The feeling of loneliness over the festive period can affect anyone, regardless of age or the amount of people that someone may be in contact with. We are more likely to feel isolated and lonely on or after specific events, Christmas being one of them. Causes range from emotional, psychological and social issues to physical limitations, and while it may help to know what the cause is in order to find a solution, sometimes the trigger won’t be clear.
If you’ve never felt lonely at Christmas, consider yourself fortunate; maybe this year, we could all keep an eye out for those who are struggling.
Help yourself & others
Lets start with some tips to help yourself, and each other this Christmas:
- Be honest with yourself; It’s ok to feel down, and in most cases when we pinpoint the reasons why, we are in a better position to deal with it.
- Be honest with people; It can be difficult to open up to people when you’re feeling sad or anxious, but making that first connection is key.
- Ask to invite yourself or invite others; Some people are happy to spend Christmas day on their own, but if you’re not, pluck up the courage and ask someone if you can come! In most cases people are more than happy to accommodate and will be glad you asked. Or, if you know someone who will be on their own, why not invite them?
- Find somewhere to volunteer local to you; There are lots of places that need help over the Christmas period and there is plenty you can do, from being Santa’s helper to wrapping presents and providing a much needed hot meal in a soup kitchen. The Do IT website is a good place to start your search: https://doit.life/grow
Volunteer this year
How can we help people that may feel isolated this Christmas?
With Christmas widely regarded as a time of year that’s best spent with family and friends, it can be an especially lonely period for those who don’t have any close loved ones around.
Statistics released by Age UK show that half a million older people in the UK expect to feel lonely at Christmas.
There are multiple ways of helping people who are experiencing loneliness throughout the year, and perhaps even more so over Christmas:
- Speak on the phone:
A simple way of reaching out to someone who’s lacking in human contact is to have a friendly conversation with them on the phone. At Independent Age, volunteers spend around 20 to 30 minutes a week speaking on the phone with older people who may not otherwise have many opportunities to engage in conversation with others.
- Write a Christmas card:
Often small things that many of us take for granted, such as a homemade Christmas card, can have a huge impact on someone else. The Angel Card Project is an organisation that sends cards to people who may feel lonely this Christmas.
- Cook a tasty dish:
Casserole Club is an organisation that encourages volunteers to share extra portions of home-cooked food with people living near them who may not be able to always cook for themselves. You can get involved with the initiative by cooking some food for a neighbour or providing the name of someone who could do with a home-cooked meal.
- Forge a friendship:
There are numerous ways that you can connect with the elderly and forge real, authentic friendships with fascinating people. Reengage runs monthly tea parties during which groups of people over the age of 75 come together to socialise and enjoy a fun Sunday afternoon. You can also reach out and befriend older people by working with organisations such as Friends of the Elderly.
- Join in the festive fun:
Just enter your postcode on the Reengage website and you’ll be presented with a list of events taking place on Christmas Day that you can get involved in, including festive lunches at care homes and community halls.
- Help animals:
Volunteering for animal rescues is one enjoyable way of helping animal welfare and can be very rewarding, especially with increased demands over Christmas. The RSPCA and Battersea may be a good place to start your search.
Is there anyone you know that you could help this Christmas and how?
Download the newsletter here: EM DEC 22 – Loneliness at Christmas