Loneliness is a road we all travel down one time or another. For single and divorced moms, loneliness during the holidays can feel excruciating. My loneliness is palpable on the holidays my children spend with their dad, even though I have extended family nearby. No one told me loneliness comes in waves. One day you can be fine and the next, loneliness crashes into you again. The other thing no one seems to remember is that you can be lonely in a room full of people. So how can divorced and single moms overcome loneliness during the holidays?
Be flexible and patient with yourself.
Feel all the feels. Empty an entire box of tissues, if you need to. Listen to all the sad songs on Pandora. And then determine to do. Being active, constructive, and giving of yourself. The good news is that it gets easier. The holiday after you use up the whole tissue box, you might find you only need half a box of tissues. Progress, no matter how little, is still progress. Cut yourself some slack.
Invest in relationships
Build upon the relationships that you have, cultivate new ones, and let go of the ones that are truly toxic. We all have that friend who takes and takes and takes. I’m not saying you must hang onto that relationship, but don’t just cultivate relationships that only benefit you. Sometimes we end up being the nurturer in the relationship and sometimes we are nurtured. The good thing is that usually relationships are cyclical, and we get a chance to receive and give. There’s no shame in letting a friend know you are feeling especially lonely and be deliberate in planning activities together to overcome that.
It’s a great way to forget your troubles. Rent or borrow all the funniest dvds your friends can toss your way. Then binge watch. Paint your toenails, eat popcorn, or knit all while getting your laugh on. Laughter really is the best medicine.
This is a tough one for some who don’t like to put themselves “out there.” However, volunteering can take many forms. Look after someone’s pet while they are out of town. Babysit for a couple who has kids but hasn’t had a date in a while. Clean the house of a shut-in and make meals for a couple of days. Fold clothes at a women’s shelter. Leave quarters in a few washer slots in the laundromat. Ring a bell for a charity. The list of possibilities to help in a short-term manner is endless.
Take a class
Want to learn to two-step and cha-cha? You can bet there’s a class for that nearby. Interested in learning a new language? You can find those kinds of classes too. Sure, lives tend to get hectic around the holidays, but taking a class can extend beyond the holidays and stave off the post-holiday blues. You never know who you’ll meet. A new friend might just be sitting in the row next to you.
Do something unexpected
Turn life on its head a bit and take a cruise for Christmas. Visit Times Square over New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop in person. Head for Paris with a family member and eat all the baguettes and cheese you can afford. Sit yourself in an Irish pub for a few days and soak up the culture.