maneuver through the last few weeks of the year, we have some tips and apps designed to address loneliness.
It’s not about being old
The idea that only the elderly suffer from solitude is wrong. Although studies show loneliness peaks as people enter their 80s and 90s, Cigna’s research indicates Generation Z (adults between the ages of 18-22) is the loneliest.
Explanations for these numbers are unclear; but what is certain is we lack a human connection. Even during the holidays and while surrounded by loved ones, some still feel isolated — regardless of age.
Not so jolly
Touted as the most wonderful time of the year and met with merriment from most, the holiday season brings about a sense of seclusion to some.
Common causes for the lack of joy may include:
- Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.
- Lack of sleep (tap or click here for a 2-minute guide on how to get better sleep)
- Loss of a loved one
- Financial worries
- Conflict with a family member or friend
- Inability to be with loved ones due to physical distance
Tips to help you cope with the holiday blues
While many feel a sense of melancholy and loneliness during the holidays, there are a few tips that may help you enjoy the season.
- Go back to the basics – Focus on what’s important to you.
- Set realistic goals for yourself and your budget.
- Get involved- Volunteer with an organization close to your heart .
- Be reasonable about what you can and can’t do.
- Join a Facebook support group like Lonely for Christmas, Lonely Angels, or Anxiety Stress & Panic Attack Support.
- Find free holiday activities.
- Shake up your old habits and try something new.
- Join a local meetup group.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Make time for yourself.
Apps that may prove beneficial
Although the following apps may be of use, please note they are no substitute for professional advice or assistance.
Daylio is a micro-diary app that helps you track your mood along with activities throughout your day. Over time you can identify your mood fluctuations and make adjustments. Reminders ensure you stay current with your journaling.
Daylio is a free (ad-supported) app and is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Whether you are battling stress, loneliness or anxiety, TalkLife has the supportive community you need. Any time, any day, you can reach out to someone to chat with either openly or anonymously. This free (ad-supported) app is available for both Android and iPhone.
Created by a team of doctors, scientists and engineers, Youper can help you monitor, gain insights and improve your emotional health. This app utilizes AI to personalize various techniques to fit your needs.
Although Youper is free (ad-supported), there is a premium (paid) version with additional features. Available for Android and iPhone.
Sanvello uses a variety of strategies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, to help you cope with anxiety and stress. In addition to video and audio exercises and activities, you will find a daily mood tracker, assessments and community.
Sanvello comes in two versions, a free (ad-supported) app option and as a premium, auto-renewing subscription. Compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Sometimes a good laugh can raise your spirits. Techniques used in Happify encompass positive psychology, mindfulness and CBT. This app takes you through “a track” based on your goals. Each activity and game provides practical tools and programs that can help you improve your emotional well-being.
This app has a variety of pricing tiers, including a free (app-supported) version. Happify is available for Android and iPhone.
While the holidays are the time to gather and celebrate with those you love, it’s OK if you don’t feel cheery. If you want to take a little time away from the festivities, it’s alright; however, if you or someone you know needs serious help, don’t be afraid to reach out.
If you reside in the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. For residents outside the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention, which is a database of available resources.