“I hate the holiday season! It’s supposed to be all warm and fuzzy but it’s really just cold and wet; and not in a fun kinky kind of way.”
Sound familiar? If it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s likely because you’ve always been in a relationship this time of year or haven’t been single in so long you can remember what it was like. There’s a reason so many try to couple-up in the fall. It’s because there’s another side to the holidays and it can be a real downer. I know it’s an issue though because I hear it in my therapy office from so many year after year.
People are so worried about being alone, not being invited to things, or being invited to events but not having a partner. The pressure is real! So, I started to wonder, where does all this pressure come from?
After some reflection, I’ve come to believe that a large part might have to do with what we see in society in two big ways. First, most people can agree that pressure can be felt from family. No one wants to be at holiday dinner table when that old nagging question about who you’re dating or why you don’t have kids pops up. Ugh! Not fun.
Then, there’s pop culture. Particularly around the holidays, it seems like almost every movie or television show is crammed with endless romance, tinsel, and cocoa filling the air. Visions of madly in love couples who’ve met out of holiday magic dominate our screens.
So here you are, single, seeing everyone coupled-up in life and on screen. It’s no wonder the holidays can bring on feelings of anxiety and sadness. What can one do to prepare for what might feel like singledom doomsday-when the holidays are just around the corner?
Before I mention the 5 tips, I have to say that the best prevention to this dilemma isn’t the easiest one. It’s learning to have a good relationship with yourself first and foremost. I can’t stress enough how important it is to “date” yourself, not just during the holidays but really any time of the year.
That said, these tips aren’t about fixing the situation by finding someone to fill the space but rather how to spend an enjoyable time regardless of your relationship status. The worst thing you can do is just sit and stress over how terrible it’s going to be waiting to be disappointed. Instead of waiting for the holiday to happen to you, decide that you will be proactive over it.
Here are a few tips I’ve found useful for surviving single during the holidays:
1) Have a plan or at least a list of things you might say when dealing with those nagging family questions. Instead of responding from a defensive standpoint, you can prepare to focus on the positive like that your building your career or that you’re a valuable catch and haven’t found anyone yet worth sharing your special holiday with. Then, bring it back to what they have going on. The key is to keeping it positive, project confidence, and keep it moving. This will help quell those follow up questions.
2) Know who your support networks are and be sure to access them! Friends are a great support during the holidays because they don’t tend to judge as harshly. Aside from talking to friends for emotional support, you can choose to spend time with them by inquiring about their events. Some folks feel uncomfortable about this like it’s an intrusion but many people are happy to invite you. They just have to know you’re available first! Second, why not take initiative by planning your own event? Though exactly on the holiday would be ideal, it might be easier to plan something a few days before or after. The idea is you’re still having a connected experience with others.
3) Consider what things you enjoy doing in general. Like painting or crafting? Why not plan for a quiet time at home doing those activities? They’re great ways to keep your mind occupied and spend time creatively. Movie buff? Check out the latest blockbuster action film or genre of your choice. Yes, it might be tough being around others who are together but once you’re there the focus becomes about the film and the adventure of the silver screen.
4) Check out local get togethers on apps like MeetUp. There are countless groups for all interests. These groups can offer opportunities for people who might otherwise be alone time to spend in a social environment. Groups can offer relief from feeling isolated and provide understanding, acceptance, and of course fun!
5) Travel! Going to a new place is a novel experience and choosing to do this during the holidays can be a great ways to spend time and create a some distraction. Going somewhere tropical like the Caribbean can be nice in changing things up. It offers a fun unique way to spend the holiday without the holiday pressure.
Whatever you end up doing, be sure it’s something you choose to do and make the most out of it! Being single during the holidays can be better than spending it with someone doesn’t matter that much to you or who you really don’t get along with. Remember, you won’t be single forever. Waiting until you’ve found someone you truly care for will make the holiday just that much more special when you do.