Why We Often Feel Lonely During the Holidays—and How to Cope (Especially This Year)
Ah, the holidays: that special time of the year filled with cheer, good will, and crippling loneliness. Some people truly love the season (especially the ones who start decorating immediately after Halloween); others are able to tolerate the festivities, knowing that if nothing else, they'll likely get a day off from work. That leaves the rest of us, who spend the first 10 months of the year dreading all the mandatory joy and hall-decking foisted upon us in November and December.
And while there are plenty of reasons why some might prefer to hibernate from mid-November through the beginning of January, one of the biggest is loneliness. As a quick refresher, "being alone" and "loneliness" are two different concepts. Someone can be physically alone and feel completely content, feeling no pangs of loneliness. And someone who is alone might feel lonely, but it's also entirely possible to experience loneliness while surrounded by friends and family.
Either way, feeling lonely or down around this time of year is common, and completely normal—whether or not we're living through a global pandemic (which we definitely are this year). If you've ever wondered why the holidays have this effect on people (perhaps including yourself), and are looking for strategies for dealing with seasonal loneliness, we have insight from mental health professionals that might help.