As the festive season approaches, many people get caught up in the whirlwind of traditional celebrations. They are surrounded by family, feasting on delicious food, and exchanging gifts. However, for some, Christmas may not hold the same appeal.

The loneliness that some individuals experience during the holiday season can be particularly challenging. Whether it’s due to distance from family, the absence of loved ones, or personal circumstances, the festive period may amplify feelings of isolation. Acknowledging that not everyone has a support system or the opportunity to engage in traditional celebrations is crucial.

Recognising the need for a different approach, I will spend Christmas morning at Parkrun. It may seem unconventional, but for me, it’s a way to navigate through the challenges that the holiday season can bring.

The Struggle with Christmas:

The pressure to conform to societal expectations of merriment can be overwhelming, and the emphasis on family gatherings may amplify feelings of loneliness or anxiety. As someone who struggles with the festive season, I’ve found it necessary to redefine my approach to Christmas by finding solace in the spirit of volunteering and community engagement.

Breaking with Tradition, Embracing Community:

Choosing to spend Christmas at Parkrun may raise eyebrows, especially among those who strongly emphasise family togetherness during the holidays. However, it’s crucial to recognise that everyone’s experience of the Christmas period is personal. Not everyone finds solace in traditional celebrations. Parkrun, with its sense of community, outdoor activity, and commitment to well-being, provides an alternative space to find comfort and connection during an emotionally challenging time.

A Different Kind of Gathering:

While some argue that Christmas should be spent exclusively with family, prioritising one’s mental health and well-being is equally important. Parkrun provides an alternative, allowing you to break free from holiday pressures. Embrace the joy of being active and gain a refreshing perspective on celebrating Christmas.

Parkrun and Volunteering:

For those who may be feeling the pangs of loneliness during the holiday season, participating in or volunteering at Parkrun can be a meaningful alternative. Parkrun offers an opportunity to connect in a supportive and inclusive environment. Volunteering at Parkrun allows individuals to contribute to the festive cheer uniquely, offering a sense of community and shared purpose.

Coping Mechanism:

Exercise releases endorphins. A supportive community spirit and a break from traditional festivities contribute to crucial well-being. It’s a reminder: self-care varies, and an invigorating run with company is the perfect antidote to holiday blues.

By spending Christmas morning at Parkrun, I am embracing an alternative and uplifting way of celebrating the holiday that prioritises mental health and well-being. While tradition ties Christmas to family, remember that each person’s experience is unique. This holiday season, let’s celebrate the diversity of Christmas experiences and the joy of giving back to the community.

Check out the list of Parkruns on Christmas and New Year’s Day here.