Feeling lonely around the holidays is very common, due to the culture of the holiday season and the idea of the “perfect family gathering.” This can be especially difficult for college students for many different reasons. For some, it’s not having a loving or safe family to visit. For those remaining on college campuses, it can feel lonely with most of the other students gone, and perhaps feel like you don’t have anybody with whom to celebrate the holidays. And still, for many, the holidays may be triggering because of painful memories, such as the loss of a loved one or difficult past family gatherings.
So what are some tools and tips for creating a more inviting holiday break for yourself?
Recognize and accept that it’s okay to have these feelings. You’re not alone—many others are in the same boat as you.
Seek human connection. If you’re invited to a holiday party by friends, take them up on it! Many families are happy to welcome others to their holiday feast/party. Or find others such as yourself and have your own get-together.
Reach out for support. This can be as simple as calling up a good friend or it can be seeking professional help, such as a therapist.
Avoid social media and other triggering platforms. Seeing pictures of your friends celebrating with their families may cause emotional distress. Watching emotional holiday movies can also be upsetting.
Take up a new hobby or go out in nature. Distracting yourself by doing activities you enjoy or finding new ones is a great alternative.
Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion.