How to cope with loneliness at Christmas

Every year, thousands of people up and down the UK spend the festive season alone. Here’s how to cope with loneliness at Christmas time

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by Fiona Day |

Loneliness affects all ages, but according to statistics it’s most likely to affect those over the age of 65, and more increasingly young people aged 18-24.

The Samaritans sees a large spike in calls from people suffering the effects of loneliness and depression during the festive season.

A volunteer from the Wolverhampton branch of the charity told her local paper: “We get 2,000 calls every month. Over the Christmas and New Year period we see an increase in calls by about 20 per cent.

“It’s a bit of everything really. Calls are mainly about isolation and loneliness. It tends to be older people who call about that but it can be any age.

“They can call just to hear a voice on the other end of the phone. They just want to hear a human voice. It’s not unusual for someone to stay on the phone for an hour.”

As people retreat to their loved ones and offices and businesses close for the holiday period, those without immediate family and close friends can struggle to cope alone.

If you are struggling this Christmas…

  • Share your problem with someone. Even if this means phoning up a volunteer at a Samaritans helpline, just making that point of contact can help you feel far less isolated. Volunteers are trained to help those feeling the lowest they have ever felt in their life, so there is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. They are happy to help you.

Christmas can bring back painful memories of the loss of a loved one
Christmas can bring back painful memories of the loss of a loved one
  • If Christmas is an anniversary of something upsetting (such as divorce or loss of a loved one) try and use the occasion to remember your loved ones or use it as a reason to create new memories to help you move on from bad periods in your life

  • If you are worried about money, try and focus on being around loved ones rather than spending large sums of cash on presents. Material items don’t last, but memories will.

  • Look out for elderly neighbours and friends who you know don’t have a large family. Drop by on Christmas day with a card or just to say hello, or give them a call. You might just make their day.

Anyone who wants to volunteer for Samaritans should call 08705 627282 or go to www.samaritans.org

To talk to Samaritans about a problem call 0845 7909090.

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