December Blog




Gambling & Loneliness during Christmas

Gambling and loneliness go hand in hand, as often people experiencing gambling harm may push away the people, they love the most. Gambling can strain relationships, as people susceptible to gambling harm may break promises or lie to their partner or significant others to maintain a façade of normality. Gambling harm may be a consequence of loneliness and unmet needs that have developed over time or may arise from our childhood experiences. Replacing the feeling of loneliness with gambling behaviours can cause further harm, creating patterns of wins and losses to fill the absence of relationships and intimacy.

Christmas can be a particularly challenging time for those experiencing gambling harm, as the pressure to gamble may increase. During the festive period, there are increased opportunities and reasons to gamble. The temptation can be too great when given early Christmas pay, and this sum of money may be lost gambling. The experience of trying not to gamble can be lonely, as people may avoid talking to their relatives, friends, or colleagues due to their feelings of shame around this potentially stigmatising issue. Below, we have suggested ways to manage feelings of loneliness, which can start to help rebuild a more satisfying life.

Ways Of Managing Loneliness:

Speak to someone about it.

Talk openly to family and friends. Telling them the truth about how you are feeling can have the biggest impact on beating loneliness. This is a purposeful way to start rebuilding relationships that may have been affected by gambling harm through your honest personal disclosure. Speaking openly to family and friends may be hard for you, but it’s a sign of great courage, strength, and intent.

Seek professional help.

Getting professional help is a constructive way to tackle this challenging time and set a new direction for the New Year. Working with the support of a gambling service will help you develop strategies to overcome the temptations that arise during the festive season and create new patterns of thinking and ways to manage gambling harm.

If you are experiencing feelings of isolation from gambling harm, speaking to a professional allows you a safe, judgement-free, and supportive space to discuss your gambling experience.

Register with the Primary Care Gambling Service today

Create a routine.

Developing a consistent daily routine: This is a valuable step in becoming the person you want to be. This could include waking up at the same time every day, exercising, reading a book, etc. By choosing activities that allow you to fully focus on the moment at set times, the feeling of loneliness can start to decrease. After developing a structured daily routine that is achievable, you may want to start incorporating community-based activities into your weekly schedule. Structuring your time allows you to take your mind off gambling while creating new connections with people. Being consistent in your new or old interests can help build a healthy support network around you.

Being mindful

Christmas for many is busy and filled with expectations and demands, which can strain our finances, relationships, and physical and mental well-being. It is particularly important that we try to find stillness in moments of chaos. Mindfulness is the action of taking time to be present with our emotions and the world around us. By taking time to reflect and be in the moment, we can make a difference in our wellbeing. Being mindful includes writing down your thoughts and feelings, practicing meditation, or even just going for a walk. Learning to be present with our emotions, rather than letting them overwhelm us, allows us to learn how to think about our emotions and cope better with situations of stress, loneliness, and the urge to gamble. Using the technique of mindfulness to help self-regulate emotions allows us to be more present for our loved ones.

A straightforward way to start practicing mindfulness is by using the grounding technique.

  1. Name 5 things you can see.
  2. Focus on 4 things you can feel.
  3. Name 3 things you can hear.
  4. Notice 2 things you can smell.
  5. Focus on 1 thing you can taste.

Learn more about this grounding activity

Christmas can be one of the worst times of the year for those experiencing or affected by gambling. You don’t have to experience this alone.

Register with the Primary Care Gambling Service today

Published: Dec 1, 2023