Being alone for the holidays can be a mixed bag. Get ideas here, and experiment to find the strategies that make you feel better.

You might be grieving the loss of your family, or your family’s repellent qualities. You might be optimistic about time to yourself, but also regretful of your situation and full of FOMO. Or, you might experience guilt for asserting your boundaries. Alternatively, you might just wish you could feel connected without the holiday drama.

Whatever you’re feeling about being alone for the holidays, why not do something about it? Below are five strategies to try. See what works for you.

1. Decide what you want from this time

Do you want to just do nothing and zone out? Do you want to decompress and recharge? Or do you want to try new activities and find excitement?

Approach your alone time with intention, so you don’t look back and regret puttering around aimlessly.

If you can’t figure out what you want from your alone time, consider using your freedom to tackle longstanding to-do’s off your list. That way, you can go into the New Year fresh and with a blank slate.

2. Make plans

Get excited about how you’ll spend your holidays, even though you’re not with family.

Take yourself on a day trip to a fun place, or plan a potluck with other friends who won’t be seeing family. Commit to doing one nice or fun thing for yourself each day you’re alone during the holidays.

You’re saving on the stress of family drama by spending the holidays with yourself. Pick your activities, allocate funds, and line everything up in advance for even less stress during this time.

3. Ignore toxicity

You’ve determined that you’re spending the holidays alone. But your relatives keep pressuring you to attend their dinners and outings.

As psychologist C.Z. Edwards emphasizes in this Twitter thread, if toxic family members continue to bug you about joining them, you’re well within your rights to simply make an excuse.

See CZ Edwards’ fictional work, here

You have permission from a psychological professional not to feel guilty!

Firmly state that you won’t be there, won’t change your mind. And silence notifications from family members who might continue to harass you, so they can’t disrupt your happy holiday alone.

4. Avoid social media

This is a must, whether you opted not to attend toxic family gatherings, or you don’t have family to keep tabs on. Checking social media while alone for the holidays can be a mind-fuck, for lack of a better word.

Regardless if you’re alone for the holidays by choice or circumstances, checking social media may introduce conflicting feelings of FOMO, regret, anger, or even jealousy.

5. Volunteer

It sounds generic, but volunteering when you’re alone for the holidays serves a number of purposes: occupies your time in a meaningful way, makes you feel less lonely, and gives you something to talk about, to connect with others.

Where can you volunteer? Here’s how to figure it out:

Decide what cause is close to your heart. If you’ve gone hungry before, volunteer at a food bank. If you were cold over the winters, set up a coat drive. Can’t get off all the Facebook cat groups? Try asking what you can do for a local animal shelter.

Use a tool to search for volunteer opportunities.

Can’t find the right volunteer organization? Just offer to help people you know. If you’re alone for the holidays, ask friends if they need help picking up holiday groceries, wrapping presents, etc. Or spend some time with others who are alone – maybe the elderly couple down the block!

What if I’m still just really lonely?

Sometimes loneliness becomes paralyzing, and all these strategies that could help just feel out of reach. It’s 11 pm on Christmas Eve, and you can’t pull yourself out of this dark place.

If you’re stuck in the bottom of a pit and need to feel seen, heard, and understood, open a Supportiv chat any time of day or night. We’re here 24/7, without an appointment. And we get it.