The holiday season can be a tough time to be on your own. Especially if you’ve been dating and doing everything right, in hopes of finding that special someone sooner rather than later. It can feel a bit demoralizing to realize that you will be alone during a time that emphasizes family and togetherness.
It doesn’t have to be a terrible time, though. In fact, it can be an enjoyable and memorable season if you keep a few things in mind. Here’s what to do:
1. See your unattached state as a plus.
The holidays can be a really hectic time for those with a lot of obligations. If you’re on your own, with or without children, you have a lot of control over what you do. You can decide which parties to attend or not, and only have to take your own family into account. A lot of otherwise happy couples report increased stress around the holidays while trying to negotiate whose family traditions will be adhered to and whose family will be visited and when. On your own, you can do exactly as you please.
2. Reach out to other singles.
There are a lot of lonely people around the holidays. Some of them may be your friends and co-workers. If you find others who are at loose ends, invite them to Christmas dinner at yours, or arrange to eat at a nice restaurant if you don’t fancy cooking. Feel even more warm and fuzzy by offering to treat others, if you can afford it.
3. Take it easy on the alcohol.
While a hot toddy in front of the fire can be extremely appealing, too much booze can send you into a depressive state, and leave you feeling even worse the next morning. Try to limit drinking alone; use your alcohol allowance at parties you’re either attending or giving. The last thing you need is to fall into a maudlin state with a lonely bottle while weeping over Love, Actually.
4. Do something good for others.
The holidays can be an especially difficult time for the poor and homeless, and a great many charities try to step up to the challenge. As a result, there are more opportunities to help than at any other time of year. Giving of your time is far more rewarding than giving money. It’s easy to forget your own troubles when helping someone who is dealing with truly severe challenges, and there’s no question that doing good will make you feel good, too.
5. Turn off the television.
The combination of sentimental Christmas specials and advertising intended to make you feel inadequate is a toxic combination. If you can simply turn it off, then do. There is no point in watching endless streams of media portraying an idealized, unrealistic version of holiday cheer. Remember that the point of it all is to make you buy things, so making you feel unfulfilled and discontented is the goal. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into a depressive state.
Instead, go for a walk or drive to enjoy the Christmas lights in your city, listen to carols- or better yet, go a-caroling yourself. Or, bake some Christmas goodies to share with friends and neighbors. The busier you are enjoying yourself and helping others, the more memorable and fun your holidays will be.