Managing Holiday Loneliness:
6 Tips for Spending Thanksgiving Alone
Thanksgiving usually involves cherished traditions, with large gatherings, communal meals and an overall theme of togetherness. However, the holidays are going to be looking a lot different this year because of the pandemic. Many people won’t be going to visit their families for this holiday season. If you know that you will be spending this Thanksgiving alone, here are our tips for managing loneliness and still making the most of this time of year.
Rethink Your Expectations
If your vision of a "perfect" Thanksgiving involves you surrounded by a dozen of your relatives, you likely will have to rethink your expectations this year. Many people enjoy seeing their extended families during this time, but with the pandemic it's not as safe to do so right now. If you are going to be alone for the first time this Thanksgiving or only be with your immediate family, consider how you can still make the day enjoyable. You may no longer be expecting a large, traditional gathering, but you can still plan for a nice, relaxing day off at home.
Connect With Others Virtually
Even if you’re unable to see your loved ones in person, you can still spend part of Thanksgiving with them virtually, over FaceTime or Zoom. Take part of your day to share with them what you’re grateful for and dig into your favorite pie together. Or go on a walk after dinner and take time to catch up over the phone. Sharing some part of the holiday with loved ones can help bring us familiar comfort when we are physically distant.
Find Ways to Still Celebrate Traditions (Or Create New Ones)
Perhaps what you’re going to miss the most this year is the traditions that come along with this holiday season. If you can, find a way to still celebrate your family traditions virtually. You can still bake the same delicious recipes in your own home or go for a run (with a mask) before your meal in lieu of your annual turkey trot. Or, you can create new family traditions, like playing games of Family Feud (over Zoom) or choosing to watch a favorite holiday movie together (through a web browser extension).
Take This Time To Rest
Take advantage of what might be a slower, less chaotic holiday by taking this time to fully relax. After the year we’ve had, we could all use some much needed rest. Catch up on sleep, curl up with a good book, draw a warm bath, or put on our favorite show. It will feel good to take a break and prioritize yourself during this time.
Still Enjoy a Good Meal
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without copious amounts of comfort food. You can still make the same tasty recipes and enjoy a classic Thanksgiving meal on this day. Or if you usually leave the cooking to other relatives, treat yourself by ordering food in.
Cultivate Gratitude & Give Back
Practicing gratitude is a great way to combat loneliness during this time of year. Gratitude is known to reduce a multitude of negative emotions, like envy, frustration or resentment. Having gratitude allows us to feel more fulfilled with what we have. Take some time on Thanksgiving to reflect on everything you are thankful for. You can express your gratitude by calling your loved ones and chatting with them, journaling or giving back in any way that you can.
If you'll be spending Thanksgiving by yourself this year, take comfort in knowing that a lot of people will be in similar situations this year. While it can be tough to not see family, remember that being safe and healthy is the most important thing. We all have to make the most of this holiday season and recognize that it will be different from years past. Take care of yourself in whatever way works for you and give thanks for all of the great things and people you have in your life.
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