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Alone on Holiday – A Survival Guide

Some people unfortunately have little choice in the matter – things like work responsibilities, living away from loved ones, and global pandemics, make being alone at this time a sad inevitability.

Did you know that in Japan, eating KFC is a Christmas tradition? That’s right – KFC. As in Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Weird, huh?

Well no, not really. That’s just Christmas in Japan. How the festive season is celebrated varies from country to country, from culture to culture.

If there is one feature of Holiday time that we can say is fairly common across cultures, it is the sense of community and togetherness it brings. In the west especially, being around family and friends is considered a key part of the festive experience.

Some people unfortunately have little choice in the matter – things like work responsibilities, living away from loved ones, and uhh, global pandemics, make being alone at this time a sad inevitability.

And the reality is that during your lifetime, there are simply going to be years where Holiday isn’t a magical communal affair. There are going to be Holidays’ where it’s you, a small tree, and lots of silence.

The question is: what are you suppose to do when others are not around?

I’ve got you covered. Here are some tried and tested coping strategies to get you through that lonely holiday season (that aren’t just crying  in different rooms ):

Power Down

If you’re like most people on this spinning rock of madness we call earth, then there’s a good chance you’re either working too much, are overstimulated, or are deprived of sleep (and if you’re lucky, all three!).

In that case, having no one around may well a blessing. What you actually need is a 72 hour pajama marathon. You need to get under the covers and enter slumberland until that energy bar has returned to full. Build a blanket den, if you must.

What’s worse than loneliness? Being lonely and tired. Get some shut eye, friend.

Power Up!

Laying around in your underwear as days blend into one another, is eventually going to start feeling terrible. We’ve all been there, a few hundred times.

At some point you’re going to want to move, and get some blood in your legs (it’s useful to sometimes remind your brain you have legs).

Getting ahead of the new years resolution curve and beginning a Christmas exercise regimen, is a great way to manage loneliness. Not only is it reliably distracting, but the increase in dopamine levels will make you feel like ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Want some ideas? Running, yoga, swimming, bouldering, becoming a terrifying powerlifter with giant slabs of muscle everywhere – there are many options.

Should that all sound a bit much, then simply going for a long walk can do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Stay Off Social Media

If there is one thing that’ll compound that awful feeling of isolation during the Christmas period, it’s spending too much time on social media.

You know how it goes – all your peers grinning at the camera and clearly having THE BEST TIME EVER with their loved ones.

Even though you’re well aware by now that it’s all a touch manufactured (the photo didn’t include that huge squabble 30 minutes earlier), it’s often still enough to make you feel like you’re the loneliest person in the universe.

The obvious treatment for such despair is to STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Really, it’s a lesson that could be applied to every day of the year, but it becomes especially pertinent when you’re alone during the festive season.

A fair contention to such advice would be that social media does help many people stave off loneliness. In which case, it would behoove you to simply stay away from the platforms that are photo-heavy, and offer little in the way of community. (i.e. the one that begins with ‘F’ and the one that begins with ‘I’.)

Lose Yourself In Hobbies

So there is no one around to give you company (or give you a foot rub, or feed you, or stroke your hair while you drool yourself into a post-xmas dinner coma). Yeah, it’s a bummer.

Instead of staring into space and feeling sorry for yourself, why not use the time to tackle that passion project you’ve been wanting to do? The universe has gifted you a big chunk of free time – it’s your responsibility to do something productive with it (at least some of it, anyhow).

If your only hobby is socialising, then you’ll need to start a new one. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a book/blog- Learn an instrument
  • Write a multi-platinum best-selling album
  • Knit a jumper with ‘I’m Not Lonely!’ emblazoned on the front.

What do all of these hobbies have in common? They are completely solitary activities. Perfect.

Watch All  Seasons of the Squid Game!

Alright, screw sleep. To hell with hobbies. The exercise routine can wait.

You have a Netflix subscription, and exactly 8 days of eerie nothingness.

See you on the other side, square eyes.

(Please remember to eat, shower, and go outside occasionally.)

Better Call Somebody

Being all alone during the festive period may be too much for you to handle, and there’s absolutely no shame in admitting that.

Fortunately we’re not living in the year 1759, and there are ways to connect with others when they aren’t physically near.

Calling a family member or loved one for a chat, is a loneliness remedy like no other. Though being without human contact isn’t entirely healthy, much of the distress of loneliness comes from spending too much time in your own head.

Just talking to your Mom or Zooming with a friend, can quickly pull you out of that self-pity hole, and allow you to get on with more positive activities (like knitting that epic jumper).


Where you once alone on Holiday? Please share your experiences here in the comment section below

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4 Comments

  • Although I’m in Asia, but I also have a little influence on Western style, in the near future I will celebrate Christmas alone. and in more than 1 month I will celebrate Tet with my family, I think I should make this year’s Christmas more meaningful and active even when I’m alone after reading your post. Thank you very much.

  • Good advice. I was just joking with a friend who recently had a pajama day. In fact, she says she looks forward to pajama days. The holidays can be depressing when you’re alone but that doesn’t mean you have to be bored. Your blog is a gentle reminder of how important it is to reach out to those around us whether they’re friends or family.

    • Yes sure holiday could be depressive when you’re alone but like what I have said, we are now in the 20th century where technology advanced as such a high speed that communicating with our friends and loved ones through phones and computers are no longer a luxury but more of a norm. So, I don’t think that it is really that hard anymore to be alone on holiday at this time 🙂

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