5 Ideas to Inspire You to Act-Belong-Commit and Tackle Loneliness This Festive Season
The Christmas season can evoke a range of feelings for different people. Some love the hustle and bustle with their social calendar bursting at the seams.
Others feel stressed and overwhelmed by all the extra commitments. Whilst for some, Christmas can be tough and when they feel the sting of loneliness the most.
According to a Red Cross survey, 1 in 3 Australians experience loneliness or isolation during the Christmas period. Researchers have found that loneliness can lead to premature death and be just as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
With such negative impacts, what can we do to prevent loneliness at Christmas, both or ourselves and for others?
Here are five ideas of how you can Act-Belong-Commit and tackle loneliness this festive season.
One of the best ways to connect with others is by giving back.
Not only does giving back bring joy to other people, but it can bring a greater sense of appreciation for what you do have.
Some of the ways you can volunteer include offering your time at a soup kitchen, visiting elderly residents at a nursing home or bringing gifts to a children’s hospital.
Take a look at Volunteering WA to find volunteering opportunities near you.
Adopt a Granny
There are many residents in nursing homes that rarely get any visitors. It can also be a way to give thanks to the people who have helped shape today’s society.
You can gain so much from spending time with people older than ourselves . They are often more than happy to share their life stories and can be a great source of knowledge and wisdom. Recently, there has been a push to get Australians to ‘Adopt a Granny’ as their own surrogate parent/grandparent. Whether it’s writing a card, bringing a gift or even just spending time together having a chat, this can make a world of difference to the wellbeing of seniors.
If you are interested in this initiative, try contacting your local nursing home to see how you can help.
Attend an Orphan’s Christmas
You may think you’re the only person spending Christmas without family or friends. However, you are not alone.
There are many kind-hearted people and community groups who will open their doors to complete strangers. Why not join an Orphan’s Christmas and get together with other people in a similar situation? This can be a great way to connect with others, sharing food and celebrations.
Find an event through Meetup
Meetup is another fantastic way to connect with like-minded people in your city. By simply downloading the app or visiting their website, you can access a range of groups for whatever your interests are. There are events running throughout the entire year but you can see what’s happening around Christmas. Most activities are free. All you have to do is RSVP and turn up on the day.
Meetup can help you get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Many people have met their partner or made lifelong friends through this resource. Whilst it can be intimidating to attend a Meetup alone, it helps to think of it as a way to expand your social skills. Besides, the events are usually welcoming and inclusive.
Lastly, another way to deal with being alone during Christmas is to enjoy the quiet of your own company. Why not plan a day for yourself with all your favourite activities? You could buy yourself a small treat, eat your favourite food, have a movie marathon, visit your favourite beach or park, read a good book and so on. Whatever floats your boat. Make a day out of it and indulge a little. There is nothing to say you have to be around others on Christmas. Being alone is perfectly ok too.
These are just a few ways to Act-Belong-Commit if you are feeling lonely during Christmas.
This time of year is a chance to reconnect with family or friends who are always just a phone call away. If you are still finding it difficult to cope, there are helplines like Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 with trained volunteers to support you.
Otherwise, it can be useful to think of Christmas as a time to take stock of your mental health. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to live in the present moment, and by getting out and doing something productive, it can help you overcome any negative thoughts on being alone.