10 ways to cope with holiday loneliness

If you find yourself feeling lonely around the holidays, you’re not the only one. A recent study revealed that 55% of Americans experience the holiday blues, with many people saying they feel lonelier this year than they did last year. This is especially true for Gen Zers and single adults. Around 75% of Gen Zers and 65% of single adults report feeling lonely around the holidays. 

There are many reasons you may feel lonely at this time of year. Maybe you’re struggling with family pressure, anxiety about everything there is to do, or grief following the loss of a loved one. Whatever the reason for your loneliness, it’s important to understand that it’s not something you’re stuck with.

No matter how isolated and alone you may think you are, there are always people around you ready to help. If you’re feeling particularly lonely during the festive period, take our advice and try some of these effective ways to cope with holiday loneliness.

  • Embrace loneliness. Acknowledge that it’s okay to experience loneliness from time to time. And while it may not be the most pleasant or comfortable feeling to experience, it helps you gain more insight into what you need from the world around you.
  • Be prepared. If you know you’re going to be alone and feel lonely around the holidays, make a plan in advance. Put together a list of people you can contact when you want to talk to someone and places to go when you want to connect with others. Keep the list in an obvious place so you don’t have to make too much effort when you’re not feeling the best. 
  • Be grateful. It can be difficult to be grateful when you don’t feel like you have much. But being grateful for what you do have will make you feel a lot better than being sad for what you don’t have. Make a genuine effort to appreciate the things you have in your life that make it worth living. 
  • Create a new tradition. Starting a new tradition can give you something to look forward to over the holidays and take your mind off being alone. You don’t have to go down the typical route of building a snowman or looking at Christmas lights. You could take a solo road trip, go on vacation, or try something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never done before. 
  • Ignore the media. At this time of year, our screens are filled with happy families enjoying the perfect Hallmark card Christmas. While it may look wonderful, these family dynamics are simply not realistic. Holidays can be tense, messy, uncomfortable, and sometimes dreadful. Ignore the image the media portrays and don’t try to live up to it. 
  • Avoid social media. In a similar way to TV portraying an unrealistic version of the holidays, social media follows suit and shows a very different picture from the truth. It’s important you remember that people only post what they want you to see on social media. They only ever post themselves looking their best and doing their best. You only get to see 1% of the story. Try to avoid social media over the holidays and don’t fall into the trap of believing everything you see online to be true.
  • Surround yourself with others. Just because you don’t have any friends and family to spend time with over the holidays doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Head to one of your favorite public spaces and surround yourself with the hustle and bustle of others. Pop into a cozy coffee shop or wrap up warm and sit on a beach while reading a book. The everyday noises of other people may help you feel less isolated.
  • Practice self-care. Being alone gives you an excellent opportunity to focus on yourself and put yourself first. Self-care is much more than taking a long bath and sleeping in. Create a daily schedule based on self-care. Set aside time each day for exercise, healthy eating, and doing things that make you happy.
  • Be realistic. The greater your expectations of something as major as Christmas, the higher the stakes become. If things don’t live up to your lofty expectations, you can find yourself feeling anxious and depressed. Be realistic about what you expect of yourself and acknowledge your limitations. 
  • Talk to a therapist. If you’re really struggling at this time of year and none of the above tactics have worked, make an appointment with a therapist. At Cyti Psychology, our therapists have a thorough understanding of loneliness and the negative impact it can have on a person. They’ll listen to everything you have to say and give you more personal advice on how to cope and get through the holidays.


The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741