Due to financial reasons, a large number of your fellow students will be experiencing the holiday blues, unable to return to their families over the festive period. Others may not have any loved ones with whom to enjoy the holidays at all! Then, of course, there are those who are going through difficult times, such as a break-up or trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
The fact is that holiday loneliness is a reality for many, and it can be so easy to miss when you are caught up in all of the festivities and joy that the season is best known for. But did you know that student suicide rates tend to peak at this time of year?
The good news is that you can help to alleviate the loneliness in others rather effortlessly if you know how to spot it. In an effort to help you recognise the holiday blues in your friends and classmates, here are a few signs to look out for and a few pointers on how you can help.
Signs of the Holiday Blues
Many who suffer from holiday loneliness will experience a change in their eating and/or sleeping habits. The former is especially likely considering the amount of treats available at Christmas time.
Other possible signs include procrastinating when it comes to doing Christmas shopping (although this could be due, at least in part, to low end of year finances that the majority of students can relate to all too well!). You should also look out for weepiness, depression, isolation and a general avoidance of all things Christmas-y.
How You Can Help
The best thing that you can do for someone who is feeling this way is to be there for them. Even if you can’t do so in person, make the effort to check in regularly and have a good chat over the phone. Most importantly, if you suspect that the depression is more than just a seasonal problem, take action in order to get the right help and professional support for your friend.
Are YOU Feeling Lonely?
If you are the one who is experiencing symptoms of holiday loneliness, we have some survival tips to help get you through this difficult time:
- Be mindful of your alcohol intake. While you might assume that drinking will help you feel merrier, it will likely do the opposite. Therefore, try to limit yourself to one or two drinks per gathering.
- Rest up. The more sleep you get, the more stable your mood will become. Plus, you deserve some extra shut-eye after a year of such hard work!
- Spend time with friends. Being alone can make the holiday blues so much worse. Even if you can’t be with your family this year, do your best to surround yourself with friends whenever you possibly can – or go out and make some new ones!
- While it may be the last thing that you feel like doing, the resultant endorphins will almost certainly make you feel a million times better.
Importantly, know that you aren’t alone. People from all walks of life will be experiencing the holiday blues, or experiencing a feeling of loss. Don’t feel the pressure to put on a happy face and “pretend it’s all ok”. Take time to reflect, but do make the effort to find comfort among others. For more information about coping with, and treating, depression, click here.