I’ll just say it: the holidays are an awful time to deal with loneliness. Pretty much everything about the season urges you to be ~merry and bright~, and there’s all this emphasis on togetherness and family. If that’s not your reality — if you have gone through a loss or a breakup, live in a city far from home, are dealing with poor mental health, don’t have a strong support system, or have any one of the million reasons you might be lonely — all the cultural expectations of the holidays can exacerbate your loneliness or straight up make you feel lonely in the first place.
To help, BuzzFeed Health talked to therapists about the things you can do to look after yourself or alleviate those not-fun feelings. Because holiday loneliness comes in so many shades, not all of these tips will be helpful for you. You’ll want to examine the root of your own loneliness and do a gut check about whether or not something will actually help you. If your instincts say something will make you you feel worse or more lonely, don’t force it.