Are you alone this Thanksgiving? Holidays can be a difficult time, I know, I really do because I’ve been there, and it dawned on me today that many of you may be literally alone or simply feeling very alone and unsupported, so, here are my top 5 tips from experience, for surviving the holiday weekend.
#1 Spend Quality Time With Yourself.
Yes I know, you want and may need connection, but we often overlook the need to nurture our inner souls. Sometimes we can’t even bear to because the soul of us is hurting so deeply we are afraid of it. Ultimately, we scare ourselves away from the one person who should care the most about our personal well being…US.
So, begin by sitting quietly with yourself. Find a quiet safe place at home, at a park, in a greenhouse space, or run a hot bath with candles. Close your eyes and connect to the lonely feelings inside of you. It will feel palpable, like dread, weight, heaviness in the heart, or in your throat. Or maybe it’s in your head. Once you connect to it, say to it, “I feel you” and then visualize letting that feeling move out of your body, up and out. Spin it out like a tornado, or cough it out! However you visualize this dark matter leaving your body, just release it out into the universe. Breath through this process as holding your breath makes it harder to let go. Once the feeling is gone visualize warm heat from the sun filling up that empty space and expanding throughout your body. This warmth can be universal light or light from a higher power, whatever you choose. You should feel some immediate relief. It may take a few times to do this type of release work, but it is so worth it.
When we take the time to connect with ourselves, we take responsibility to nurture ourselves in a way that most others cannot, and we come to love and accept ourselves more deeply, even those lonely needy parts!
#2 Reach Out To Someone.
Often when we are alone, it’s hard to get outside of ourselves and give to others in need because our own needs are so great. Sometimes we feel so empty and deprived that we feel as though we have literally nothing to give. But this is just our ego playing out the victim and keeping us desperately stuck and wallowing in self-pity. Over-ride this by forcing yourself to reach out to someone. In essence you are telling your ego that it is lying to you and that you in fact do have something within you to offer. Doing this often and consistently can break your victimhood. No doubt, we can truly be victims of circumstance and of others, but we do not have to be held hostage. You are strong enough to overcome anything given the will. And as they say, you can choose to work against it and even fake it ‘til you make it! So pick up the phone and call someone. Don’t wait for anyone to call you!
#3 Watch Something Funny!
You got it. Get into your favorite pj’s, settle in with a cozy blanket, get a bowl of your favorite snacks (popcorn with melted butter, honey and chocolate is my personal homemade fav!) and watch something funny. Nothing is worse than being alone and having nothing to do, or worse, watching dark, scary, heavy shows! If you don’t have Netflix then pull out your favorite old classics (mine are Seinfeld or Monty Python), or find a podcast or radio show to brighten the mood. Even a good funny book will do! And if you have one, invite a friend, who might also be alone, or just willing to hang out, to join you. If you don’t it’s totally fine! If you prefer being alone just embrace it. The sooner you do the happier you will feel.
#4 Let It All Out!
It’s a common fact that holidays often bring out the worst in people. Human relationships are complex and family systems are not the fairytales that long outdated post war 50’s propaganda campaigns had us believing! You may be feeling isolated due to a breakup, stigmatizing issues like cyclical abuse in family systems, or bullying. You may have left a bad situation and are standing your ground alone because others do not care to understand, are incapable of getting it, or do not have the same courage to stand with you. My daughter and I experienced this firsthand and it was extremely traumatizing. We had to lose everything to get out of a horrible situation and then suffer through a long process of isolation and letting it out: Letting out the disappointment, the rage, the hurt, the seeming unfairness. How did we do that?
Well, this is going to sound a bit weird, but honestly, we had to do some radical things to purge our minds and souls of the negative feelings we developed towards others who had abandoned us like yesterday’s trash. At some point along this journey, I read that it’s okay and quite necessary, to get mad (really freaking mad!) and have an all-out adult temper tantrum! If you are like me, you may have never had childhood tantrums, or maybe you weren’t allowed to (without getting spanked)! So I waited until I was alone and totally let loose! I screamed into a pillow, beat the bed, flung myself around, kicked at the air! Believe me, it may not have felt like my finest moment, but it felt great! By the time I was done, I was like most kids, looking around wondering what all the fuss was about. I effectively knocked down the fire and poured water on the coals until there was nothing left to rage at.
Another way to do this is to go for a good run, furiously ride a bike (hills help), or if housebound due to this year’s record precipitation, do a workout in knee-deep snow, snow suit and all! Do this often, as often as you need! My personal favorite is jumping on a trampoline cause that way you just feel like a kid again, jumping on the bed. It will put a smile back on your face and bring you more into balance!
#5 Don’t Isolate Yourself!
I know, I know, you feel rotten and don’t want to be around people, and as an introvert I get that more than you know. But sometimes we have to give ourselves a little kick in a direction, even if we have to drag ourselves out kicking and screaming! I’m the queen of homebody, I mean, there’s nothing I look forward to more everyday than being in my little cave! But it gets lonely in here at times too, and especially on holidays. So put on something comfy and get out to the mall, a park, help out at a soup kitchen, basically wherever there are people, and spread a little cheer where you can. There are loads of people out there feeling just like you do, trust me, and a hello or a smile or a light conversation with that nice lady who just lost her husband a year ago, can really make someone’s day a bit brighter. If you don’t believe me then go try it yourself. It’s shocking how many people are feeling isolated. This all goes back to point #2. If you stay hiding indoors in your little cave you will never know who else might need a little attention too. And who knows? You might just meet your next best friend!
Here’s a little story related to this that I want to share. One year, my girl and I spent thanksgiving at an event that we were invited to participate in. It was not well organized and rather shoddily put together. Now this is not nice to admit, but we ended up in giggles at one point in the presentation when you could honestly hear a pin drop (you know, like the kind of giggles you got as a young girl with your sister during a serious sermon in church)! I hadn’t laughed like that in years, nor had I laughed like that during a public event with my own daughter! It was a sweet bonding moment that we still talk about, and later we got to share in a thanksgiving buffet that reminded us of family get-togethers from the distant past. Sure, we only had each other, and that was okay. We were warriors of a brand new world creating our own memories and enjoying laughs that we never would have shared had we stayed indoors!
Being alone at Thanksgiving is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be torture. Maybe you have some tips to share of your own. If you do, we'd love to hear them in the comments below! Until next time…
Love & Peace,