Alone for the Holidays

The holidays are packed with expectations.  Expectations of where you will be, who you will be with, and how wonderfully joyous it will all be.  There are also expectations of parties and family gatherings and coming together with the important people in your life.  However, not everyone has this picture perfect version of the holidays.  If you are among the hundreds of people who will be spending the holidays alone this year, whether this is due to separation from friends and family, the loss of a loved one, or financial hardship that prevents you from traveling, this blog post is for you.  It is here to remind you that the joy of the holidays can take various forms and that you can decide to use this time alone as a rare opportunity to center and nurture yourself, and perhaps even develop some new meaningful connections in your life. 


Enjoy Time to Yourself! 

 The year is packed full of personal and professional commitments which often leave little time to ourselves.  Re-conceptualize this time alone as a rare treat for yourself.

 1.  Meditate- Spend the first part of your holiday break centering yourself and meditating on what has happened this year and what you hope will take place in the year to come.  Touch base with your aspirations and use this time to refocus your energy, commitment, and motivation.  Think about the projects and goals you want to accomplish in the months to come and use this time to prepare yourself from the inside out so you can commit to the life you want to live.

 2. Try something new- The approaching New Year is an opportunity and personal challenge to try new and perhaps difficult things.  Use this as a time to practice! Spend hours wandering the halls of that museum you’ve always wanted to visit, browsing the shelves of that old bookstore or vintage store you’ve been eyeing, or going for that long-postponed hike without the pressure of having to accommodate someone else’s schedule and interests.  Don’t be afraid to do this by yourself!  Instead, see this as an opportunity to do exactly what you want, when you want, and on your timetable.

3. Pamper yourself – Use this time to renew body and mind.  Take an extra long bikram yoga glass, go to a day spa, or if finances are a concern, turn your home into your spa with the use of soft light, soothing music and a few basic goods (as I write this I am drinking some tea by candlelight, listening to some of my favorite music and letting a home-made avocado honey mask soak in my hair). 

Connect with Others

Once you feel fully rested and geared up, get out there and connect to others around you!

1. Volunteer- Remember the original message of the holidays, the one about love and generosity?  Use your newfound sense of centeredness and peace to share and connect with a cause you believe in.  Discover that the old cliché may hold some truth, that by connecting with others around you who may be in need, you may gain a sense of perspective to aid you through your own difficult times.  Consider serving food to the homeless at a local community kitchen (use this great website to find one near you) or go an orphanage, senior residence, or hospital and visit others who are alone during this time of year.  But don’t worry, if humans are not your favorite species right now, hit the local animal rescue and take some dogs for a walk or offer to dog or cat sit for friends who are out of town. 

2. Reach out- Consider that you may not be the only person facing the holidays alone this year.  Reach out to friends, acquaintances or coworkers and use this time to connect to people who you may not have time to be with during the busier times of the year.

3. Find a new group hobby- use Meet-up or a similar service to start (or revitalize) a new hobby.  Ever wanted to try an Indian cooking class, a belly dancing, or fire blowing class or a group photography hike?  Now is the time to join other adventurous people looking to break out of their box!  Find something that inspires you, something you’ve always wanted to try and get out there.

4.  Connect to your loved ones- Despite the distance, you can still deeply connect to the important people in your life.  Take this time to call them or write them a hand-written letter to tell them just how meaningful they are to you.

There you have it.  If you’re going to be alone for this holiday season, make it a good one.  Use it to it’s fullest potential, take advantage of quality personal time, a chance to get out and try something new, meet some new people and help those in need. Remember, your experience of the holidays is largely dependent on your attitude, so stay positive, grateful, and centered and you may find you’ve developed some new holiday traditions! 

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