I remember a Christmas in which I spent the day entirely by myself. Strategy #1: sleep as late as possible. Strategy #2: fill up the day with as many things to occupy my time without feeling lonely.
It didn’t work, at least not completely. I was sad and depressed for much of the day. I focused on getting through it and moving on, believing that other years would be better.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. You can have a wonderful time by yourself—you can travel alone, go to restaurants alone, and generally appreciate the chance to be reflective without all the noise.
But sometimes, if you’re on your own when everyone else is being festive, exchanging gifts and eating big meals with family, you can’t help but feel sad. No amount of saying “Hey, cheer up!” will help—you just have to get through it.
If you’re alone during this holiday season, you’re probably not the only one. And remember the old saying, misattributed to lots of people but true nonetheless: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”
See also: this post by Elizabeth Potts-Weinstein