How to Deal with Loneliness on Thanksgiving
Are you going to be alone on Thanksgiving? Sometimes we are alone on holidays by choice and other times by chance. When you have social anxiety, it can be a little of both. Perhaps part of you really wants to be with family and friends, but another part of you feels anxiety about the whole holiday.
I can relate! I love all the traditions of thanksgiving and taking time to celebrate the holiday, but I also know the feeling of being overwhelmed and burnt out from so much social activity.
I would hate to think of you sitting alone on Thanksgiving though, so I’ve come up with 10 ways to help you cope if you find yourself in that spot this year.
Feel Less Alone in a Group
If you can’t spend Thanksgiving with friends or family but want to feel less alone, one way to accomplish this would be to join a group of people for the holiday.
There are no rules as to what this group would entail: you might find a solo travellers bus tour someplace interesting or a soup kitchen where you can volunteer. Look at bulletin boards in your community to see what events are taking place over the weekend and if there’s anything that interests you.
You could even dial it down a bit and just go somwhere public like a park or go for a walk so that you feel less alone on this day.
Connect in a Different Way
If you want to feel less alone on Thanksgiving, you could also try journaling or writing letters to your friends and family. I know, I know, nobody does that anymore! But that’s all the more reason to do it. You’ll be unique in a sea of sameness and stand out.
If writing to others feels like too much, you could also write a letter to your social anxiety. Huh? Yes, a letter to social confidence.
Pretend it’s a person, and write about how you wish you had it, why you wish it was easy for you, what you’ve done to try to have it. Sounds a bit nutty I know, but this is one way to start manifesting what you want in life.
Learn Something New
Have you wanted to learn a new hobby or try a new sport? You could turn Thanksgiving into an annual tradition of the first day that you tried something new.
I became a vegetarian shortly after Thanksgiving in 2017, so that’s been an anchoring point for me every year going forward. Having a hobby can also make it easier to make small talk, especially if it’s something that you really enjoy.
Declutter Your Home
I’ll be honest, I never quite understood the decluttering movement. I tend to be a “hold on to it forever” girl because I’m always afraid that I will need something in the future. That changed for me recently when I started using a capsule wardrobe (as part of the GYPO Style Challenges series).
I realized… that all the stuff in my life was actually preventing me from having the life I want. Not only that, but by holding on to it I was subconsciously telling myself that I was lacking. That I needed not to let things go, because they would never come back to me.
Once you change your mindset to a place of having enough, you’ll start to be able to let things go that are no longer serving you. It’s quite a freeing feeling. One way I make it fun is to find a “essentials” list for the room I want to declutter on a blog.
For example, I took inspiration from the Fresh Exchange when I went through my kitchen. Then I made a list of things I need to add to my kitchen. This meant I would get to go on a hunt to find those items, which felt more fun to me than just getting rid of stuff.
(Watch the video below for advice on how to explain to others why you might be choosing to be alone on Thanksgiving)
Go For a Walk
If you find your thoughts starting to swirl with anxiety, try going outside for a walk. Outdoor activity has been shown to lead to a better mood compared to sitting inside or even walking on a treadmill. 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 and it’s the prettiest time of year to walk in nature areas.
Help Others to Feel Less Alone
How do you feel less alone on a holiday that is all about family? Put the needs of others ahead of your own who are less fortunate than you. If you have a roof over your head and enough food not to go hungry, than you are more fortunate than some people in your town or city.
Where I live, this time of year is all about donations to the food bank. In high school, I used to travel with my classmates to collect canned goods each Thanksgiving. It was a fun activity to do as a group that was also for a good cause. Do something that makes you feel good about what you are doing.
Create a Patchwork Thanksgiving
Who says Thanksgiving needs to be spent only with family? Especially in these times where families are often spread around the globe, it’s not out of the question to create a patchwork Thanksgiving made up of coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, etc. who have nowhere else to go.
If you feel too anxious to suggest such an event, start by being open to invitations you receive to other people’s Thanksgiving dinners. You don’t have to spend the holiday alone if people have invited you to their home. Don’t feel guilty about intruding—you were invited.
That’s it! If you are feeling alone on Thanksgiving, consider going to a public place, writing letters, learning something new, decluttering your home, going for a walk, helping others, or attending someone else’s Thanksgiving. What about you? Have you ever spent Thanksgiving alone? I’d love to hear how you coped in the comments.
Related Articles about Holiday Stress
- How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety
- Coping with Depression During the Holidays
- Why I Stopped Decluttering for Good