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The Christmas Survival Guide

December and the festive season can be a wonderful time of the year in which you connect with loved ones and celebrate. But it can also be a difficult season that triggers uncomfortable and painful emotions. It can feel overwhelming and daunting.

You might be missing loved ones, struggling with social anxiety or addiction issues or you might be experiencing loneliness and financial hardship.

Spending the festive days with your family might be your idea of a nightmare and your heart might sink at what can seem like forced cheefulness and putting on a brave face.

Christmas might not be a part of your culture or you might simply not care for it.

Whatever your circumstances, I have put together this Guide in the hope that it will offer you some support, advice and comfort to see you through the festive season.

I have split the Guide into several parts, each one covering a topic or problem that arises at this time of the year.

Remember you are not alone and help is out there!

Read on for Part 1.

The Christmas Survival Guide- Part 1- Loneliness

Most of us have felt lonely at some point or other. You might even say that Loneliness is a normal part of our lives. However, Lonliness can be difficult to tolerate and deal with because it is painful. Human beings are social animals and we seek connection with others.

There are different types of Loneliness. You can feel emotionally lonely, for example if you have lost a loved one.

You can feel socially lonely, for example if you don't have any friends or social network of any kind.

You can experience transient Loneliness which means that your feeling of Loneliness comes and goes.

You can experience situational Loneliness which means that you tend to feel lonely at certain times, for example at Christmas or on a particular weekday.

And finally there is chronic Loneliness which means that you pretty much feel lonely all of the time (TheMarmaladeTrust, 2023).

Christmas in particular can trigger feelings of Loneliness. Perhaps it's all of those images of happy, loving families coming together for the festive season.

You might not have a big family or your family might be full of tension and argue a lot. You might choose not to have contact with your family or your family might be your friends.

Know that it is okay to choose whatever feels right for you.

Many organisations put on special lunches or events to help people feel less isolated and alone during this time. If you are spending Christmas on your own and you're worried about being lonely, it might be worth checking out what's available in your local area.

Let's have a look at what you can do to help you to cope with your feelings of Loneliness.

It might be a good idea to plan ahead and to think about what you need (Mind, 2023). For example if you are spending Christmas on your own, how will you spend your time?

You might want to think about doing something you enjoy or plan a self care activity. Spending Christmas on your own can be an opportunity to take care of yourself and your needs.

If you have a daily routine which helps you to cope in general, it might be helpful to stick with it during the festive season (Mind, 2023). It will help you to feel grounded and comfortable.

The Marmalade Trust has a lot of useful advice and support on their website to address Loneliness. They suggest a three step approach to look at your Loneliness.

Step 1 is to acknowledge your Loneliness. Please be reassured that there is nothing wrong with you. Loneliness can and does happen to everyone (Marmalade Trust, 2023). If you are feeling lonely, it simply means that you might need more social connection (Marmalade Trust, 2023).

Step 2 is to tell someone you trust how you are feeling (Marmalade Trust, 2023) and to spend some time reflecting on your needs (Marmalade Trust, 2023). What level of social contact do you need or want? What would you feel comfortable with?

Finally Step 3 is to build up a daily community (Marmalade Trust, 2023). You might want to think about how you can connect with others. Some examples might be to visit your local shop on a regular basis or saying hello to a neighbour.

You might have a particular hobby or interest that might help you to connect with like minded people (Mind, 2023).

You might wish to use social media to connect with people which is fine as long as you pay attention to how it makes you feel and know your boundaries (Marmalade Trust, 2023).

Another thing that might also be worth thinking about is the relationship you have with yourself (Mind, 2023). If you experience low self esteem or have a low sense of self worth, you might find it more difficult to spend time on your own.

Here are some more tips you could try to help you address your Loneliness:

*check out local events

*go for a coffee- I know this might be daunting at first but sometimes simply sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by people can be comforting.

*listen to music, the radio or a podcast

*cuddle your pet

*phone a helpline (I have included some useful numbers below)

*engage in a self care activity

*watch your favourite movie

*think about joining an activity- anything that takes your fancy- from Yoga to singing to Wreath making- it's a great way of meeting like minded people

*be kind and compassionate with yourself

Some of these things might work for you and others might not and that is okay. We are all different and we all have different needs. If you are someone who craves time alone that is okay too.

There is nothing wrong with that. Christmas can feel pressured in the sense that you might feel like you should spend time with everyone. It can feel overwhelming and like everyone wants a piece of you.

Please know there is nothing wrong with taking time out and withdrawing to an empty room or going for a walk or taking a day away from the madness of it all.

Knowing your boundaries and your needs is really important.

Take care of yourself.

lantern, snow, stars

Helplines and Support

Age UK Telephone Friendship Service

0800 678 1602

Age UK Advice Line

0800 678 1602

The Silverline

0800 470 8090

The Marmalade Trust

open 5pm until midnight- also offers webchat

0800 585858


116 123

Hub of Hope


Mind (2023). Loneliness,, accessed on 06.12.2023

The Marmalade Trust (2023). Loneliness Guide,, accessed on 06.12.2023

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