Loneliness over the Christmas period

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Health Assured team

10 December 2021

There are always two sides to every story. Although Christmastime brings joy on the surface—there’s also a sharp rise in loneliness affecting many people at this time of year. And the heightened sense of festive 'cheer' can cause these lonely feelings to echo all the more.

Loneliness can affect everyone—regardless of your age or life situation. So while we step into the swing of the festive period, it’s important to remember to check in with ourselves and others around us. 

This intention seems to especially hold true when we consider the persistent stigma around loneliness. Research shows that over a third (36%) of people are too embarrassed to admit that they are lonely at Christmas¹. When we’re in a cycle of negative emotion, it’s difficult to have the courage to speak up and reach out to others. But beyond this small step lies connection and support. From online support groups to free phone helplines and the people around you—there’s always someone you can confide in. 

In this blog, we’re going to look at why we feel more alone at Christmas. Then, we'll offer a few tips to help you ease lonely feelings in the moment. 

Why do we feel more alone at Christmas? 


The dark December days and lack of sunlight the winter months bring can trigger depressive symptoms for some people. It's a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD can cause low energy, concentration problems and even suicidal feelings in some. The juxtaposition between the picture of the perfect Christmas and a difficult reality can add weight to these already heavy feelings. 


Because Christmas is generally a time that most people get together with families and loved ones, it can be extremely difficult for those who have lost. Bereavement is different for everyone. But for most, it’s a slow and emotional process. The festive season holds traditions and memories with the people closest to us, which can sometimes trigger challenging feelings and emotions to arise. 

No support networks 

There will be many people spending Christmas alone this year. If you’re one of them, then keep reading on to find some tips that might help you if you’re struggling. Having no support network is hard when the pressure is on to socialise and get together with others. This lack of support can be extremely isolating over the festive period.

Ways to cope with Loneliness this Christmas 

If you’re feeling lonely this Christmas, know that these feelings won't last forever. If someone you know is struggling, make sure you check in on them regularly to see how they are doing. The below tips should bring some relief from difficult emotions. 

5-4-3-2-1: grounding in the now 

Grounding exercises bring you into the present moment. They take your mind away from negative thought patterns that could be fuelling your lonely feelings. The simple 5-4-3-2-1 approach gets you to focus on:

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste 

When we focus our spotlight of attention on the now, it helps to ease anxiety, stress and tension. Try this technique if you’re feeling overwhelmed during the festive season. 

Write it down 

When we’re bogged down by negative emotion, it can feel like a grey cloud lingering over our heads that’s impossible to escape from. Writing down emotions, thoughts and feelings can help you reflect on them and process them. You might find it puts some distance between you and your thoughts, taking the worries out of your mind—and on to the page. 


Giving your time and energy to others less fortunate than you helps you appreciate the good things in your own life. It provides a connection with others and boosts your self-esteem too. It also means you're giving back to people in need. It could be serving food at a homeless shelter or getting involved with a charity appeal. 

Christmas self-care 

Remember to be kind to yourself this Christmas. Do things that make you feel good, and don’t be hard on yourself. This time of year comes with pressures and perceptions about how Christmas should be. So remember to take it easy. Have a hot bath, read a book, bake a cake, take a walk. These activities will give you something to put your energy into, which helps to provide a little more peace in your life. 

If you are feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas, you are not alone. The Health Assured confidential helpline is available 24/7, 365.


¹ Mind, 2017, https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/third-of-people-too-embarrassed-to-admit-they-are-lonely-at-christmas/ 


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