Holidays can be a very lonely time, particularly for those who spend the holidays solo. Below are ten tips to keep yourself balanced, sane and productive over the holidays, with options for both extroverts and introverts alike.

1) Plan your time in advance

You’ll have several days to fill up, so be proactive. Find books and movies you have always wanted to read and watch, and make a list of events that you’d like to attend. Without a plan you might find yourself being alone and bored, which will lower your spirits.

2) Use your time wisely

Make a list of things you have always wanted to do but never had the time for. See this time alone as a gift: a stretch of time where you have total control to do whatever you want. Use it wisely.

3) Find support

Extroverts can reach out to others to touch base during the holidays. Note that scheduling time to talk with friends and loved ones makes contact more likely to happen. Introverts get support internally, so journaling and taking some time for personal reflection is a good idea.

4) Don’t wallow

Holidays alone tend to be times when beating yourself up and getting depressed are more likely to happen. Do something fun, instead! Avoid solo holiday depression by re-framing your time by yourself as an opportunity to grow. Be grateful—some people who are enduring family dinners wish they were in your place.

5) Get social

Reach out to your social network and find out who is orphaned like you are and bring them together. Meet for dinner, a movie, go for drinks, or throw a party. Extend an invitation to those with whom you have a lot in common. Introverts may want to arrange one-on-one meetings with close friends, or have Skype chats with friends from afar.

6) Accept Invitations

If friends invite you out to parties or to spend Christmas with their family, accept their invitations. If you feel you are being invited out of pity, get over it: self-pity is vastly overrated, and they wouldn’t invite you if they didn’t want you there.

7) Volunteer

Food banks, shelters and crisis centers are short-staffed during holidays when the demand is greatest. Helping out those in need will make you feel good, and will brighten other people’s holidays in turn.

8) Indulge yourself

Holidays are a time when people indulge themselves, so splurge on a few things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy yourself. Comfort food is always welcome!

9) Random Act of Kindness

Do something kind. It might be feeding birds or squirrels in the park or buying a sandwich for a homeless person. It will make you feel lighter and more grateful for what you have.

10) Have Faith

If you are religious, find a church service to attend, or seek out something you regard as spiritual such as meditation, yoga, exercise, a walk in the park, or being around animals. Use this as an opportunity to replenish your spiritual juice.

Featured photo credit:  Young woman in Santa’s hats via Shutterstock

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