16/12/2013 13:15 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

How To Cope With Loneliness During The Holiday Season

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Loneliness is a serious issue that can have a serious impact on mental health - it can contribute to problems, such as anxiety and depression. This time of year can be exceptionally bad for feeling isolated.

But loneliness isn't the same as being alone, says HuffPost UK blogger Jamie Flexman. This association, he adds, can be misleading and harmful for sufferers.

"It’s possible to be alone without feeling lonely and more importantly, to feel lonely without being alone. That is the difference," he explains.

As social beings, most of us feel the need for rewarding social contact and relationships. One common definition of loneliness is that it is the feeling we get when our need for this type of contact is not met.

According to Beth Murphy (head of information at mental health charity Mind), feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated during the Christmas period because support networks or contact becomes altered- friends can go away or services close for the holidays.

Here are some tips to help combat loneliness during the holidays.

How To Cope With Loneliness During The Christmas Holidays

But, regrettably, the overwhelming feeling of loneliness doesn't end with the Christmas holidays.

Jamie Flexman offered some great new year tips to help sufferers deal with loneliness in 2014.

Join a club or group

If your loneliness stems from a perceived lack of fun or excitement in your life then an easy way to fix this is to join up with a club or a group and meet other like-minded people.

Whether playing an instrument, learning a new skill or playing a sport, there will always be others just like you who are seeking someone to share their hobbies with. Find them!

Use your workplace to your advantage

Organise a night out or an event, such as a trip to see a show or a pub quiz night?

Many great lifelong friendships are formed in the workplace and by organising these events; you are increasing the chances of developing an exciting new social circle.

Embrace online dating

This is no longer the scary scene it was perceived to be a few years ago. Now that most of us use social media on a daily basis, the stigma of using the internet to find love has virtually disappeared.

There are many great (and free) dating websites that are worth trying out and most of these sites have apps that you can install on your phone. It’s even been reported that as many as 50% of relationships now start online, so what have you got to lose?