10 Tips to Beat Loneliness on New Year's Eve

how to cope while alone on NYE

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

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 living with social anxiety disorder (SAD), your emotional stress and physical symptoms like muscle tension and a rapid heartbeat may feel heightened during social holidays like New Year's Eve. 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, because you're far away from friends and family, or anything in between, 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:

  • Book an adventurous trip for the future. Even if you aren't able to travel now, you could look into traveling in the years to come if you find you are typically alone on New Year's Eve. Take this time alone to research a few fun options.
  • Buy a book you've been meaning to read (and if you can't wait to dig in, consider an e-reader version).
  • Go out for a special dinner, or treat yourself to take-out, which is a safer bet this year during the pandemic.
  • Purchase a wellness product, such as an essential oil diffuser or massager.

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.

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 your 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:

  • Practicing gratitude for what you have and appreciating your many talents and skills
  • Developing assertiveness to help improve your confidence
  • Developing healthy lifestyle habits like eating well, getting lots of sleep, and exercising regularly
  • Facing challenging situations rather than avoiding them—saying "yes" instead of "no"
  • Vowing to make a change by getting help for your SAD symptoms from a professional or connect with others through support groups and forums
  • Working on improving your social skills, starting with how to make productive small talk

Accept an Invitation

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.

Enjoy Movies and Watch the Ball Drop

If you're staying in, consider ordering take-out, enjoying a movie (consider NYE classics like "When Harry Met Sally" or "Ocean's Eleven"), and watching the ball drop in Times Square. These can be fun 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

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.

You also could use FaceTime or Zoom to connect with people while practicing social distancing.

Connect 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 across 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

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 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.

If you or a loved one are struggling with social anxiety disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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Article Sources
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  2. Carrier Clinic. The Broken Promises Effect and Suicide.

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