At a time when many families are busy planning a warm Christmas holiday surrounded by loved ones, there are others who look toward the season with loneliness. Many childhoods sadly don’t have memories of Christmas that involve sharing laughter, love and gifts, or perhaps you just aren’t able to relive those memories this year.

Being alone during the winter season can be discouraging. Not only are you lonely, but it’s also freezing cold! That combination of factors can make anyone blue and it’s totally understandable if you’re at that point.

When planning your holiday, reflect carefully about the kinds of things that you might enjoy. Perhaps you could volunteer to help others or go away on a holiday so you aren’t around your home and have a lot of new sights to distract you. No matter what you choose to do, know that you have plenty of options if you’re alone over the holidays to counteract your feelings and bring some warmth to your inner hearth!

Try the following ideas to warm your heart and soul:

  1. Care for the homeless. If you check your local newspaper or watch a community channel, you’ll very likely find stories about shelters that are doing something special for the homeless this winter. Why not sign up as a volunteer and take part in the following ways:
    • Being a food server as homeless people come into a shelter for meals is one of the most inspiring, selfless things you can do.
    • Reading bedtime stories to children who seek refuge in a homeless shelter is a great way to bond with someone and open your heart to caring for another person. Many homeless children don’t know what it feels like to have someone care for them. Seeing their eyes light up with pleasure can bring you as much joy as it does them.
    • Taking some warm clothes to homeless people can be a heartwarming experience for you as well. Your generous act contributes to the comfort, health, and safety of those who might be in dire straits without your help.
  2. Donate to charity. If you’re not inclined to visit a homeless shelter, or if you don’t have the opportunity to do so, you could always make a meaningful donation to a charity of your choice. You won’t be directly involved in the lives of those you’ve contributed to, but your contribution will still be felt.
    • Make a meaningful cash deposit to the Salvation Army account.
    • Ship a box of fun toys and gifts, individually wrapped, to a local children’s home or women’s refuge.
    • Purchase tickets to a child-friendly tourist attraction, such as a theme park or animal rescue centre like a zoo, and donate them.
    • Many charities run Christmas shoebox appeals. You could fill one or more shoeboxes for disadvantaged children to receive a surprise this year.
  3. Take a vacation. There’s no better time to treat yourself to an exciting vacation than during a winter when you’re feeling lonely. Pick somewhere with lots of activities and allow yourself to be open to meeting other people who are perhaps wearing the exact shoes that you are. Wherever 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.
    • Go skiing in the mountains.
    • Spend a few days at a spa resort.
    • Visit a country you’ve always wanted to visit.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. You can celebrate the holiday in whatever way you choose when you’re by yourself. That’s very empowering, when you look at it from a positive perspective. What you do with your time will greatly affect how you feel over the holidays and into the New Year.

Alone Time Can Be Positive

It’s so easy to give in to those feelings of loneliness, but taking purposeful action to make your moments bright and memorable this winter will bring you the warmth you crave. Get a new lease of life in the cold of winter by using these simple to implement strategies!

Being alone over the holidays can be a positive experience. Instead of being sad and blue, you can find ways to stay happy, productive, and full of joy during the holiday season. 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.

When you’re spending time with others, remember that some alone can also be good for your mind and soul. 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. When you do that, you find peace easier than you would if you avoided dealing with your alone times.

It’s okay to feel lonely sometimes! It’s even possible to be lonely around a bunch of people, or to be lonely and happy at the same time. Loneliness is an emotion. You can acknowledge it as a natural human attribute and then work towards focusing on other things that are important to you to help distract you from the lonely feelings.

Your time alone, balanced with time spent with others, can lead to a full, rich life in which you’ll accomplish much. You’ll feel better about yourself and others and have more to give back, even during this holiday season.