This time of year can be stressful for so many of us. We are tested on knowing what our boundaries are and how to stay true to our needs. Some of us are not partnered and that’s okay; even though as humans living in a modern society, we are bombarded with images and messages which try to tell us that the happiest people are in relationships, especially during the holidays. The truth is, this is a lie. Businesses that sell love as a means to get you to buy into whatever they are marketing want you to believe that you need to be in love to really feel the joy that comes with the holiday season. But it’s not true and there are things that you can do to feel more comfortable during this time.
Here are some, “How To Get Through The Holidays Single,” tips that completely go against the idea that you need to be in a relationship to be happy.
Please note that this post is not for those who are grieving during the holidays. Grieving verses “Getting Through” are two very different things and need different attention.
Fight the very notion of “How To Get Through The Holiday’s Single.”
First of all? Why not be single? It’s completely fine to want to be in a relationship. We are relational creatures who are driven by love and connection. But also, why is it so important that you have to be in a relationship during the holidays? Can you be happy celebrating being single? Being single might afford you the option of spending more money on yourself, choosing which places you go (or don’t go,) and how you spend your time.
Validate feelings of sadness if they are there
But if you honestly do feel deep sadness or loneliness because you are single during the holidays, that’s okay too. Fight the idea that you have to be happy as a single person before you can be happy in a relationship. You could be unhappy single, meet the person who you want to couple with and be happy as you grow together. Or, you could choose to work towards happiness now. Whatever you decide is what’s best for you, as long as you are working towards making healthy choices for yourself.
We become more secure when we validate our own feelings and you will get through the holidays single better, when you listen to your inner voice.
Manage holiday triggers as a single person
Regardless of whether or not you feel good about being single, think about the people who you are going to see and the triggers that you might encounter. What do you think this year will be like? If you decide to visit with people, will they ask you uncomfortable questions about your relationship status? Will you go to a party and feel sad looking at all of the “happy couples?”
If you think you will run into folks who will inquire about your personal life, come up with answers to those questions now. That way you won’t be searching for the right words in the moment.
Do whatever makes you happy
If you want to eat all the treats, eat! If you want to stay inside under a blanket, stay inside. This is the year to allow yourself whatever comforts you. Don’t let the pressures of your job, family, or friends, convince you to do something that you’re not ready for. You can pick up with those things again when the holidays are over.
Speaking of family, many people spend this time of year with family. Family can be comforting for some, but too much of it, or not enough of it could be more stressful than it’s worth. When we spend time with family, we often revert back to the roles we played as children. If you think your family is going to make you feel all sorts of uncomfortable think about limiting family time.
Get through the holidays single by developing a self care playbook
Develop a playbook for your selfcare. Review your coping skills and pick “distraction options,” and “process options.” Distraction options are tools that you use to distract yourself from a feeling you’d like to avoid in the moment. Think, tv watching, going out with friends, or cleaning the house.
Process options are way you’d like to process the difficult feelings you are having. Whether it be annoyance at friends for pressuring you to date, or fear of being single for future holidays, process them the way you like. Some people like to journal, others like therapy, walking, or meditation.
It’s hard to know exactly how to get through the holidays single when we are constantly being bombarded with messages that tell us how we ‘should’ be feeling. It’s hard to do, but try and listen to your gut. If you want to feel sad because you wish that you were in a relationship, feel sad. If you feel happy about being single, feel happy. Stick to what you know, take care of yourself, and trust your gut.
Jennifer Seip, LMFT
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