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Navigating being alone in the holidays

The holidays is a time for festivity and spending time with family and loved ones. This is true for most people; however there are a percentage of people that are spending the holidays alone, for whatever reason. While this can often lead to feelings of loneliness, there are plenty of ways to keep spirits high and possibly even get a little bit of ‘me-time’ in during the holiday period.

Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely

Some of us will be spending the holidays completely alone. This may be due to travel difficulties, living apart from family, not having family around anymore or recently becoming single after holding all your holiday traditions with your partner. 
Whatever the reason, being alone does not need to feel lonely. There is plenty that you can do to stay occupied rather than dwelling on being by yourself, and keeping busy is one of the best ways proven to curb the feelings of loneliness. By coming up with a strategy ahead of time, you won’t get stuck doing nothing, and will find it much easier to navigate being alone on the holidays. You might even come up with some really great plans to look forward to, just from putting a little effort in! Some of the most popular solutions are to set your expectations, make plans and spend time in the company of others, as explored below.

Set Expectations and Make Plans

One of the best pieces of advice around managing the holidays is to set your expectations for what will happen. The holidays aren’t always magical - in some cases with all the cooking, shopping, seeing in-laws and travel, it actually just ends up being stressful! So keep your expectations realistic; set yourself up to have a nice day doing what you want to do.

Make sure you also take the time to plan some fun things to do throughout the holiday period, especially on days that might be more difficult to be alone on -  having something really nice planned for yourself can really make a difference. It can be as simple as ordering in your favourite food, getting into your PJs and watching your favourite show - just something to look forward to.

Some people prefer to spend the holidays alone sometimes for this very reason: they can use the time for themselves, guilt-free. Finishing off a DIY project, reading a good book all day or go for a walk are all things we don’t make a lot of time for day-to-day; the holidays are the perfect time to treat yourself to some ‘me-time’!

Find People to Spend Time With

If you prefer the company of others but you will be alone on the holidays, ask around and see if there are any friends, colleagues or extended relatives that are in the same position or would like to include you as part of their celebration. Other ways to be around people at Christmas include:

  • Volunteering: soup kitchens, nursing homes and homeless shelters love having volunteers around the holidays. Not only will you get to spend time with new people who are grateful for you being there, you’ll feel really fulfilled by helping those in need.
  • Singles organisations: not the most common option, but if you are without a partner it can be great to go to a gathering of people in the same boat as you. There are options out there for holiday packages for singles, or simply a get-together in your town or city.


As you can see, there are plenty of choices for someone spending the holidays alone. It doesn’t have to be flashy or extravagant - just make sure you do something nice for yourself and potentially for others as well.

If you are feeling alone or lonely, and would like some support and guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us to talk. MyCoach is available online or over the phone, designed to help people through whatever challenges they may be facing.