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by Kat Rowe | December 7, 2021

For some, the holiday season is a busy period of buying presents, travelling to see family and friends, preparing special family dinners, attending get-togethers, Christmas parties and more. Although people sometimes express frustration over the holiday rush, there’s a general feeling of anticipation as they look forward to taking a break and spending time with their loved ones.

But for others, this period can trigger feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety. It does so for any number of reasons, including fractured family relationships, relationship issues, physical distance from family and friends, financial pressure and others. 

All these can take their toll on your mental health. However, there are some ways you can avoid social isolation over the holidays.

1. Acknowledge how you feel

If you’re feeling lonely, unhappy, frustrated or angry, acknowledge these emotions. Don’t ignore them, no matter how stressful things may be.

2. Talk to someone who understands you

Communicate with those close to you — or someone you know understands you. It could be a conversation with a family member, a close friend, a counsellor or a spiritual advisor — as long as you are able to talk about things that matter to you.

And since it’s the holidays, you also have the perfect chance to touch base with people you haven’t spoken with for a while but who you know are always there for you. What’s important is these communication opportunities remind you that your relationships and social ties are there. You are not alone.

3. See family and friends (in person or virtually)

Spending time with family and friends this year should be easier with COVID-19 restrictions easing, but if you can’t be there in person, connect online.

Either way, set up a schedule for your get-together and make time for it. You’ll realise during your catch-up that they’ve been missing you, and it’s not just you who’s been missing them.

4. Treat yourself to some holiday pampering

You might’ve heard you cannot pour from an empty cup — and this is so true of people today.

We rush through life, busy making a living, being a parent and partner, and we often forget about our own needs. Stop and take a good look at yourself. Acknowledge your value and why you need to make time for achieving wellness.

Indulge in some retail therapy, get a new hairstyle or book a mani-pedi or a massage. Do something you really enjoy, like a hobby you’ve ignored for years. Read a book, take a nap or go for a walk. When you make time for yourself, you’ll come back better, happier and stronger.

5. Reach out, help others, spread holiday cheer

Sometimes, our feelings of loneliness can stem from an overwhelming dissatisfaction with life or our inability to find meaning in our existence. This crisis can come anytime — but some people find that by helping others, they are able to overcome these doubts and fears about the value and meaning of life.

You don’t need to be wealthy to help others. You can read to children in hospitals, volunteer to feed the homeless, walk or run for a charitable institution or participate in a fundraiser or cause.

When you do these things, you also make new connections and get a sense of having accomplished something bigger than your personal goals. Plus, by helping out, you’re also spreading happiness.

6. Go out and immerse yourself in nature

Nature is the great healer — and we should count ourselves lucky because Australia has many parks and beaches accessible to all.

Stepping outside will not only give you a vitamin D boost essential for immunity and mood regulation but also expose you to the calming beauty of nature and the company of fellow nature lovers. So, do take time to stop and smell the roses (and more). 

At Stride, we’re here for you no matter what you’re experiencing. 

We know that everyone has times of stress, but you don’t have to do it alone. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us today.

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