Holidays can be a very stressful time when you have a family around to share them with. They can be even more stressful when you are spending them alone. It’s so easy to feel left out, sad, and alone when everyone around you is paired up in couples or in family groupings.

Instead of giving in to the stress and depressing feelings, there are things you can do to make your alone-ness during the holiday season a positive experience. Whether you do things for yourself or for other people, there’s much about the holidays that can keep you from feeling alone in the world.

A little bit of planning and self-reflection can go a long ways toward creating a unique and stress-free holiday season. Here are a few ideas to consider if you are spending the holidays alone this year:

  1. Take a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. When you travel, there’s always something new to see. Being alone is okay, because you’re busy learning and doing new things. Even if you stay close to home or are only gone a few days, the break can be very refreshing.
  2. Volunteer to help others. Whether you read to children, visit the elderly in a nursing home, hand out food at a soup kitchen, or give of your time in some other way, you’ll quickly see that you have much to be thankful for. The people you help will appreciate you, as well.
  3. Be a blessing to as many people as possible. What can you do for that struggling coworker, the person who just missed his flight or someone else who’s alone during the holiday season? There are plenty of ways you can help people other than volunteering anywhere specific. Look for ways to help others wherever you go.
  4. Network with others who are also alone. If you can find a group of widows, divorcees, or others without family close to them over the holidays, get together with them. What starts out as commiserating may turn into a lot of laughs. Create great holiday memories that you can hang onto all year long.

woman in front of fire with hot chocolateEven when you have family and friends to spend the holidays with, it’s good to make some time just for yourself. Not only does it give you a chance to rest and recharge, spending time by yourself and learning to be happy in the quiet times of your life can help you move forward in understanding yourself and others. It also helps to reduce the stress of being around too many people if that’s something you’re not really used to.

Your time alone — whether by choice or circumstance — gives you that stress-free zone where you don’t have to worry about what others think, or about where you fit in the family dynamic. You can choose the celebration that best fits you and your lifestyle.

Putting a positive spin on being alone at the holidays is an empowering experience. When you choose a holiday celebration that fits who you are, you can embrace the season with joy and come out the other side feeling refreshed and ready for the new year. You will feel more confident with yourself, and with others, and have more to give back long after this holiday season is over.

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