Now I know you want to lock yourself away in your apartment or your house. You want to shut the blinds you want to binge watch Netflix. Why is binge watch Netflix so hard to say? Hey everybody, today we’re going to talk about how to healthfully spend the holidays alone. The first thing I think is important is to take time to figure out what is important to you. What are things that you like about the holiday season? When we’re spending it alone we often decide to do nothing. And we don’t want to talk to anybody and we just want to stay home alone and we don’t want to interact. But I would encourage you right now to start writing down the traditions that you enjoy, the things that you like about getting together with family. I know family may not be healthy for you to go to and to actually see. But how can we recreate that for you now, because I know even if I don’t go home to Washington to see my family, there are certain things that I still make Sean do and there’s certain foods that I still cook because those are parts of the holiday experience for me. And that helps me better manage the fact that i wasn’t able to go home and be with my family. And so I think it’s important for us each to take time to decide: What do we love about holidays? What traditions are important? or What new ones do we want to start now? Now I know you want to stay at home alone and often when we’re not spending time with the family or if the the thought of the holidays just brings up all that old shit with family and we just kind of want to shut our selves away. Shut the blinds and want to binge watch Netflix and we don’t want to interact with anyone. But I would encourage you to please keep busy and socialize, because really what isolating ourselves and shutting those blinds and watching Netflix does is it just hurts us, makes us feel worse. If we’re feeling in depressive symptoms right now, it’s gonna make those so much worse than they were before. So please, please, please call those friends, send out some texts, start setting up things to do. If you really like to get coffee with a girlfriend make sure that you make time for that. Make time for the things that are important and please keep busy and socialize. Oh and if you don’t have any friends that live near you there’s chat on the website i would encourage you to at least interact with people online because then you won’t feel so alone. And knowing the other people are struggling with the holidays can feel so good just to normalize what we’re going through. My third tip is: give back; volunteer, there are so many ways to help out during the holidays. Whether it’s giving out blankets to the homeless or going to a soup kitchen and you know serving breakfast. I used to do this stuff all the time with friends and at work, because I used to work on Saturdays and many of the treatment centers and hospitals I worked at and so on Saturdays we would take all of the people that were willing and able to go out and volunteer. And I find often when I’m doing something to help someone else I get more out of it. I honestly feel that way, like I get just as much out of it as they do when I’m serving them food or handing out blankets are doing any of those things just to help out, even helping a neighbor maybe they can’t mow their lawn or they you know struggle to bring their trash can in, you can offer to help and that often helps us feel so much better. My fourth tip is: plan something fun. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do that you’ve just been putting off or maybe it’s too busy to go in the summertime, now would be a perfect time to go. It could be a trip it could be just something local that you’ve never done or maybe it’s just giving yourself some you know are some relaxation and rest that’s what I want make sure you plan that in and make time for it. And my fifth tip is: spending time each day writing down the things that you’re thankful for. Or wonderful things that you’re grateful for that happened that day. This is something that I’ve been practicing because I find at night when we lay in bed we often think about all the things we have to do, or didn’t do, or that things that went wrong, or this old conversation we had with somebody 10 years ago and we don’t know why it went so bad, or why we were such an asshole back, Stop that cycle. Stop your brain from doing it. And I find that by just running through things in your head that you’re grateful for things that went well that day. Hey I woke up, I was able to shower, I had that favorite sandwich that I like from the deli, whatever it is you are grateful for and thankful for spend time right before you go to bed writing them down. We also find writing things out where you can see it and you can read it helps our brain better acknowledge it, and it like absorbs it that. That’s how I’ve always like visualized it. There’s a whole research study about it but actually taking the time to write it out like pen and paper old-school style, not on the phone or the computer really helps us take in the thankful things and take in all the gratitude that we can have for each passing day. And the sixth and final tip and it kind of roles from number five is: paying attention to what conversations we’re having with ourselves are we sitting at home, isolating, thinking shitty things about ourselves and what’s happened in our family and our relationships? Are we reliving old fights? Stop yourself from doing that, make sure that you notice what conversation you’re having with yourself. And if you find it taking a negative turn, I would encourage you just like we talked back to the eating disorder voice, the self-harm voice talk back to that nasty like Grinch like voice that’s hanging in your head telling you about all the shitty things. Instead try to feed it positive things. Things that have gone well, maybe a friendship that has started this year that’s been so beneficial to you. Maybe it’s that volunteer thing you did the other day and so you feel really good about the person that you interacted with you really felt like you made an impact. And if you have trouble with this, something that helps me is just putting positive vibes out there; opening a door for someone, saying thank you, paying for someone’s coffee in line, if you’re in the drive-thru it’s even better because you kind of drive away thinking ooh I left a special treat for them, whatever it is that you can do maybe paying someone’s parking meter. I’ve done that too and that can make you feel really good even any of those little things to help boost and start the positive conversation can help because I know the holidays can be hard and they’re harder when were alone but know that you are not alone with this and we have a whole community of support like I said you can hop on the website and chat 24-7 and get support from other Kinions that maybe are alone for the holidays or are just struggling with the holidays all together and I hope these are helpful even the comments things that were helpful for you things that help you feel more positive during this difficult time. And know that you’re never alone, you’re part of our community and we’re all thinking about you, sending you love and warm wishes this holiday season.