The importance of addressing holiday loneliness

December 3, 2022 – In the wake of the sadness and trauma of the pandemic, it’s important for people dealing with loss or who are isolated to connect with others during the holidays so that they feel less lonely, according to Jeremy Nobel.

“We’re coming off two and a half years of a social trauma where we not only had prolonged uncertainty, which in and of itself is very stressful, but a lot of people experienced a sense of loss they are still trying to make sense of,” said Nobel, a lecturer in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, in a December 1 article in Next Avenue.

The holidays can be particularly stressful because media images portray them as “celebratory and fantastic,” but for people who are isolated or struggling, “the images represent some unachievable possibility of connection that you don’t have access to.”

Nobel suggested simple ways to connect with others, such as making a meal for an isolated older adult and eating it together, inviting people out for walks, or watching movies together.

He noted that he’s in favor of “bringing holiday loneliness out of the closet.” He said, “Let’s talk about it. That’s a way to normalize it. We’re all lonely at one point or another. What if we think about loneliness not as a negative calamity in our life, but just as a signal to connect?”

Read the Next Avenue article: How to Be Less Lonely This Holiday Season