The unwanted Christmas gift—loneliness
Christmas is a time of joy and excitement, but for many people, it can exasperate feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which is why Lifeline Queensland is reminding the community that support is available 24/7 now, and throughout the holiday season.
After lockdowns and border closures kept families apart for Christmases in 2020 and 2021, many in the community look forward to big festivities, reunions and spending time with loved ones this December.
However, Lifeline Queensland General Manager Luke Lindsay said the holiday season looked different to everyone, with the Christmas period often correlating with negative thoughts and emotions for those without family or a support system.
“Christmas is a magical time for so many different reasons, but it can also be a time of additional stress and increased loneliness for so many people in our community,” he said.
“For those people without a strong social support system in place – they may have lost family members, moved interstate, or had changes to their personal circumstances. Christmas is tough and can trigger feelings of loneliness and despair.
Lifeline Queensland typically experiences an increase in calls throughout December in the lead-up to Christmas, which is positive, said Mr Lindsay, as it shows people are reaching out for support, but reflects the epidemic of loneliness in our communities.
“Often, people retreat at times of big celebrations as they feel they are the only ones who aren’t feeling ‘joyful’; they can place themselves in an ‘isolation’ which can have very negative implications,” he said.
“But reaching out and speaking with someone can help break down those walls; it won’t provide the long-term solution, but when you are feeling alone, lonely and sad, having someone to talk, listen, and engage with can make a world of difference.
“No one is ever completely alone; Lifeline is always available,” he said.
Mr Lindsay also encouraged community members, family, friends, and colleagues to reach out to others, especially those they know are on their own.
“This time of year is busy; there’s a lot to think of and places to go, but if we could all find a few minutes to make a quick call, send a text, or drop in on those we know may live alone, or struggle during the festive season, it would go a long way to combat the loneliness many people feel.”
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