by Louise Akrofi.
This year has been a tough one for so many reasons. Thousands of people this year are facing something that – let’s face it – is dreaded by most of us; a solo Christmas. The new Government Covid guidelines in the UK have forced a lot of us to abandon our Christmas plans last minute, and several people are now spending the festive period alone in a bid to protect their families.
It doesn’t help that every Christmas advert on telly shows the perfect family, huddled around a large table laughing, joking and eating Turkey. The truth is that prior to the pandemic, Christmas alone has been a reality for some due to family/relationship breakdowns, work commitments, religious differences and mental health problems.
Christmas alone does not have to be as daunting as it sounds. It can be a day of liberation, pampering, laughter and fun. I’ve spoken to a few people this year who are spending Christmas alone for the first time ever, and I’ve compiled a list based on our conversations and the plans I did have for myself (when I contemplated Christmas alone earlier this year). Give it a read and enjoy your solo Christmas.
1. Stick your headphones in and go for a super long walk, the kind that tires you out
Put on your best trainers/comfy shoes and go for a long walk, for at least an hour. We all know that exercise releases endorphins into your body; endorphins are ‘opiate-like’ chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria, happiness and calmness in response to external stimuli including excitement and physical activity. Gentle exercises including walking will give you that boost. Why not try a route that you have never taken before, you may discover a new bakery or shop to check out in the New Year once the Covid restrictions are relaxed.
2. Watch a bunch of Comedies on Netflix
Sounds awfully cliché, but a good laugh really does make you feel better. In fact laughter is scientifically proven to prevent heart disease, boost your immune system and release those endorphins that we love and cannot get enough of. Some of my favourites on Netflix include Dolemite is my Name starring Eddie Murphy, Pineapple Express starring my faves Seth Rogan and James Franco and the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If comedy isn’t your thing, I would still suggest watching something for some escapism.
3. Order some delicious food or buy some low maintenance tasty dishes
If you’re in the UK, Marks & Spencer sell the tastiest food – just saying. Go all out and get a nice 3 course meal for yourself and a bottle of something sparkling while you’re at it.
4. FaceTime some family or friends (if you have that option and have the mental capacity to do so)
Keep it short and sweet if you need to, but seeing familiar faces on the day can be a life saver. If this is not an option for you, try my next suggestion.
5. Download the Bumble BFF App and meet new friends online
When I relocated from London to Brighton 4 years ago I barely knew anyone. Bumble BFF was an absolute game changer – it’s a great way of connecting with new people online. I met some amazing friends who I call family today. Another great way of connecting with new friends online is by joining local groups of people who have common interests eg walking groups, dog owner groups, women only groups, LGBTQ+ groups, POC/WOC groups. There is something out there for everyone. http://Bumble BFF App
6. Try baking something new
Try following a recipe and making your favourite baked goods. I still struggle with baking (I swear it’s a science), but there is nothing like trying a recipe and it working. It can feel very rewarding.
7. Do an at home spa treatment
Your local Supermarket/large Grocery store will sell really lovely cosmetics, face masks and bubble bath. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but a good face mask and bubble bath combo really does wonders for the soul. Not to mention for your skin as well. You can even make your own face mask, this link from Everyday health has some awesome homemade natural face mask suggestions.
8. Donate to charity; help those who are in need
So many people are in need this year, some unable to provide for their families this Christmas (or this year in fact). Action for Children have a fantastic scheme called “Be A Secret Santa”, where you could make sure more children and young people have a hot meal, a present or a safe place to sleep this year by donating.
9. Online retail therapy: treat yourself to one really nice thing
If you have the budget and there is something you’ve had your eye on for ages, order it online. If it makes you feel better, make sure it is something you will get a lot of use out of or that will enhance your life.