We all need to feel connected to others. We are naturally social and feeling connected to others helps us to feel happier and can make us healthier.
We can all feel lonely sometimes but especially if we have lost a loved one, been through a relationship break up, have moved to a new area or suffer from health issues which can isolate us.
If you find yourself feeling lonely, you’re actually not alone – it’s thought that over 9 million people in the UK are often or always lonely. Nearly half of Brits only socialise with family and friends once a month or less and nearly 1 in 10 never meet socially with friends, colleagues or relatives.
Many people feel even lonelier at Christmas, including almost 1 million older people, because it can be a very difficult time for those who have lost loved ones or live away from their family. But, did you know that younger people who feel more lonely than those in later life?
We often feel worse at Christmas because we’re bombarded with adverts of smiling couples and close-knit families.
What to do if you’re on your own at Christmas
If you haven’t chosen to spend the Christmas holidays alone and you’re daunted by it, have a think about what you would like to do and think of the day as an opportunity to do the things you enjoy the most. If you need some inspiration, here are some of our tips:
- Make a plan of activities
Schedule your time and fill out your day with different activities you enjoy. You might decide to read a book you’ve wanted to read for ages, watch your favourite series or movies, take a long bath and play your favourite computer games. If you feel full of energy, you could sign up for a park run or go for a walk.
- Get involved
If you feel social and want to get involved in new activities. Why not take a look on meetup.com and find details of Christmas events taking place in your area?
- Make it special
Christmas is a time to indulge. Treat yourself to your favourite drink, food or snacks so you can have a few of your favourite things on the day!
- Get together
If you know other people who are also spending Christmas alone you could suggest that you go out as a group, even just for a drink at your local, or organise a get-together at someone’s house where each person brings part of Christmas lunch.
- Join in!
If you have a Twitter account, you can take part in Sarah Millican’s annual #JoinIn Campaign and talk to others who want to be sociable on Christmas Day. Meeting people online can be a great place to start!
- Give back
You could consider volunteering at a local homeless shelter or for a befriending service such as Silverline. Volunteering can be a great way to meet like-minded people and it can be incredibly rewarding. Visit Do-it.org to see where your nearest volunteering opportunity is or look into volunteering for the Community Christmas event for older people.
- Get away
Alternatively, if you can, could you go and visit a friend? Or if you can afford to, why not book a break and go away somewhere nice for a few days? This will give you something to look forward to and new festive memories to look back on. Or, have you ever thought of becoming a house sitter? You can also take a look at different social travel apps which help you connect with like-minded people wherever you’re travelling to.
Christmas on your own, particularly the first one, can be really hard. If you’re finding it daunting, have a chat to a friend or family member and let them know how you feel.
Support at Christmas
If you’re worried about being lonely at Christmas time, you can find out our helpline opening hours and where to get support here. We’re here for anyone who works (or has worked) in the automotive industry, or you are dependent on someone who is.
Worried about someone else?
Are you worried about someone else who is lonely? Then read our top tips.