How to Celebrate Alone on Thanksgiving
The holiday season is upon us once again. For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family, eat delicious food, and enjoy each other’s company. However, for those with social anxiety, the thought of spending this holiday alone can bring about feelings of loneliness, isolation, and sadness.
The best way to combat these feelings is to make a plan as to how you will spend your holiday. Regardless of whether you are spending Thanksgiving alone by choice or due to circumstance, there are plenty of activities that you can do to make the most out of your day.
It’s also important to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. Many people with social anxiety find the holidays to be a stressful time of year. In this blog post, I will discuss some coping strategies for those who are alone on Thanksgiving.
Journal Your Thoughts
If you want to feel better about being alone on Thanksgiving, try writing in a journal. Research has shown that writing about your emotions and experiences can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Take some time to reflect on your feelings, the reasons why you are alone on Thanksgiving, and what you are thankful for in your life.
You could even use a sunburst gratitude worksheet like the one I describe in this post. This will not only help you process your thoughts and emotions, but it can also provide a positive perspective on the situation.
Watch TV, Netflix, or Prime Video
Another way to pass the time on Thanksgiving is by binge-watching your favorite shows or movies. This can provide a distraction from negative thoughts and also give you an excuse to relax and enjoy some quality entertainment.
Whether it’s watching classic holiday movies, catching up on the latest series, or exploring new genres, there is no shortage of options when it comes to streaming content. If you haven’t already, sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and explore the vast selection of movies and TV shows.
I like to make a list of shows or movies I’ve been wanting to watch and save them for special occasions like this. It’s also helpful to have something to look forward to.
American football is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Whether you are a fan or not, you can still enjoy the excitement and camaraderie of watching a game. Find out which teams are playing on Thanksgiving and tune in to cheer for your favorite team or simply appreciate the skill and athleticism of the players.
You could also gather with other sports fans virtually via video call or social media to watch together and share in the experience. This can give you a sense of community and connection, even if you are physically alone. I myself am not a sports fan, but I’ve found that watching games with others can be a fun and enjoyable experience.
Declutter Your Belongings
Thanksgiving is also a great time to declutter and organize your living space. Not only will this give you something productive to do, but it can also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Start with small tasks like organizing a bookshelf or clearing out your closet.
You could also take on larger projects such as rearranging furniture or deep cleaning an area of your home. It’s amazing how much better you can feel in a clean and organized space. I find that decluttering and organizing can also be therapeutic, allowing you to focus on the task at hand and provide a sense of control.
If you find yourself feeling down about being alone on Thanksgiving, try going outside for a walk or hike. Research has shown outdoor activity to lead to a better mood compared to sitting inside or even walking on a treadmill.
Spending time in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as boost your mood. Take in the beauty of the changing leaves or snap some photos to capture the moment. Even if it’s just for a short walk around your neighborhood, getting some fresh air and sunlight can make a big difference in how you feel.
This can be particularly helpful if you live with seasonal depression or tend to feel down this time of year. Choose somewhere beautiful to walk. Where I live, the leaves are changing colors in the fall. It’s the prettiest time of year to walk in nature areas.
How to Double Your Social Confidence in 5 Minutes"
Check out this free training offered by the experts at Social Self!
- How to use "Conversational Threading" to avoid awkward silence
- The proven way to get past boring small talk
- Instantly beat self-consciousness with the "OFC-method"
- Busting the myth that you have to get a "more interesting life" to be more interesting"
Connect with Others Online
If you are alone on Thanksgiving but have friends or family living afar, consider alternative ways to connect.
You could arrange to do a Facetime or Zoom while you eat your Thanksgiving meal. Or, you could host a watch party on Facebook and watch a favorite movie together while you eat your dessert.
You could even incorporate a contest into your online meet-up, such as who can create the most interesting centerpiece.
If you don’t have anyone to connect with through Facetime or Zoom, you could still connect with others online by playing online games or posting photos on social media of what you are doing for Thanksgiving. Post a photo of your hike or the meal that you’ve cooked and see if others respond.
Start a Project
Have you wanted to learn a new hobby or try a new project? You could turn Thanksgiving into an annual tradition of the first day that you tried something new.
