Every advert, every television show tells us Christmas is family time yet many of us find ourselves alone. Depression rises as Christmas approaches. If this is you, try these ideas.

1) Buy yourself a present. Although you know what it is, keep it until Christmas and increase your enjoyment! Pamper yourself – good food, music, books, DVDs (ensure they’re ones that lift your spirits!). Remember you are special. Focus on your comfort.

2) Check churches and community groups for events and connect with others. Organise a casual meal (bring a plate!). Invite other singles. Use this opportunity to make new friends.

3) Phone somebody. Many people would love to know that they’re remembered – they might welcome the break from their relatives! Write letters. Most of us only get bills in the mail – with a letter, you’re giving a surprise to somebody. Imagine their face when they find your letter among the bills and feel closer to them.

4) Volunteer. Offer to serve the homeless their meal. Visit a nursing home. Helping others makes us feel worthwhile. Seeing others whose situation is as bad, if not worse, than yours puts things into perspective. Or if you’re employed by an organisation that is open, offer to work. Keep busy!

5) Get out of the house. Take some photos. Have a theme for your photographs (like animals or silly street signs) or just snap whatever you want. Then mount them in an album or frame some or make a scrapbook. You might end up with something impressive or funny.

6) Relish your freedom. While the media would have us believe that Christmas is a time of joy with family, the reality for many is that it’s a stressful time of coping with people they don’t like. You don’t have to deal with others. Find joy in knowing that you look after yourself and do whatever you want, even if it’s dancing naked in the kitchen!

Enjoy your Christmas, whatever you do!

Photo by Johanna Goodyear