Take the Loneliness Out of the Holidays
December 5, 2011
Take the Loneliness Out of the Holidays
Edwin Locke Ph.D and Ellen Kenner Ph.D

Everyone feels lonely at times, but this can worsen on special holidays such as Christmas when people enjoy celebrating with others. Maybe you are single. Maybe you have no family, or none close, or are alienated from them. Maybe you have few or no friends or have recently lost a loved one. Maybe your spouse is overseas in the military. Perhaps you are ill and cannot get out.

What can you do? Of course, you can connect with friends and loved ones by phone, email, Facebook, twitter or Skype. You can think of acquaintances who might want to celebrate with you, even in some small way, but perhaps you have been afraid to call. Why let your initial fear stop you?

Now consider presents. In most cases Christmas giving is a trade: each party enjoys both giving and receiving. But what if, this Christmas, you have no one with whom to exchange gifts? Here is an idea: buy yourself a present, something you selfishly want-just for yourself. 

There are many forms in which you can do this:

* Buy something from a store-maybe a special item of clothing, a fragrant soap, or a new tie.
* Get a special take-out dinner for yourself.
* Rent or download a video of your favorite movie or one you have long wanted to see.
* Buy or download a special book that you have wanted to read.
* Exercise--take a walk in your favorite location or go to the gym
* Visit a museum you like.
* Buy a pet cat or dog. They can be wonderful companions. If you are not sure if you want one, offer to temporarily take care of someone else's pet and see if you enjoy it.
* Volunteer doing something you enjoy - for yourself - as a way of meeting people.
* Write a story - what would an ideal Christmas be like? Imagine an ideal companion - what would they be like?
* Play your favorite music.
* Watch a TV show or special that makes you smile.

Avoid torturing yourself by sitting at home feeling powerless about the situation and sorry for yourself. That only deepens feelings of loneliness or sadness. Instead, give yourself permission to nurture yourself and seek some personal holiday joy.

The key is to take charge of the situation. Get out if you can. Be active. Pursue a value - any value that's important to you. Your values are what give meaning to your life.

(c) Copyright 2011

Edwin Locke, PhD, a world-renowned psychologist, and Ellen Kenner, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of the nationally-syndicated radio talk show, The Rational Basis of Happiness®, have co-authored The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason. Both are experts on Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. For more information visit www.selfishromance.com  Permission granted for use on  DrLaura.com

Posted by Staff at 1:59 PM