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10 Ways to Beat Holiday Depression

It’s that time of year for seasonal depression. Spending Christmas or any long break without family doesn’t have to be dull or disheartening. These are ten ways to celebrate this blessing in disguise and empower the approach to self-care and well-being.

A man sitting alone contemplating on top of a log holding a journal in his hand
Avoid seasonal depression by taking the time to reflect and focus on your self improvement

Celebrating a long holiday away from home may initially feel sad. If you are not careful, depression may creep in. This time of year is an opportunity to be intimate and focus on yourself.

We will discuss how being alone during the holiday season can be a blessing in disguise. Embrace your positive mindset as we explore the 10 activities that make your solo holiday truly special.

1. Take Time to Self-Reflect

As you spend Christmas alone without your family, it is important to take the time to reflect on the past year.

Find a quiet spot, sit down, and think about what you have accomplished and experienced throughout the year. You can also grab a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings or try meditation to self-reflect and better understand yourself.

Looking back can help you appreciate your achievements, recognise the challenges and set clear goals for the future. It’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on personal growth and self-improvement.

A person taking a walk to the hills with a light backpack - a clear ilustration on the effect of nature to defeat stress and depression
Leave your stress away by taking a stroll to a green sceenery

2. Beat Depression with the Nature:

Instead of feeling lonely during the holiday season, embrace the beauty of nature around you.

Take a trip to a nearby park, beach or forest. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity and splendour of the natural world. Being around nature can have calming effects on your mind and soul hence reducing stress or other seeds of depression.

Listen to birds chirping, breathe in the fresh air, and revel in the sights and sounds of the serene surroundings.

Connecting with nature can bring a sense of peace. It would make you feel more connected to the world around you, reminding you that you are part of something bigger.

3. Don't Worry, Be a Volunteer:

Yes, indeed, you might not be spending the long break with your friends or family. But, there are ways to surround yourself with positive-minded people while making an impact on others.

In this holiday season, avoid feeling lonely through volunteering. Look for local shelters, food banks, or other social organisations that could use your assistance and offer your help.

One, you might be making a difference in someone else’s lifestyle. Two, you’ll also experience a sense of fulfilment and joy that comes from selflessly serving others.

Whether it's serving a meal, wrapping presents for those less fortunate or simply lending a listening ear, your kindness can bring light and happiness to someone in need.

A person wearing volunteer shirt packing fruits and vegetables into a box
Get involve in activities with the community gives a chance to engage in interpersonal relation with others and reduce factors of loneliness

4. Treat Yourself with a Spa day:

During the holiday season, we tend to think of gifts for friends and family. However, it is pivotal to show love, care and appreciation for you.

Treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering. The lonely bathup that you keep ignoring is longing for aromatic bubbles. Indulge in a homemade face mask using the natural ingredients you have at home.

Taking the time to nurture your mind, body, and soul will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to embrace the joys of a solo Christmas.

5. Unlock Your Inner Artist:

Christmas is the perfect time to let your creative spirit soar. Self-reflect through art and tap into your inner artist. Grab a canvas and some paints, let your imagination guide your brush strokes, and create a masterpiece that reflects your emotions.

You can also dance across a blank page, pouring your thoughts and feelings into a heartfelt story or poem.

If crafts are more your style, gather some materials and create something with your hands. Like a bracelet or a unique home decoration, ideas are limitless.

Embracing your artistic side will ignite a sense of fulfilment and provide a wonderful way to spend your Christmas solo.

6. Care for your Mental Health in the Kitchen:

The feast is always something we look forward to during the holiday. Away from home, allow the kitchen to be your canvas as you embark on delightful culinary adventures.

Take this opportunity to explore new recipes and flavours. Bake a batch of mouth-watering cookies, whip up a rich cup of hot chocolate adorned with marshmallows, or challenge yourself to cook a special holiday meal that tantalises your taste buds.

The process of creating culinary delights can be an incredibly fulfilling and satisfying experience. The aromas filling your home and the delectable tastes dancing on your tongue will make your solo Christmas feel extra special and indulgent. Let your inner chef shine and savour every moment of your culinary creations. 

in the kitchen, a person holding a knife ready to thinly slice a cabbage. Seen on frame variation of vegetables and cut up veggies on plates
Cooking for yourself without the burden of having to serve anybody else lift the fear to exercise your sense with any taste you want to explore it, spending time alone is a blessing in disguise.

