How to keep your mental health in check if spending New Year's Eve alone

Alexandra Thompson
·4 min read
Cheerful young woman holding single sparkler in hand outdoor. Detail of african girl celebrating new year'u2019s eve with bengal light. Closeup of beautiful woman holding a sparkling stick at party night.
Experts have stressed New Year's Eve can still be enjoyed if the pandemic forces you to spend it alone. (Getty Images)

Thousands of Britons are facing the isolating prospect of starting 2021 alone.

Amid the pandemic, Boris Johnson stressed a “shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas”, with no relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions being applied on New Year’s Eve.

While the rules vary across England, strict rules meant millions could only socialise indoors with other households on Christmas Day, while residents in Tier 4 could not even enjoy that.

Read more: ‘Steep rise’ in depression among seven to 11-year-olds in first lockdown

Relaxing in bathtub with foam and glass of red wine
One expert recommended having a 'date night with yourself', which may involve a glass of wine in a bubble bath. (Stock, Getty Images)

People who live alone are allowed to form a support bubble with one other household.

There is the risk, however, someone could come down with coronavirus symptoms in the run up to 31 December.

Those testing positive for the infection, or awaiting the result of a swab, are expected to self-isolate entirely at home.

With Boris Johnson stressing the public must exercise “extreme caution”, people who are clinically vulnerable to the coronavirus – like the elderly, pregnant women or cancer patients – may also opt to stay solo on 31 December.

The pandemic has made 2020 a challenging 12 months for millions worldwide, with many forced to finish the year alone.

Read more: Eminem rapping about mental health may help reduce depression stigma

“New Year brings a host of expectations about how it should be,” psychologist Dr Aria Campbell-Danesh told Yahoo UK.

“Embedded within western culture are ideas of celebrating with other people, champagne toasts and a great party.

“If you’re spending it alone this year, the first step is to recognise comparison is the thief of joy.

“Our ideas about what should happen are simply that: ideas.

“The reality is you can find peace, joy and gratitude wherever you are, even if you’re on your own.”

Watch: How to celebrate NYE’s at home in 2020

‘Have a date night with yourself’

Those dreading a New Year’s Eve in solitude, are advised to remember the celebrations last for just one evening.

“It will come and go, just like the night before and the night after,” said Dr Campbell-Danesh.

Rather than viewing it as a missed opportunity to socialise, make an effort to mark the 31 December with some quality alone time.

“Have a date night with yourself,” said Dr Campbell-Danesh.

“What would make you happy?

“It might be having a Zoom call with a close friend.

“It could be reflecting on the year that’s passed and thinking about what you’re looking forward to in 2021.

“It might be as simple as having a relaxing bath and putting on a good movie with a glass of wine or a cup of tea with some chocolates.”

For those who miss the company of loved ones, try scheduling a Zoom call for when midnight strikes, counting down the last few seconds of 2020 together.

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With this being a challenging year for many, it can help to look forward to the future.

“Set goals for the days and months to come,” Liz Ritchie, a psychotherapist at St Andrew’s Healthcare, told Yahoo UK.

It is important to also have hope, with a coronavirus vaccine being approved in the UK and millions of doses of other jab candidates being pre-ordered.

There is also always the option of skipping New Year’s Eve, if you are not in the party mood.

“Do what you want to do,” said Ritchie.

“Ignore the hype and don’t let tradition dictate your choices if you are just not up to the celebration.

“Know you are not alone. This time of year can be difficult for many and can put unnecessary pressure on us to evaluate our lives.

“Be your own person, recognise your strengths and uniqueness, and know others out there will be feeling the same way you do.”

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org.

Watch: No ‘special set of rules’ for NYE, says Hancock

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