New Year’s Eve can be a difficult time to spend alone. Typically, we associate the holiday with hugging loved ones at midnight, watching fireworks explode overhead with friends and enjoying a glass or two of fizz while surrounded by people.
This pandemic year, many of us will be greeting the New Year solo. That could well seem a bleak and stressful prospect right now.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. With some planning, there are ways you can make a solo celebration a productive and mentally nourishing experience. Here’s how…
1. Skip the booze and get an early night
It’s easy to dwell on being alone on New Year’s Eve, and drinking to excess late into the night will only serve to make you feel worse. Why not use this opportunity to get a head start on your healthy resolutions instead?
Happiness coach Helen Bartram says: “Going to bed early this year will be extremely beneficial for your own mental health and wellbeing.
“Without the pressure to drink and be merry late into the night, this could be the year that you put yourself first and wake up fresh and ready to go the next day, without a hangover.”
Just imagine starting the first day of the year with no regrets from the night before. You could go for an early morning walk, do some gentle yoga or get started on a productive hobby instead of lying in bed with an almighty headache.
2. Take a social media break
It’s natural to have high expectations at New Years, and if you’re gutted to be missing out on celebrating with your pals, seeing other people’s photos of their ‘perfect’ night in with spouses and family can be difficult to process.
“These days, many of us are permanently attached to our phones at New Year,” says Dominika Cisz, a business psychologist at wellbeing platform Thrive. “But constantly scrolling through social media networks like Instagram, and seeing celebrities and influencers sharing their celebrations online can be hard to see.
“Put a social media ban in place and try and avoid looking at your phone. Accept that life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, or the way it’s portrayed through social media.”
3. Set some goals
Rather than keep up with what you think you should be doing at New Year, mindset coach Susie Ramroop says you should create a celebration that’s meaningful for you.
“Being alone is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what you’ll leave in 2020 and what you’ll bring with you to propel 2021,” says Ramroop. You could spend the evening mapping out some exciting goals for the year ahead, like planning an imaginary future trip, or even making some plans for healthy habits you want to incorporate during the year.
“Bring midnight forward to dinner time and celebrate then,” suggests Ramroop. “Order in your favourite takeaway and tipple of choice. That way you don’t even have to force yourself to stay up late. Your new year begins the moment you decide to put your head on the pillow.”
4. Reflect with gratitude
The last day of the year is a perfect time for self-reflection, but chances are you’ve always been too caught up in the flurry of celebrations to really take an honest look back at the year.
“I’ve spent New Years Eve alone for many years,” says NHS GP Dr Ann Donnelly. “I’ve had to adapt the way I see it, as it used to be one of my biggest party nights of the year.
“Now I see it as something sacred. A night entirely for me. I like to spend time contemplating the year gone by, giving gratitude for everything I’ve accomplished, while also writing down all the important lessons learned too.
“I then take time to contemplate what I wish for the most for the year ahead, and I sketch an actionable plan which I work on in January.”
5. See this New Year’s Eve as an experiment
It’s important to remember that just because you’re alone this New Year’s Eve, it doesn’t mean that future years will be the same.
The pandemic has disrupted our usual plans and we’re all being collectively thrown into some rather unusual new traditions. Take solace in the fact that there are millions of other people in the same position as you and that we’re all navigating many of the same issues.
With the right mindset, a New Year’s Eve alone is a unique and illuminating experience that can open you up to new ideas about how to reflect on the year gone by. Plus, even if the evening is a total dud, you can look forward to a hangover-free start to the year.