10 Tips to Beat Loneliness on New Year's Eve

Celebrate the New Year even if you are alone.
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New Year's Eve can be a difficult holiday to spend alone. It's a day that most people spend with significant others, loved ones, or friends and is usually associated with festive parties and celebrations surrounded by many people. If you experience social anxiety or are coping with social anxiety disorder (SAD), your emotional stress and physical symptoms like muscle tension and a rapid heartbeat may feel heightened during holidays like these. But just because you're ringing in the new year your own way doesn't mean you have to suffer.

Whether you're spending New Year's Eve alone because of social anxiety or for other reasons, here are 10 ways to prevent yourself from feeling down.

Reframe Negative Thoughts

For some people, dwelling on being solo during New Year's Eve is inevitable. But you can use this time as an opportunity to try a cognitive behavioral therapy technique. When a negative thought pops into your head, identify it, evaluate it, then flip it to something positive. For example, although you're solo this New Year's Eve, that doesn't mean you'll be alone next year. And while you might feel like the only one without someone to celebrate with, remember that many others are in your situation. This mental shift can be an effective way to cope with social anxiety.

Reflect on the Year

The last day of the year is a perfect time for self-reflection. Being on your own offers a unique opportunity for honest introspection that you wouldn't get if you were around a group of people. Congratulate yourself on successes and achievements whether they were big or small. If you feel you've done well, treat yourself. For example:

  • Purchase a wellness product, such as an essential oil diffuser or massage.
  • Go out for a special dinner (or treat yourself to take-away).
  • Buy book you've been meaning to read (And if you can't wait to dig in, consider an e-reader version).
  • Book an adventurous trip for the new year.

If the year hasn't gone that well in your opinion, consider what was unfavorable and how you can improve next year. Remember that everyone has setbacks along the path to their goals. As long as you start each day with the possibility of success and continue to look forward, you'll eventually get to where you want to be.

Watch Fireworks

If there are fireworks at a public venue in your area, consider going to watch them. Spending time with a crowd of people may help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and watching fireworks could lift your spirits. If you have a fear of crowds, this type of exposure exercise could also be helpful for working on your anxiety.

Read a Book

If you enjoy quiet nights at home, why not treat this like just another one of those nights? Choose a good book that you can't put down and spend the night reading. If you really want to get a jump start on making improvements for the following year, you can opt for a self-help book that focuses on interpersonal skills.

Make Resolutions

New Year's Eve is a terrific time to craft resolutions. These can be about anything from general life improvements to specific concerns related to social anxiety. Remember that it doesn't have to be a novel of dramatic changes; a short, but realistic list of goals is actually more effective. Some resolutions to help your social anxiety might include:

  • Develop healthy lifestyle habits like eating well, getting lots of sleep, and exercising regularly.
  • Work on improving your social skills, starting with how to make productive small talk.
  • Face challenging situations rather than avoid them. Say "yes" instead of "no."
  • Develop assertiveness to help improve your confidence.
  • Be grateful for what you have; appreciate the many talents and skills you possess.
  • Vow to make a change. Get help for your SAD symptoms from a professional or connect with others through support groups and forums. You might even consider using a self-help book to overcome anxiety.

Accept an Invitation You Turned Down

Perhaps you received an invite to which you automatically replied "no." Maybe you would have been a single among couples or the thought of spending the evening with a group felt like too much pressure. But it isn't too late to go back and say: "Yes!" Consider it a chance to work on your social skills and usher in the new year with a resolution to attend more social functions.

Rent Movies and Watch the Ball Drop

If you're staying in, consider ordering takeout, renting a movie (consider NYE classics like "When Harry Met Sally" or "Ocean's Eleven"), and watching the ball drop in Times Square. These are solitary activities that give you the flavor of the holiday and help you feel like you're participating from your own comfort zone.

Plan Some Phone Calls for Midnight

Have people call you or plan on calling others right before midnight so that you have someone with whom to share the countdown. You don't have to stay on the phone for long—just ring in the New Year and then get back to your own solo celebration.

Connect in Real-Time on Social Media

If there isn't anyone who you can call on New Year's Eve, connect with others in real-time on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Watch as people around the world post New Year's updates and ring in the New Year through different time zones.

Do Something Mundane

New Year's Eve really is just another night. Consider leaning into that fact and spend it doing evening activities you'd usually do and ignoring the hype surrounding the holiday. Clean your house, organize your office, cook a new recipe, or catch up on your sleep. Don't let tradition dictate your choices if you don't feel up to celebrating.

A Word From Verywell

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you may find that holidays such as New Year's Eve cause you to feel more despair than happiness. This can be a result of something known as the "broken promises effect," in which high expectations for a holiday or a particular time of year can cause you to feel as though things should be better than they are. Perhaps you expected this new year to bring about changes and yet, you still feel just as anxious as before.

To avoid falling into this trap, try not to have unrealistic expectations about New Year's Eve—or any holiday for that matter. And if you find that your social anxiety is hindering your ability to live the life you want, make a plan to reach out for help in the coming days.

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Article Sources

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  1. Kaczkurkin AN, Foa EB. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: an update on the empirical evidence. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015;17(3):337-46.

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