How to cope with loneliness during the holidays

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Expectations for a wonderful holiday season can run high, but not everyone is in the spirit. Many people can experience loneliness, depression and uncertainty all rolled up together this time of the year.

Dr. Marie Schaaf Gallagher, a neuropsychologist at Sanford Health, says having feelings — both good and bad — is normal.

She says right now, we may find ourselves isolated because we can’t do something, like the traditions we usually do.

“There’s a lot of emotional stress, social stress and it contributes to physical stress as well,” Schaaf said.

Dr. Schaaf Gallagher says one way to feel better is to help someone else feel better. This can include doing things at the same time but not in the same place and then following up by discussing what you did together.

She had some other suggestions on how you can help yourself avoid loneliness this season.

“Making sure we go to bed at about the same time every night and get a good amount of sleep each night, and get out for some outdoor activities, doing exercise, making sure we’re doing the activities we enjoy rather than kinda trudging through the expectations that are maybe piled on with the holidays,” she said.

She says with what all of us have been through over the past couple of years, it’s just natural that we feel disconnected, cut-off or lonely.

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