How to cope with loneliness and loss this Christmas

Young woman looking upset

Christmas can be a wonderful time of year if you have lots of close family and friends around to celebrate with you, but if you’re alone, don’t get on well with your family or you’re generally feeling down it can be really hard.

You’re ‘supposed’ to be having a great time and everyone around you is ‘supposedly’ enjoying themselves and it seems like you’re the only one who isn’t and that can make you feel even more isolated.

I see clients all the time who really struggle at this time of year – and I can totally empathise with them.

For me, Christmas hasn’t been the same since my dad died. He passed away around this time, so every year is a stark reminder of his absence in our family.

He was always the one who came up with quirky party games and then forced everyone to take part. Even though his antics were always met with groans of resistance, we always ended up enjoying ourselves. I can still remember crying with laughter over a game he came up with that involved trying to pass each other peanuts with chopsticks. Since then no-one has really taken up that mantle from him.

Around the same time that my dad died, I was also dealing with the end of a long-term relationship – so there was loss all around me that year. I still remember how painful it was to be sitting in a room trying to be happy and festive but just being in pieces inside.

I tried to deal with it by keeping busy. When I didn’t have any plans with friends or family, I volunteered at a local charity. It helped to be around other people who were all focused on doing something useful together. I also went for counselling, which gave me a space to talk about and process my emotions. Time and talking were the things that helped me to move forward and deal with the pain I felt.

Get the support you need

If Christmas is a difficult time for you, talking to someone about how you feel can be the first step to feeling better. Having someone to listen to you is the greatest gift, because suddenly you don’t feel so alone with everything you’re feeling.

Remember that there are lots of people that are here to listen and who can offer you support. You can talk to your GP, or if you want to talk to someone face-to-face you can contact Relate MK on 01908 310010 or email to book an appointment.

Who else can help

If you’re feeling low and need someone to talk to, here are some other sources of support:

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