7. Explore Cultural Events or Online Exhibitions:

Expand your horizons and immerse yourself in different cultures and art forms. Attend local cultural events or explore the vast world of virtual exhibitions. Discover the allure of diverse music genres, watch captivating performances, or learn about the rich tapestry of traditional customs and practices from around the globe.

By embracing cultural events and online exhibitions, you open your mind to new perspectives, ignite your curiosity, and develop a deeper appreciation for the beautiful diversity that exists in our global community.

Explore different corners of the world, gaining a broader understanding of humanity and enriching your solo Christmas with a sense of adventure and cultural immersion.

Check out Project C Foundation's Away From Home initiatives for international students studying abroad.

8. Connect with Loved Ones Virtually:

While physically separated from your family, technology offers a lifeline to maintain connections and create a sense of togetherness.

Set up video calls to see and talk to your loved ones, allowing you to share stories and laughs and even sing your favourite holiday songs together. Share the projects you’re working on, whether it’s showing off a painting or giving a virtual tour of your festive decorations. You may feel the distance is rather heavy, yet their love and joy of the moment would lighten up the day.

Embrace the power of technology and embrace the familial bonds that bring the holiday spirit alive.

Person conducting online psychologist therapy
If you need the extra support, you can always benefit from an online therapy

9. Keep Your Body and Mind Active:

Are you going to the gym? Running around the block? or Not at all?

Staying physically and mentally active is essential for overall well-being, especially during a solo Christmas. Finding activities that make you feel good and energised is important.

Put on your favourite music and dance like nobody's watching, allowing the rhythms to uplift your spirits. Set up a playlist, then take a stroll in nature or challenge yourself with a fulfilling hike. It can help immerse you in the beauty and tranquillity of the great outdoors.

If you prefer a more introspective approach, tryings practising yogas to cultivate mindfulness and inner peace. Engaging in physical activities not only keeps your body healthy but also brings a sense of calm, happiness, and fulfilment to your soul’s Christmas experiences.

10. Embrace Journaling - or therapy:

As your solo Christmas day draws to a close, take a moment to self-reflect on the blessings in your life and embrace gratitude.

Practising gratitude allows you to shift your focus towards the positive aspects and moments that fill your heart with joy.

Reflect on both the big and small things you’re grateful for. From the small things like the comforts of cosy blankets to the laughter of loved ones you cherish. To the big general facts of good health, personal achievements, or the beauty of nature that surrounds you.

If you are thinking of starting therapy this season, Project C Foundation has a line of therapists to help you. And if you don't know where to start, jump on the Project Friend initiative just to have a conversation with someone.

Embracing gratitude brings a sense of peace, contentment, and perspective, reminding you that even in solitudes, there is so much to appreciate and be thankful for. This practice sets the foundation for a peaceful night’s sleep and fills your heart with serenity as you conclude your solo Christmas day.

Project Friend: is an initiative to provide 24/7 emotional care, assistance and confidential support to everyone who is going through emotional or mental distress or crisis
when you are unsure about theraphy, Project C Foundation inisiate Project Friend for you to have a talk before deciding to engage in a therapy program

Therapists/Counselors from Project C Foundation:

Specialization- Anxiety Management, Stress Management, Depression, Panic Attacks, Self Confidence And Self Esteem Issues, Self Care And Self Love, Relationship Issues, Adolescent Mental Health.

specialization- Anxiety, Depression, Career Counselling, Grief, Relationships, Mindfulness, Stress

Written By: M. Samer Almasri

Edited By: Virginia Helzainka



1. Gillham, J. E., Shatté, A. J., & Freres, D. R. (2000). Preventing depression: A review of cognitive-social interventions. Zeitschrift für Psychologie.

2. Gropper, R. (2020). Cultivating a mindful practice: A systematic review of mindful eating programs. Mindfulness.

3. Jo, Y., & Yeun, E. J. (2019). Influence of nature exposure on anxiety reduction: A systematic review. Community Mental Health Journal.

4. Myerson, J., Green, L., Reed, M. A., et al. (2020). The effect of interpersonal touch on stress and well-being: A meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.

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