Having a hobby can also make it easier to make small talk, especially if it’s something that you really enjoy.
Ideas might include doing a cross stitch, starting a jigsaw puzzle, trying a crochet project, or buying a kit to start growing succulents.
Read/Listen to a Book
If you know that you will be alone on Thanksgiving, it could be the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book, or put on some headphones and listen to an audiobook.
If you haven’t tried Audible, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial and start listening right away. Audible is an audiobook subscription service through Amazon that gives you a credit each month to choose an audiobook to add to your library.
I like this service because it ensures I will listen to at least one book a month. You can also exchange a book if you find you don’t like it and pause the service for up to 3 months if you know you won’t be using it.
Below are some book recommendations to get you started.
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
- 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
- The Happiness Project
Eat Good Food
Just because you will be alone on Thanksgiving, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some good food.
Make this a day to relax and indulge in your dream dinner. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of money, either.
It could mean simply getting your favorite takeout food. It might mean packing up a picnic basket of your takeout and taking it to a local park (weather permitting).
Even if you are alone, you might take a moment to light a candle and pour yourself a glass of wine (or your favorite beverage).
If you like to cook, consider making a whole feast for yourself. You could make a fancy dessert. Or make yourself waffles piled high with berries and whipped cream for breakfast.
If you do have some local friends and family but can’t get together, consider doing a socially distanced potluck. This means each person is assigned to make a certain number of single servings of one part of the meal. Then, you all meet up at a pre-determined location and collect the other parts of your meal.
This way, no one person has to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for themselves, and everyone gets to enjoy trying each other’s dishes. Just be sure to include reheating instructions.
Also – try putting on some relaxing music while you eat to improve the ambience. Whatever you would do for your guests, try doing for yourself.
(If you need some Thanksgiving alone humor, watch the video below from Youtuber Cayla Brady)
Why not? Black Friday is almost upon you, so you might as well start scouring for deals. Go online and make a plan for your Christmas shopping or scope out the best Black Friday deals. Again, if you don’t already have Amazon Prime, be sure to sign up so that you can save on shipping (plus get some free movies to watch while you are alone).
If you do have traditions from childhood or previous family gatherings that you enjoy, then go back to those traditions. That might mean decorating your house, watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV, watching football, or something else. You get to choose which traditions you want to uphold when you are alone on Thanksgiving.
Get Some Sleep
Thanksgiving is a holiday from work for most people. Consider sleeping in or taking a nap. Nobody is going to mind if you get some extra sleep today. If you’ve been feeling stressed or like you haven’t been getting enough rest, this could be the perfect day to take it.
Be Helpful to Others
One way to feel better about your own situation is to focus on how you can help other people. If you have a roof over your head and enough food not to go hungry, then you are more fortunate than those who do not have those things.
Do something that makes you feel good about what you are doing. That might mean dropping off food at the local food bank, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or doing random acts of kindness.
Reach Out for Help
Finally, if you really find that you are struggling and it’s more than just feeling down about being alone on Thanksgiving, consider reaching out for help. I recommend Betterhelp online therapy if you are looking to speak to a licensed mental health professional at an affordable price. My readers receive 20% off their first month of therapy.
If you are feeling alone on Thanksgiving, know that there are many other people going through the same feelings as you. I hope that you found some ideas in this post to get you through the holiday.
Related Articles about Holiday Stress
WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? SAVE 7 WAYS TO COPE WITH BEING ALONE ON THANKSGIVING TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
Alone on Thanksgiving (13 Ways to Cope)
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
Social Anxiety Masterclass: The Social Anxiety Masterclass is my signature course where I walk you through everything I know about how to manage social anxiety.
Audible Subscription: I recommend a lot of self-help books on this site, but I actually prefer an audiobook subscription over print books! My favorite subscription service is Audible because it has all the best-sellers and they stay in your digital library forever (even if you end your subscription). You can sign up for a free trial and listen to your first two books for free.
Online Therapy: For online therapy, I have personally used and like the service offered by Betterhelp. It's easy to get started from the comfort of your home. You'll even get a discount on your first month of therapy when you use my link.