Lonely at Christmas? You are not alone
TW: Mental health, suicide, self harm, loneliness, grief.
This year feels like history repeating itself. The rapid rise of Omicron has left us feeling uncertain whether we'll see our loved ones or worse case scenario, certain we’ll be facing Christmas in isolation. But you are not alone.
These isolated Christmases seem unprecedented but for many of us a lonely Christmas is more common than you think. Research conducted by mental health charity Mind shows a third of people are too embarrassed to admit that they are lonely at Christmas. We often talk about how older people (65+) are among the most likely to spend Christmas alone, or be lonely but the figures from Mind have discovered millennials are twice as likely as the elderly to struggle with loneliness at Christmas. Loneliness affects all ages.
We’re often bombarded by Christmas and the magic of it from as early as November. All Christmas campaigns revolve around family, togetherness. For those who don’t have this in their lives, it may reinforce their sense of loneliness stemming from complicated family dynamics, work schedules or mental health problems.
Christmas also creates huge financial worries in almost half of millennials involved in the Mind study. The message of Christmas has evolved into a capitalist mess, which can cause high expenses. 35% of millennials were also reported to contemplate what they fail to achieve during the Christmas period, leading to depression and more worryingly, feelings of self harm.
The study also showed that one in ten people consider taking their own life during the
festive holiday. Within the statistics, it was revealed that women tend to feel slightly more lonely than men at Christmas, with 15% saying they felt lonely even when surrounded by family.
Being a musician can be a lonely business. Writing music with your heart and soul on your sleeve is exposing at the best of times, but combined with being busy and working unsociable hours it can leave behind loneliness. It can be especially lonely if you’re a solo artist working with a backing track, as you have no band mates to keep you company. We want you to know we are here with you.
Ideas to combat loneliness
Doing something you love
Turn loneliness on its head by doing something you love. Use the time for some self love. If you’re unsure of where to start, exercise and dancing are natural mood enhancers and you guessed it, listening to music too! Relish the space and be kind to yourself.
*Be sure to listen to music that brings you joy! Not a way to wallow.*
Speaking to someone you trust
There is no right or wrong way in how you want to combat loneliness at Christmas. Speaking personally, when I’m struggling with loneliness or any mental health issue, my first port of call is speaking to my loved ones, but I’m well aware that doesn’t help everyone. If it does help you, speak to someone you trust about how you feel, whether that is a friend or a therapist. If you feel there is no one you can turn to, please use our resources below. There are so many amazing charities with someone at the end of the phone who can take the edge off.
As we’ve established, Christmas is a lonely time for a lot of people, so why not volunteer and help other people at Christmas time. Whether that is cooking your elderly neighbour a Christmas meal, or volunteering at a charity. Elderly people often struggle with loneliness around Christmas too, so doing a selfless act of giving an elderly neighbour some company is bound to bring you some comfort.
There are many charities like Age UK who are looking for people to befriend elderly people through websites such as befriending.co.uk. There are other opportunities such as volunteering at food banks.
Making others happy makes you happy!
Books are a great source of escapism. Whether you want to read a dystopia or a self help book there are plenty of options to distract yourself, by immersing yourself in art.
Lifewire has made a handy list of all the best places to download free books HERE.
Or why not go for one of these?
The Lido by Libby Page is a heartwarming book about an unlikely friendship that is created trying to save the local Lido.
The Cure for Loneliness- Dr. Bill Howatt a great self help book about loneliness and how to combat it.
My Thoughts Exactly- Lily Allen, an autobiography from one of the most outspoken women in music.
Audacity- Katherine Ryan, who doesn’t love Katherine Ryan? We sure do. A hilarious comedian who is bound to bring a chuckle.
If you like any of the books we recommend, tell us! We’ll start our very own book club.
If you are struggling in the festive period, there are several places you can contact.
Samaritans are open 24/7, you can call them for free on 116 123
Shout- text SHOUT to 85258, a confidential 24/7 text service.
Young Minds- Text YM to 85258, 24/7 text support for young people.
Beat- are open 4pm- midnight from 24th December to 3rd January for help with eating disorders call- 0808 801 0677
Campaign Against Living Miserable (CALM)- open every dat from 5pm to midnight, call 0800 58 58 58
No Panic- a service for people who suffer from OCD and anxiety disorders. Open every day 10am- 10pm, call 0300 7729844
National Domestic Abuse Helpline free 24 hour helpline for women. Open 24/7- 0808 2000 24/7.
To look after your mental health, take a break from social media around the festive time. Putting yourself first is always the most important thing to do.
Sending you lots of love from everyone at Cactus City Studio.