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Being alone during the holidays is tough. For some of us, loneliness means there is an empty seat at the table and miles separating us from our service member. For others it marks ringing in the New Year away from family and friends.


Feeling alone during the holidays is a challenge that can make getting into the spirit especially difficult. How do you find the spirit to enjoy the season when someone can’t be with you? More importantly, how do you combat the loneliness without ruining your holiday?


Here are 4 things to keep in mind:

 


Remember Alone Doesn’t Mean Lonely


The holidays can be a time when it’s easy to focus on what is missing, especially if you are celebrating solo. Being away from family and friends doesn’t mean that you have to be lonely.


Think of it as an opportunity to take time for yourself. Anticipate the moments where it could be difficult and plan for that. Instead of spending Christmas Day longing for company and a traditional feast, try a new recipe and escape into a book. Help the kids stay positive by keeping busy on Christmas Eve by decorating cookies or creating new traditions to pass the time throughout the day.


Understand that however you decide to experience this season, it is okay for your life stage right now. Yes it will be different, but different isn’t always a bad thing.


Change it up


To create holiday magic, I personally believe that I must continue on “business as usual”.  It’s even easier to believe that changing it up will only accentuate the fact that things are different from the norm. The fact is they are different and trying to experience the holidays like you always do can end up being more painful than embracing change and creating new ways to celebrate.


Instead, try to do activities that won't remind you someone’s missing and start traditions that allow you to celebrate the holidays in a different way. If being at home makes you uncomfortable, take a trip. If holiday preparations stress you out, scale down those tasks. Find something; an activity, event or project that you can look forward to throughout the season that will help change your focus and allow you to enjoy the holidays.


Make Someone Else Happy


An excellent way to feel less lonely during the holidays is to donate your time to a cause, organization or mission you believe in. Finding ways to help others who are less fortunate can fill your time, take your mind off of what’s missing and leave you feeling great. It’s also a perfect way to refocus your children and teach them incredible lessons about giving and service.


Don’t be Afraid to Initiate


Many of us need celebrations and festivities for the holidays to come to life. If you are someone who loves to dress up, come together and celebrate, then don’t be afraid to initiate an invitation or create something of your own.

 

Too often we are afraid to reach out and ask for what we need, but this is the perfect time of year to do so.  Hate decorating cookies by yourself? Borrow a friend’s children and make a day of it or host a cookie exchange. Hesitant to take the kids to stand in line for Santa alone? Ask someone who doesn’t have children to come along; you just might make their day!


There are lots of ways you can initiate and engage with other families that will help you not only get through a challenging year, but enjoy it as well.


Have something to add to this story? Share your insights below!


Known by military spouses around the world as The Direction Diva, Judy Davis is a motivational speaker, military lifestyle blogger, advocate and author of Right Side Up: Finding Your Way When Military Life Turns You Upside Down as well as the essay “My Son’s Battle” in Stories Around the Table.  A military spouse herself, Judy blogs, writes and speaks with a passion for helping military families become stronger as they navigate the challenges of military life. To connect with Judy, read her blogs or obtain information about speaking topics, seminars and programs visit: http://thedirectiondiva.com(Inspiring Military Spouses) or http://livingthrucrisis.com (Revealing The Unspoken Truths of Teen Suicide Ideation, Depression & Addiction).