Mental Health Professionals Share Strategies to Combat Loneliness During The Festive Season

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Feelings of loneliness during festival

As the Indian festive season unfolds with a flurry of celebrations, some find themselves grappling with the feelings of loneliness amidst the vibrant festivities.

Even in a crowd, the heart seeks the solace of genuine connection. While this experience is not uncommon, the underlying reasons for it can vary greatly from person to person, as highlighted by Psychologist Jyoti Dadlani in an interview with HT Lifestyle.

For some, living abroad and being unable to travel home may be a source of loneliness. Others may experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) triggered by seeing posts and pictures of loved ones celebrating on social media.

Some may struggle with strained family relationships or face financial difficulties. Cultural or religious reasons may also lead to a sense of isolation.

Additionally, for many, the absence of a date or partner during this season can heighten feelings of loneliness.

According to a survey, 30 percent of Indians admitted to moments of self-consciousness about their single status during this season, while 32 percent confessed to feeling a sense of lonesomeness without a companion to share the festivals with. In fact, around 33% of adults have experienced loneliness at some point in their lives.

To address these feelings, Dadlani offers practical tips for coping with loneliness during the festive period and beyond:

1. Celebrate Alone

Embrace the opportunity to indulge in self-care by planning one special activity for each day of Diwali. Whether it’s decorating your home, engaging in mood-lifting activities, or brightening someone else’s day, these moments of self-connection can be deeply fulfilling.

2. Create Opportunities for Socializing

If celebrating alone feels challenging, seek out opportunities to connect with loved ones through video calls or in-person gatherings. Extend invitations to friends or colleagues who may also be experiencing similar feelings of isolation.

3. Expand Social Circles

Engage in activities that facilitate contact with new people, such as joining a group or participating in a course. Reconnecting with existing social circles or forming new ones can provide a sense of belonging.

4. Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

Cultivating gratitude and engaging in mindfulness practices like journaling, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help anchor you in the present moment and manage feelings of loneliness effectively.

5. Seek Professional Support

If loneliness persists and significantly impacts your well-being, consider seeking assistance from a mental health professional. Therapy or counseling can equip you with tools and strategies to navigate loneliness and enhance emotional resilience.

6. Time for Reflection

Use the festive season as an opportunity for introspection. Ask yourself whether your loneliness is a temporary result of the holiday period or if it’s indicative of a broader need for connection. Open communication about your feelings is crucial for understanding and addressing them.

Seema Rekha, Managing Director at Antarmanh Consulting, emphasizes the significance of connection as the antidote to loneliness and offers additional tips for a more joyful holiday season:

1. Reach Out

Take the initiative to connect with friends and family through calls or messages. Small gestures can go a long way in fostering a sense of togetherness.

2. Volunteer

Consider contributing to a charitable cause during the holidays. Giving back to the community can instill a sense of purpose and belonging.

3. Engage in Online Communities

Join forums or social media groups aligned with your interests. Engaging with like-minded individuals can provide a sense of camaraderie.

4. Prioritize Self-Care

Dedicate time to activities that promote self-care, such as reading, exercising, or practicing mindfulness. These practices can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.

5. Establish Traditions

Create or revisit holiday traditions that bring comfort and connection. Rituals can provide a sense of continuity and belonging.

In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that feelings of loneliness are a common experience, and you’re not alone in navigating them. By actively seeking connection and prioritizing self-care, you can transform the festive season into a time of warmth and meaningful connection

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