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7 ways to cope with feeling lonely this Christmas
Christmas is usually a time where families and friends come together, have fun and celebrate the season. Though this year, with restrictions on things such as travel and a lack of social events, it’s going to be very different.
Many people won’t be able to spend time with their loved ones and may instead, be spending it alone. When you combine this with the fact 2020 has been a year of lockdowns and restrictions, the number of people experiencing feelings of loneliness this Christmas is likely to increase.
So, what can you do to help prevent feeling lonely this Christmas? We’ve come up with some tips and things to do to help keep you occupied and take your mind off being alone.
1. Head outside
If you’re feeling lonely, don’t just sit inside your bedroom. Even when you feel it is the only option and going out is the last thing you want to do, make the effort to get outside. If it’s just for a quick half an hour, aim to get out at least once a day. Getting out will give you something to get up and dressed for; instead of sitting in your pyjamas all day.
Whether it’s for a run, a stroll around the park or even a walk to the shops, you’ll feel like you have achieved something. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which triggers positive feelings and therefore can energise your mood.
By being out, you’re also more likely to see someone to have a conversation with too; which even just a short chat at the supermarket till, can go a long way to alleviate feelings of loneliness.
2. Volunteer in the community
If you have spare time over Christmas, why not see if there are any opportunities for you to volunteer and help in your community?
Knowing you’re helping others can make you feel good and have a positive impact on your wellbeing. It’s also a great opportunity to keep yourself occupied and meet and chat to new people; which can help to alleviate your own feelings of boredom and loneliness.
To learn more about any volunteering opportunities for organisations and groups in your local area, visit the do-it website.
3. Cook up a storm
Besides spending time with family and friends, food can be one of the best parts about Christmas. And just because you’re alone, it doesn’t mean you should go without a festive feast.
Plan your very own Christmas menu, ensuring you have all your favourite foods and ingredients. Where you can, cook and bake your own foods; as it can be a great form of meditation. It takes your attention away from everything else; allowing you to focus only on one thing.
Not only can baking be visually appealing, but it stirs up your other senses too. Touching and feeling ingredients (the gooeyness of dough or cake mixture), the smell of different ingredients being opened and cooked, and of course, the taste. Stimulated senses can then in turn increase your feel-good endorphins.
4. Get to know your neighbours
If you’re spending Christmas alone in your student accommodation this year, you won’t be the only one. So, why not get together with your neighbours and spend the time together?
As per the UK Government’s guidelines, you’re allowed to form a “Christmas bubble” with two other households between 23rd and 27th December. This means if you’re living alone in a Studio flat, you could mix with two other students also living alone for example.
You might feel a bit anxious about reaching out to other students in your accommodation and spending time with them if you don’t really know them. However, it’s a great opportunity to get to know one another and build your social network. And remember, if you’re feeling isolated and lonely, the likelihood is they are too.
5. Enjoy some ‘me’ time
If being on your own this Christmas is unavoidable, instead of feeling negative about it, why not try to embrace it? Plan a day for yourself and enjoy all of your favourite things.
Treat yourself to something new online, indulge in delicious food and treats and plan your Christmas TV and movie schedule. Everything will be up to you and what you want to enjoy; they’ll be none of the usual fighting over what to watch or who’s having the last of the treats!
6. Keep in touch with loved ones
Christmas is associated with family and friends coming together and this year should be no different. OK, so you might not physically be with them in the same room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time together.
Whether it’s through phone calls, messages or video calls, be sure to keep in touch with those closest to you. Staying connected will make a difference to how you feel and will allow you to keep some traditions going even if from afar.
If you’ve sent presents to family or friends, why not set up a group video call with them all? That way you can ‘exchange’ gifts and open them together at the same time. Do you always watch a favourite movie together as a family? Don’t let that tradition slip. Use Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) so you can all watch it and chat together at the same time.
7. Speak to someone
If you find yourself struggling with the isolation of being alone over the holidays, support is available. It’s important to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. We will still have staff on-site over the Christmas period so if you fancy a chat, pop down to reception and see them.
Alternatively, there are many charities out there who offer support; whether it’s via telephone, in person or even by message. Student Minds provide support specifically for students, but there are many more who can help too. Learn more about charities who can help here.
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Colchester Student Union is the place to go for advice, volunteering, sports, societies and just a 15 min cycle from 27 Magdalen Street.
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