Spread the love to lonely people
FOR most of us, the Christmas-New Year break is about spending time with family, friends and loved ones.
But for 15% of us, it is the loneliest time of the year.
A recent survey by Relationships Australia revealed the staggering percentage of people who will be alone for the holidays.
The support service organisation wants to encourage those who are alone to plan ahead and think positively.
"Some people enjoy the peace and quiet, but for those who get lonely, the best thing to do is connect with others," Relationships Australia Sunshine Coast branch manager Sue Miller said.
"This can be made through a phone call to friends, visiting a neighbour or volunteering at a homeless shelter.
"A little bit of contact can do wonders to pull someone out of a lonely slump because guaranteed there is someone who wants to hear from you."
Ms Miller said the loneliness could be caused by the hype and pressure of celebrating during the holidays.
"Everywhere you look, there is a reminder that you should be celebrating - in the stores, on the television and twinkling on people's rooftops," she said.
"These things make it really difficult for people to forget past experiences when they were celebrating, and then loneliness really sets in."
Relationships Australia executive director of practice Samantha Aldridge said the festive season could also be a painful reminder for some people in our community.
"Many parents will experience their first Christmas away from their children or partner due to separation or divorce," she said.
"Some people are recently widowed or in general isolation from their family and friends due to work circumstances.
"Furthermore, this past year has been a tough one for many Queensland families.
"Natural disasters earlier this year and the ongoing affects of the global financial crisis, has had an impact on family relationships."
She encouraged family and friends to stay in contact and spread love to someone who may be feeling lonely.
"The festive season is a reminder to be grateful for the people you cherish in your life, and a time to be kind to the people around you who are not so fortunate, or may be feeling lonely," she added.
TIPS FOR THOSE ALONE
- If you are lonely, show up where people are. Invite close friends to be with you. Ask a friend to help you donate toys or clothing to various charities. Volunteer to help with food at a community centre.
- Exercise and keep those endorphins (the chemical in our brain that makes us happy) pumping.
- Choose healthy food. Pick food that will stabilise your blood sugar not send you on a sugar craze.
- Decorate your house or apartment.
- If visits from certain people during the holidays in the past have affected you in a negative way, assert yourself. Let them know, "no, but thanks for asking". You don't have to make excuses or defend yourself.
- Practise gratitude. Be thankful for all the things you do have and avoid focusing on what you lack. Make a list.
- If you have children or loved ones who come to visit, do your best to create an atmosphere that focuses on "doing" rather than "having". Plan holiday activities; make your own holiday decorations.
- Read a good book - one that will help you focus on being the best person you can be.
- Don't depend on someone else to make your season bright. You alone must do whatever it takes to do that.
- Avoid alcohol and party drugs. Alcohol depletes the brain of serotonin, a chemical that maintains a normal mood.