Happy Holidays? Navigating Loneliness

The holidays are a special time to gather with family and friends, but it can be a difficult time of loneliness for others.

#BetterTogether is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities

No one is born with social skills. Combating loneliness and overcoming shyness are common universal struggles. It affects all ages and backgrounds. Loneliness can be situational, such as finding yourself in a new community after a move, or perhaps you have always been shy and it is part of your personality.

Quiet Self-Criticism

Are you afraid of feeling embarrassed? Are you worried about what others think? Do you assume it’s your fault when someone rejects you? Let’s dispel some of these critical thoughts.

  • Most often, people are not thinking about you. You are more concerned with yourself and more critical of yourself than anyone else.
  • Awkwardness/nervousness are normal for everyone. Some people are just better at projecting self-confidence… even when they’re faking it.
  • People are tolerant. They are likely to forgive genuine social faux pas.

Making New Friends

When meeting new people, try these three tips:

  1. Accept yourself.
    It’s okay to make mistakes. You aren’t perfect and your negative inner thoughts are often unrealistic. You have many wonderful qualities and you don’t have to be perfect to be liked!
  2. Practice building social skills.
    Step out of your comfort zone and smile at a stranger, attend a party, or make small talk with a cashier at the grocery store. Fake it until you make it; don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  3. Take a break from the social scene.
    You still need alone time to relax and recharge. Don’t overcommit to social events, take breaks between big plans, and communicate to family and friends your desire for some solitude.

Meaningful relationships can be tough to navigate but they are essential to a happy and healthy life. During this month of cheer, check out https://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/love-friendship.htm for more tips and information on healthy relationships.

The Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD) has resources for children and adults with developmental disabilities. TuscBDD provides Early Intervention for children birth to three years old, Service and Support Administration for people of all ages, family support services, family mentorship, and more! To learn more about these services and others, visit TuscBDD online at www.tuscbdd.org or call (330) 308-7173.

Audrey Mattevi, reporting

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