For some, Christmas can be a lonely, painful reminder of what's lost or missing in our lives. Here are some tips on how to navigate the festive "family" season.
TIP # 1
Host your own Orphan's Christmas meal
If you find yourself alone at Christmas, why not find others who are alone too and host a meal. Invite other orphans to bring a plate and choose a venue that is easy to get to, then get busy planning the food and decorations. You can make this event as intimate or big as you like and this can be a simple yet powerful way to redirect your energy from what's missing to what's happening in the here and now. Who knows? This Orphan's Christmas might be the start of a new and wonderful annual tradition...
TIP # 2
Volunteer your time at a local charity
There are many places you can volunteer your time on Christmas. Choose a charity that is meaningful to you, perhaps a homeless shelter, or domestic violence refuge, drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit or a hospice for the terminally ill and elderly. Wherever you choose to volunteer, set your intention to serve and be there for others, you might not ever know how important your friendly face, warm smile or kind conversation is to someone in need. By connecting with others who are less fortunate, we can gain perspective and gratitude, which is a powerful antidote to self pity, pain, loneliness and resentment.
TIP # 3
Head to a spiritual retreat
Perhaps the thought of celebrating is too daunting, if this is you, why not head out to a retreat in the mountains or by the sea? There are several great options if you would benefit for some time out to reflect and connect with you. Most of these retreats are filled with other like minded people who some of which, could be in a similar situation. Some good places to head to are Health and Wellness Spa's, Buddhist Monastries, Yoga Centres, Ashrams or Vipasna Meditation retreats. Most retreats offer special Christmas and New Year programs that can be meaningful and fun.
TIP # 4
Have a sleep over on Christmas Eve
Sometimes waking up alone on Christmas Day can be just plain awful. If this is how you feel, why not pick a close friend or group of friends to have a sleep over? Arrive in the early evening and spend part of Christmas Eve driving around together, looking at all the pretty lights and decorations people have put up. Take some happy snaps.Then make sure before you head home you have all the ingrediants you needs for a sumptuous Christmas morning breakfast with your friend(s). Enjoy exchanging gifts and eating breakfast together while sharing what you are grateful for.
TIP # 5
Buy yourself a special gift
Perhaps there is no one to buy you a special personal present, or make a fuss about you at Christmas. This can be a painful and lonely experience. One way to deal with this is to treat yourself lovingly and buy yourself a special gift, complete with a lovely card and message. Maybe you've been thinking about getting something for months that you really want or need. Well, now could be the time you spoil yourself. Go on. You deserve it. Make sure to wrap your present up beautifully and place it under the tree (if you have one up) and wait until Christmas morning to open it! Merry Christmas to meeeee!
TIP # 6
Spend Christmas with your heart family
Lastly, Christmas is all about spending quality time with the people that matter most, our families. For some of us though, the family we were born into can be a source of repeated pain, hurt, rejection, fear or loneliness. So, if this is the case for you, why not invest time in creating a "family of the heart" of people you choose who can give you all the support, unconditional love and connection that you so deserve and need. Surround yourself with love and kindness. Always. You are worth it.
**If you are struggling or have suicidal thoughts, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, to speak with trained counsellors. They offer crisis support and are open 24/7.