Mental Health

Alone at Christmas: 7 things to do if you’re feeling lonely this festive season

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Lauren Geall
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A woman on Zoom at Christmas

Whether you’re struggling with being separated from family or are spending Christmas alone, keep yourself busy with this list of mood-boosting activities.

It’s safe to say that yesterday’s announcement placed a dampener on many of our Christmas celebrations.

Whether you’re unable to visit family, have had to uninvite incoming guests or will be spending the day alone, the last-minute shift in plans will come as a shock to all of us. And of course, one of the biggest worries on many of our plates right now will be how to cope with spending the day away from the people we love.

Indeed, as a time traditionally reserved for loved ones, spending Christmas alone or separated from friends and family can seem like an unthinkable prospect. 

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It’s OK if you’re feeling sad, disappointed or worried about the last-minute change in plans – but if you’re looking for ways to cope with any feelings of loneliness or isolation you might be experiencing, there are a number of virtual events, activities and support networks you can access to make the most of this year’s celebrations.

With this in mind, we’ve put together this guide to all the things you can do this Christmas if you’re feeling lonely – and we’ll be adding in all the latest information right up until the day itself. From unlimited Zoom calls to virtual conversations, here’s everything you need to know. 

  • Join a Citysocializer event

    Citysocializer is an online social community which sees experts host fun, engaging events that are publicly available for anyone to join from just £1.99.

    With this Christmas looking a little different for many of us, the platform is hosting a number of events to give people spending the day alone a chance to connect with others in the same situation. From their Christmas Unwrapped event, which will give attendees the opportunity to open presents together, to the ’Christmas Day Festive Fun and Chat’ session which aims to bring a bit of festive spirit to everyone’s day, there’s plenty to get involved in.

    And that’s not forgetting all the amazing events taking place in the run-up to and after Christmas, from a festive quiz night to a Boxing Day murder mystery, there are plenty of options.  

  • Take part in Sarah Millican’s #JoinIn

    Every year, comedian Sarah Millican hosts #JoinIn – a virtual conversation for people feeling lonely on Christmas.

    Whether you’re spending Christmas day alone or simply aren’t in the festive spirit this year, taking part in the #JoinIn conversation is a brilliant way to connect with people all over the world and receive or give support.

    You don’t need any special reason to take part – whether you want to share your experience or simply want to chat about what chocolates you’re eating, there’s space for everyone in this worldwide conversation. 

  • Join Mind’s Side by Side community

    If you’re struggling with your mental health and want to talk about it with people who understand, the Side by Side community from mental health charity Mind is a great place to start.

    Available for all 24 hours a day seven days a week, Side by Side provides a safe place for you to speak openly about your experiences and/or provide support for others going through a difficult time.

    It’s free to join and is a brilliant resource if you need to chat without fear of judgement.

  • Spend the day on Zoom

    For those looking to connect with family this Christmas, throughout the festive period Zoom will be removing their 40-minute meeting limit on free accounts to allow unlimited meetings throughout the day.

    In the UK, restrictions will be lifted from 3pm on 23 December until 1am on 26 December, and again at 3pm on 30 December until 1am on 2 January.  

  • Play board games online

    A woman playing board games online with family
    Alone at Christmas: playing a board game with friends and family online is a great way to pass the time.

    For many of us, playing board games with friends and family is the highlight of our festive season – and thanks to modern technology, you can continue that tradition online.

    Not only can you set up the board and play via Zoom (if both of you own the game in question), but during the pandemic, lots of our favourite board and card games released their own virtual versions to allow people to connect online

    You can check out our guide to the best board games to play this Christmas to find out more. 

  • Give or receive on One Another

    A woman delivering shopping to an elderly relative
    Alone at Christmas: giving your time is a great way to stay busy over the festive period.

    If you’re looking to connect with people in your local community, social kindness platform One Another could be exactly what you’re looking for.

    Whether you want to volunteer your time, request assistance from a local person or share a note of gratitude with your community, One Another allows users to connect with like-minded people in a secure place.

  • Volunteer to chat to someone

    For those looking to keep busy this Christmas, the NHS and Royal Voluntary Service have partnered with Christmas Together to recruit volunteers to help others feeling isolated to receive the support they need.

    Whether you fancy being a Community Response Volunteer – someone who gets out and about to deliver groceries, essential supplies and help where needed – or a Check In and Chat Volunteer – someone who provides short-term telephone support to people at risk of loneliness – it’s easy to sign-up.

    Simply visit the website and submit an application to get started. 

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with loneliness, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.

If you are struggling with your mental health as a result of loneliness, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.

For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

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