One of the things that makes Christmas so special are the many memories associated with it. These memories can date all the way back to childhood, and though the specifics may fade with time, emotional ties to them often remain just as strong. Holiday cheer may be present, however, nostalgia causes some to feel sentimental around this time of year, aching for people, places or times of the past.
There are many reasons someone may be dealing with sadness or loneliness this season. Though someone may otherwise be content with their social relationships throughout the year, constantly seeing images of communal celebrations and fellowship during the holiday season can easily make a person feel like everyone else is celebrating together and that they are alone. Next time you notice someone who seems sad or lonely during this time of year, use some of these simple ways to brighten their day.
Send a Card
You may not know the right words to say, but that’s what cards are for. Ranging in tones of warmth, there are countless cards for nearly every occasion, including simple “just thinking of you,” messages. Sending a card is an easy way to let someone know you’re thinking of them and are there to support them through whatever they’re going through. This small gesture can bring a some comfort to someone who’s a little down, and gives them space and privacy, while letting them know they’re cared for and not alone.
Bring Some Treats
Whether it’s a cup of coffee in the morning or a good afternoon read, we all have our certain comforts in life that we look forward to throughout the day. It’s the little things that actually have a big impact on our day, and you can brighten someone else’s by giving them something that’s simple, yet considerate. A small gift basket of homemade treats could be just the pick-me-up they need and it’s something they can enjoy for themselves, or share with others which promotes social interaction that can be beneficial to them.
Spend a Little Time
Some people may isolate themselves out of sadness, while others may do so out of shyness. If you suspect someone isn’t getting a lot of social interaction this season, gently encourage them to join you or others whenever possible. Invite them to participate in holiday activities going on in the community, or even ordinary activities that aren’t seasonal like going for a walk or watching a sports game together. Enlist their help with a few easy projects or tasks. If the person declines the invitation, it’s important to respect their wishes, but try to use your intuition to differentiate between hesitancy and outright resistance.
Give Help to Others
As humans, we’re an empathetic species and watching others suffer deeply affects us. Similarly, watching others be lifted up makes us feel good, especially when we have a direct hand in it. One of the most effective ways to help someone cope with sadness or loneliness is to have them help others. It may seem like the last thing someone dealing with their own struggles would want to do, but making a difference allows one to feel purposeful and can offer perspective and even prompt gratitude for one’s own situation. There are countless opportunities to give back in a meaningful way this season. Look up these opportunities in your local paper or with helpful websites like Volunteer Match.
The holidays are ripe for celebration, and it’s important to offer support to those who may be struggling to enjoy it.Though you may not be able to “fix” anyone’s sadness or loneliness, any of the aforementioned ideas are just a few ways to go about being a good friend and neighbor to those in need this season.
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