Combatting holiday loneliness
For some, the holiday season means being with loved ones and feeling a sense of community. For others, it’s the loneliest — not “the most wonderful” — time of year. If that describes you, you’re not alone; in fact, three in five Americans — more than 60% — reported feelings of loneliness not related to COVID-19, which has those numbers trending even higher.
While the holidays can add yet another layer to loneliness, there are steps you can take to combat those feelings.
Synchronous Health Specialist Angel Babcock, LPC-MHSP, who works with MNPS Connect with Karla participants, notes, “The biggest thing I’m currently seeing is stress about the upcoming holidays. While general holiday stress was common in previous years, it has only increased in light of the pandemic. Some haven’t seen their families since the beginning of COVID-19 in March, and now they’re anxious and fearful about getting themselves or loved ones sick by attending holiday gatherings.
“I suggest that anyone experiencing stress or anxiety this holiday season remember that this is not a typical year. It’s okay if things look a little different,” she continues. “It’s important to remember that setting healthy boundaries for your mental health is not a rude or mean thing to do.”
While some may prefer to be alone — avoiding traffic, traditions, relational dynamics and other stressors — the pandemic or other life circumstances may mean loneliness isn’t a matter of choice for others.
If you find yourself feeling lonely or isolated this holiday season, or if you just feel you or someone in your family needs a boost of encouragement to get through the days, Connect with Karla gives you access to an experienced, licensed network of specialists at no cost to you.
To learn more and connect with a specialist, visit sync.health/mnps or call 615-748-0625.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind from the team at Sync Health:
Know you’re not alone. While your story is uniquely yours, even if you’re alone in the physical sense, it’s important to remember others are going through similar experiences at this very moment. Cultivating this awareness is key.
Breathe and meditate. Believe it or not, breathing by itself is something we don’t do as often or deeply as we should, even though it technically keeps us alive. Take some extra time to intentionally breathe deeply and be in the present moment wherever you are. There are countless meditation and breathing apps available, including Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer.
Practice gratitude and random acts of kindness. Simply giving thanks for life is an incredibly freeing practice. Getting your mind off yourself or your circumstances can also help combat loneliness. There are lots of ways to extend kindness by volunteering or reaching out remotely during COVID. Check out: www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/2020/04/08/volunteer-from-home.
If you're feeling lonely or anxious and would like additional support, our team is ready to serve you. To learn more and connect with a specialist, visit: sync.health/mnps or call 615-748-0625.
Source: Cigna 2020 Lonliness Index