Are You Feeling Sad and Lonely This Holiday Season?

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

The Holiday season is a wonderful time to visit family and friends, celebrate traditions, make new memories, and laugh and smile with ones you love. It’s a time to celebrate the start of a new year, and a fresh start. It’s a time of year when we’re supposed to be joyous, full of hope, and loved by others.

But what happens when that’s not the case?

The Holidays don’t always play out like a good movie, try as we might. This time of year can make us feel even more sad and lonely than ever before. We know what the Holidays are supposed to look and feel like — and when our reality differs from that — well, that can be especially tough.

This time of year can be a harsh reminder of a broken family or relationships, a loved one who is no longer here, or that we’re not in a place we’d like to be financially, emotionally, or spiritually.

Life is full of joy and beautiful moments. It’s also full of challenges and times of sorrow. And just because it’s the Holidays, it doesn’t mean that the challenges and times of sorrow magically go away. Social media can make it seem like this time of year is full of nothing but joyous and beautiful moments — when the reality is often far from that.

If social media is making the Holidays especially tough for you, consider taking a break for a while. Find other activities you can do besides looking at the heavily curated lives of others. Those perfectly curated photos usually only tell half of the story. And if someone is overly posting during the Holidays, it might be because deep down they’re actually really hurting.

If you’re someone who struggles with depression, the Holidays can be especially tough. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to reach out and get help from others. Consider making that phone call to see a therapist for the first time. If you already go to therapy, consider making a few extra appointments to talk about things.

If you need to, talk to a psychiatrist and see what treatments are out there. Lean on those friends who know you best and let them help you get through this. Do you have certain things you do when you’re feeling sad and lonely during other times of the year? Keep doing those things, and do them more often.

If you’re struggling this Holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself. When you’re experiencing pain and sorrow, be kind to yourself. Reminder to love yourself and do the things that will take care of your mind, body, and soul. No one thing will help everything, but doing several small things can combine to make a huge difference.

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and moving your body. If family or friends email or call, make sure you return the favor.
  • If you need to talk with friends, carve out time to meet up with them. Or, if you just need some alone time, don’t be afraid to take it.
  • If things feel especially overwhelming and you need to cry, then be kind to yourself and let yourself cry. Crying can be so healing and therapeutic and freeing.

Practicing gratitude and giving back is a great way to boost your mood and help you get through the Holidays.

I like to make a list of things I’m grateful for and put them in a place where I pass every day. You’ll be surprised at how much you have to be grateful for once you make a list. Add a list of things and people you’re grateful for, and watch how a smile spreads across your face the longer the list gets.

Once you make your list, look at all the people on your list. Once a day during the Holidays, tell someone on that list how much they mean to you, and how grateful you are for them. Send them a text, an email, or FaceTime them and let them know. It’s guarantee to make your day and theirs.

There are so many to give back, and the Holidays are an especially good time. Find a place where you can go volunteer, maybe at a soup kitchen, or help at a toy drive. Giving back to others reminds you of what the Holidays are about, and that there are other people in need. Giving back can make you feel good about helping others and take your mind off feeling sad and lonely.

The Holidays can be a wonderful time, full of joy and laughter. It can also be a time of sadness and loneliness. If you’re feeling sad and lonely this Holiday season, that’s ok. It’s perfectly normal. Remember to take care of yourself if you’re feeling this way. Relax, meditate, or go to therapy. Be with friends, or give yourself some space.

Remember that social media just shows people’s perfectly curated lives — so take a break from it if you need it. And remember to practice gratitude and giving back. Make a list of people you’re grateful for and then let them know.

\Make time to go volunteer, whether it’s serving food to the homeless, or helping to wrap gifts for kids who won’t be getting any otherwise. Doing these may not eliminate your sadness and loneliness during the Holiday season, but it will definitely help. Try out some of these things and watch how they impact you in a positive way.

About the Author:

Andrew lives and work in San Francisco. He’s newly married, a big brother in a family with eight kids, and an uncle to two amazing nieces. A combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he writes about mental health and wellness, relationships, and finance. When he’s not working, you can find him running or biking, doing yoga, cooking with his apron on, or adventuring with his amazing wife. You can find more of his writing and life adventures at

Dad. Husband. Army vet. Enjoy running, cycling, cooking, & guitar. Sign up for my monthly humor newsletter:

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