Overcoming Loneliness

Overcoming Loneliness During the Holiday Season

Author: judyjudy

Overcoming Loneliness During the Holiday Season

Relationships

The holiday season is often depicted as a time of joy and gathering, yet for many, particularly older adults, it can be a period of heightened loneliness. This loneliness is not just a fleeting emotion; it’s a public health concern that can have serious implications. Comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, social isolation and loneliness profoundly impact mental and physical health.

The problem, while longstanding, has intensified in recent times. Prior to the pandemic, the AARP Foundation reported that 35% of adults over 45 felt lonely. Shockingly, by 2020, over 50% of adults over 50 experienced this isolation. According to Dr. Carrie Ditzel, a Clinical Psychologist, loneliness transcends the physical presence of friends and family. It’s an internal state that requires more than just company to overcome.

But there is hope. Here are ways to embrace the holiday season, even when you’re feeling lonely, along with resources and apps that can offer support and connection.

Connect Digitally

Websites and Forums

  • Stitch: A website designed for people over 50 to make new connections, whether it’s for companionship, travel buddies, or group activities. Visit Stitch
  • SeniorChatters: A platform for older adults to engage in conversations, forums, and group chats. Explore SeniorChatters

Apps

  • Meetup: An app that connects you with local groups and events based on your interests. Perfect for finding holiday activities. Download Meetup
  • Nextdoor: Connect with your neighborhood community. It’s a great way to stay in touch with local events and possibly arrange meet-ups. Check out Nextdoor

Volunteer Your Time

Helping others can be a powerful antidote to loneliness. Websites like VolunteerMatch (volunteermatch.org) connect you with volunteer opportunities, including those that you can do from home.

Embrace Mindfulness and Self-Care

Apps

  • Headspace: Offers guided meditations to help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Experience Headspace
  • Calm: Provides meditation and sleep stories to improve mental health. Try Calm

Learn Something New

Online learning platforms like Coursera (coursera.org) and Udemy (udemy.com) offer courses in a wide range of topics. Engaging in new learning experiences can connect you with a global community of learners.

Engage in Online Support Groups

  • BetterHelp: Provides access to licensed therapists and support groups. Explore BetterHelp
  • Talkspace: Another platform offering online therapy with professional counselors. Visit Talkspace

Get Creative

Art can be therapeutic. Websites like Skillshare (skillshare.com) offer classes in art, photography, and more, providing a creative outlet and a sense of accomplishment.

Adopt a Pet

Consider adopting a pet. Websites like Petfinder (petfinder.com) can help you find the perfect companion.

Schedule Virtual Gatherings

Organize virtual meet-ups with family and friends. Zoom (zoom.us) and Skype (skype.com) are excellent platforms for this.

Stay Physically Active

Physical activity is vital for mental health. Apps like MyFitnessPal (myfitnesspal.com) and Nike Training Club (nike.com) offer routines you can do at home.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if loneliness becomes overwhelming. Platforms like Talkspace and BetterHelp are there for you.

While loneliness can be a challenging emotion, especially during the holidays, there are numerous ways and resources to combat it. By reaching out, engaging in new activities, and taking care of your mental health, you can embrace the holiday season with a renewed sense of purpose and connection.

What strategies have worked for you in dealing with loneliness during the holidays?
Share your experiences and tips in our forum to help others who might be facing similar challenges.

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