The holiday season can be a joyful time filled with social engagements and time spent with loved ones. Yet, the holidays can also be stressful and difficult to manage. Additionally, for those who are isolated or who may not be able to spend the holidays with friends or family, the holidays can be a time of pronounced loneliness. We may miss those who we used to spend the holidays with, or long for stronger relationships in our lives.

There are things that we all can do to be proactive in practicing self-care during the holidays. If you anticipate getting lonely and depressed during the holidays, try to make an effort to connect with your social networks. Even if you can’t spend the holidays together in-person, a phone call or a video chat with a friend can help you feel closer to the important people in your life.

There is no one right way to celebrate the holidays. While media depictions of the holidays often look a certain way, consider celebrating the holidays in a different way by doing something you enjoy. If you have the means to do so, consider taking a small getaway or day trip. Treat yourself to a favorite food or activity, or maybe splurge for something you wouldn’t usually do. Find ways to be kind to yourself and to have gratitude for the positives in your life.

The holidays are also a great time to volunteer. Devoting time to helping others or to promoting causes you care about are great ways to give back to your community in a meaningful way. Volunteering not only makes you feel good, but it is a great way to connect with other people who share similar interests.

We are also fortunate in the Philadelphia area to have a wide variety of activities to partake in during the holiday season. There are many festive activities and places to visit for little to no cost, either on your own or with a friend. Visit Dilworth Park for ice skating, the holiday market, food and drink, and the City Hall light show. The Winterfest at Penn’s Landing similarly offers a range of winter activities along the Delaware River. View the lights along Boathouse Row or among the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park. It is also a great time of year to see a show or visit one of Philly’s many museums. Even when the weather outside if frightful, there is great benefit to getting out and doing something you enjoy.

If you are feeling lonely during the holidays and just need someone to talk to, SAGE operates an LGBT Elder Hotline for any LGBT older adult who needs someone to talk to. Trained volunteers are available 24 hours a day to listen to LGBT older adult callers. The Hotline can be reached at 877-360-LGBT (5428).