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Tackling loneliness this Christmas

Holidays such as Christmas are a time of raised emotions, which means that we’re likely to experience our feelings more acutely, whether good or bad. This also means that it isn’t unusual for individuals struggling with loneliness to experience this to a greater extent during the festive period: perhaps you don’t have close friends or family to spend the holiday with, or have experienced a loss which still feels raw.

If this is familiar then one of the first things to remember is that you are not alone in your loneliness. At this time of year, many people face the fact that the holiday doesn’t always live up to what seems to be promised in festive films and songs.

This year, we have teamed up with the mental health charity Mind to raise money and support an important cause. Mind recognise that while loneliness is not a mental health problem in and of itself, the two can be closely tied, and so they provide a number of useful resources designed to help people combat the feeling of being lonely.

Alongside the resources provided by Mind – which we fully recommend to anybody facing this issue, and also invite you to share with others in this situation – here are a few suggestions for specific activities which could help with loneliness this coming Christmas.

Reach out with volunteer work

Even volunteering to walk your neighbour's dog is a chance to help someone out and strike a human connection. 

If you’re able to step out of your home and volunteer at a local organisation such as a hospice or a soup kitchen, then you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who need to see a friendly face this Christmas – and providing that for them can be a great way to alleviate any loneliness of your own.

You could also choose to visit a care home to meet with people who may not have any friends or family to spend time with. By showing that you care, taking the time to hear their stories and offering some warm human company you can make a big contribution towards tackling somebody else’s loneliness this Christmas. 

For some ideas, take a look at the 1 Million Minutes campaign page on Neighbourly, which is full of opportunities for volunteering in communities across the country. The 1 Million Minutes campaign is being run by Good Morning Britain, and is all about tackling loneliness this December.

Create your own traditions

When you try volunteering you might find that you’re a natural at it, in which case you could consider making it a new festive tradition. Creating traditions that are about connecting with other people - such as participating in random acts of kindness, gathering donations for a local charity or taking part in a carol service – gives you a chance to alleviate any loneliness that you may be feeling yourself whilst also spreading some festive joy.

Look for community events

Many different groups within your community may be running events on our around Christmas, ranging from carol concerts to full Christmas dinners. On the Community Christmas website you can find community Christmas lunch events in your area, with information for people who wish to register as guests or as volunteers.

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