Make the season social: Tips to handle holiday loneliness

November 13, 2019 Providence Body & Mind Team

You don’t have to face the holidays alone. Use these ideas to bring others into your life and brighten up the season.

  • Learn the power of socializing from the seniors at London’s Posh Club.
  • Check out four tips to help seniors banish holiday blues.
  • Start your own Posh Club.

[3 MIN READ]

Across the pond, in seven locations in the United Kingdom, the Posh Club is in full swing. These weekly social gatherings are for “swanky senior citizens, elegant elders and glamorous golden girls” who pay a small entrance fee to join their peers — 60 years and older — for food, drink and entertainment.

According to their website, the Posh Club was created to help seniors get out and have fun. It’s a social service disguised as an upscale tea party that reaches older people who struggle to stay active and involved in their communities.

Comments from the devoted attendees reflect the club’s success:

“Coming here is a good way to release loneliness, have fun and enjoy the company of new people.”

“The Posh Club makes me forget my worries.”

“You can't feel down when you come here.”

Be hopeful during this holiday season

Notice those words used by the Posh Club attendees: loneliness … worries … feeling down. They express common feelings many seniors are facing right now in our own country. Especially during the holidays. A recent AARP survey found that 30% of adults report having felt lonely during the holiday season sometime in the past five years. It makes sense. After all, the holidays may be reminders of loved ones who have passed away, the challenges of getting to family events or the struggle to buy gifts on a fixed income.

But let’s bring some hope to the holidays. There are a variety of ways to combat loneliness, and here are just a few:

  • Opt in for optimism. Focusing on positivity during the holidays can go a long way toward boosting your mood during the season. Recent studies have found that optimism has been linked to a longer life. While it’s normal to sometimes feel worried or sad, it’s beneficial to your health not to let these feelings overshadow the potential for enjoyment. One way to do that is with mindful awareness. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Perhaps you can participate in fewer but more rewarding activities with others. Try staying centered on the positive feelings that arise when you hear from loved ones or friends— even if there aren’t as many as you’ve had in the past. 

Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Perhaps you can participate in fewer but more rewarding activities with others. 

  • Do something for others. Helping people in need can boost your own holiday spirit. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or contribute a small gift to a local organization for a needy family. Tough times don’t take a holiday. Now is a great chance to work with a disaster-relief organization, offer to help an area school with holiday events or serve at the local animal shelter.
  • Cherish the past. It’s a good thing to remember the good times. Entertain younger family members with stories about your holidays as a child. Unpack and put up decorations that hold special memories. Take time to look at family photos and start a journal of the amazing memories you have. Then there’s always the holiday movies and music you can turn to for lifting your spirits. You may find that instead of making you feel lonelier, sweet memories can be good company.

Celebrate the New Year by inviting family, friends and friends-of-friends to your home or a community room. Make it a potluck to minimize your prep work and cost. 

  • Keep in touch. Make technology your pal during the holidays and don’t allow distance to put a damper on reaching out to family and friends. Skype or Facetime are great outlets that allow you to see and talk with loved ones. Of course, there’s always a place for good old phone calls. If you’re struggling to find someone you can speak with on a regular basis, try the Friendship Line. This is a “warm” line you can call for emotional support during the holidays or any time of year.

Start your own Posh Club!

Take a page from this social club’s book and get your own party started. Celebrate the New Year by inviting family, friends and friends-of-friends to your home or a community room. Make it a potluck to minimize your prep work and cost. Dress up in your fanciest bling. Play your favorite oldie-but-goodie songs. And dance the night away! Not only will you build up your own social network, you’ll help others who may also be facing a lonely holiday season.

Find a doctor

Loneliness at any time of the year can affect physical and mental health. If you need advice on how to curb loneliness, talk to your doctor. You can find a Providence mental health provider using our provider directory. Or you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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Related resources

The Posh Club

Social Connection and the Holidays

Grief during the holidays: when derailing may put you back on track

Four Holiday (Emotional) Hazards and How to Combat Them with Self-Love

The Friendship Line

8 actions women can take to maintain health through the holidays

Share your tips on coping with holiday loneliness at #aging and with #holidayseason readers @psjh.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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