What to do if you’re feeling lonely this Christmas

Whether you're worried about a friend, or feeling unhappy yourself this Christmas, might you spare us a minute to read this? Thank you.

As Christmas and assorted seasonal festivities commence, we just wanted to have a word for anyone who isn’t looking forward to the next week or two in particular. For those who are: our very warmest wishes to you. We suspect the world has you pretty much well catered for over the coming days, and may the best of the season be with you.

For those aren’t: well, can you spare us a couple of moments?

Society, it seems, has a way of labelling people who don’t get into the Yuletide spirit as killjoys, or party poopers. The problem there is that society doesn’t tend to know the story underpinning why someone may not be looking forward to this time of year. Society doesn’t always get that there may be a sense of loss, a sense of emptiness, a feeling of real loneliness and unhappiness that can feel particularly acute right about now. It’s not just about not wanting to listen to Noddy Holder on loop. It’s often a sense of real dread, or even just a tingling of unhappiness.

Well, we don’t think those of us on the other side of Christmas are party poopers or killjoys. We’d go for a desription of them as human beings going through tricky times that others around them may not see or appreciate.

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With that in mind, this post just has a few thoughts of things to do if this time of year is of a particular challenge to you. Not everything will apply to you, but hopefully something here may help.

Firstly, try and talk to someone. Try and open up a little. It might be a friend you trust, a family member, maybe even giving the Samaritans a tinkle. You don’t have to tell anyone your life story if you don’t want to. Just tell them you’re struggling. It may not seem it, but even the people around you who appear to be brimming with confidence don’t have a perfect life. Human beings come with insecurities as part of their default factory settings.

If possible, try just going out for a walk. We’ve heard this a lot from people this year, that breaking out of sitting at home, moving your body and getting fresh air can be a real help.

How about, too, just popping a comment down below? The cliché of the internet is that comments boards are anonymous, and robotic. Not ours. You don’t have to use your real name, but please know that every comment down there is written by a real human being. A small thing, perhaps, but if someone says hello back to you, it’s not automated. It’s because someone chose to say hello back.

If you’re feeling a little more than a tingle of loneliness, and even if you aren’t, there’s a whole bunch of organisations that are on hand, and keen to offer support and help. We can’t stress this enough: you don’t need to be anywhere near the end of your tether to get in touch with any of these. Even if something feels just a little off, have a think about getting in touch. Left unchecked, something that feels a little off now may feel a whole lot worse a year or two down the line.

Here are but a few of the many wonderful organisations out there, who are keen to help.

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YOUNG MINDS is dedicated to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Parents concerned about their youngsters can call 0808-802-5544. Here is its website.

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, aimed at young men feeling unhappy. It has a web chat service, and freephone phone lines. You can find its website here.

MIND is an organisation that aims to make sure nobody has to face a mental health problem by themselves. You can find its website here. The MIND infoline is 0300 123 3393.

SANE does amazing work too in battling the stigma that seems to go with mental health. Between 6pm and 11pm, you can give them a call on 0300-304-7000. They welcome calls from anyone affected in any way at all by mental illness and challenges. Here is SANE’s website.

It’s an old cliche perhaps to call a Samaritan, but then THE SAMARITANS do such wonderful work. You can talk to them around the clock on 116 123, a freephone number in the UK and Ireland. Or drop an email to jo@samaritans.org – you’ll get a reply within a day or two.

THE DEPRESSION ALLIANCE can help those around you gain a better understanding of what depression is, and how it affects you. It has a directory of support groups around the country, here. It’s merged with MIND, but for the minute, has a separate website.

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PAPYRUS is a group that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal. You can call them on 0800 068 4141.

If you’re dealing with a bereavement, or struggling with grief, then CRUSE Bereavement Care can be found here.

If you’re struggling with a relationship, then RELATE is a great organisation. You can find it here

We post these links a lot, too, but for those worried about a friend, a relative, or someone they know, The Samaritans has two excellent posts that use far better words than we could cobble together here. There’s what to do if you’re worried about someone, and how to start a difficult conversation.

Folks, you all stay safe. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and if you’re a Time Lord, whenever you are, we hope that the next week or two manages to find you a smile somewhere. Perhaps even some real happiness. Please know that we’re rooting for you.

Big hugs to you all. Take care x

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