So, it’s that time of the year again… the holidays. A time of coming together. Wonderful festivities going on all around you. So much joy being shared among loved ones. But in the midst of all these magnificent moments, you may find yourself catching a case of the holiday blues, especially when you get together with family and all your relatives start asking you if you’re seeing anyone right now.
Sure, the first couple times you’re perfectly fine with it; but after informing a handful of people of your single status and noticing the little signs of disappointment on their faces when they hear that you’re not seeing anyone, you start second-guessing yourself and wondering why you’re still single. Eventually, it may start to feel like everyone’s pestering you about your relationship status. You might start to feel like there’s something wrong with being single and you may even begin to feel pressured to find someone.
“The key to the torment of holiday blues is the conditioning based on our cultural upbringing, which has forged our minds into believing that we need someone with us to make the holiday joyful. This is endemic to our culture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re newly or ‘terminally’ single, the problem is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that it takes two to make holidays joyous.” explains Bishop Noel Jones, a pastor in Gardena, CA.
Now it’s hard enough as it is to be single during the holidays, but it’s even harder if you just recently went through a break up. You may be thinking about all the things you did together during the holidays and reminiscing on all the great moments you shared during this time of year. If you indulge in these memories long enough, you are bound to experience the feeling of emptiness that comes with the realization that they’re no longer in your life and you don’t have anyone to share those amazing moments with anymore.
Being single during the holidays can stir up some depressing feelings, especially for the newly single. However, it can also cause feelings of loneliness even to those who have been single for a while. Perhaps there’s times where you don’t feel like going out in the cold and you find yourself wanting to just curl up on the couch with someone and watch a movie. If you feel yourself yearning for that connection, that feeling of warmth and closeness, and come to the sobering realization that you don’t have anyone in your life to share that with, it can leave you feeling pretty down. Little things like this can suck that joyful holiday spirit right out of you. But regardless of whether you’re newly single and dealing with a break-up or you’ve been single for a while, here’s…
5 Tips on How to Deal with
Being Single During the Holidays
1) Adopt a Positive Attitude
I believe that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. In other words, your attitude is everything. It affects the way you interpret everything that happens in your life and it
plays a huge factor in how you choose to respond. Therefore, having a positive attitude towards life is absolutely essential. Here’s a quote that really cemented the importance of having a positive attitude for me several years ago.
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” – Zig Zaglar
2) Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
One of the quickest ways you can shift your focus from feeling down about being single is by reminding yourself that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on gifts and presents for your significant other. Not only that, but you also don’t have to worry about planning any fancy outings for you to celebrate together or spend any money on dates.
And while that may help you look at the bright side of being single temporarily, there’s an even better and more lasting way to lift yourself up. Instead of focusing on the fact that you’re single and wishing you had someone to be with during the holidays, concentrate on all the good things in your life. The holidays are always a good time to stop and appreciate all the blessings that are already in your life, rather than wishing things were different. There’s a famous saying that says,
“What you appreciate, appreciates”
Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, has come out with a book that documents the effects that gratitude has on happiness: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. His research shows that people who practice gratitude can increase their levels of happiness by as much as 25%. He also found that grateful people tend to be satisfied with what they have and are less susceptible to such emotions as disappointment, regret and frustration.
He conducted a study with 3 different groups of people; the first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day, the second group recorded their unpleasant experiences, and the last group made a daily list of things for which they were grateful.
The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. The gratitude group experienced less stress and depression, reported fewer physical symptoms, exercised more frequently, made more progress toward personal goals, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
According to the findings, people who feel grateful were also more likely to feel loved and go out of their way to help others. Emmons noted that gratitude encouraged a positive cycle of reciprocal kindness among people since one act of gratitude encourages another. McCullough suggests that anyone can increase their sense of well-being and create positive social effects just from counting their blessings.
Now that you see the importance of being grateful in your everyday life, here’s an exercise to help you develop “The Gratitude Attitude”
Write down all the things you have to be grateful for
1) Make a list of all the amazing people that you have in your life
2) Make a list of all the things in your life that you’re proud of.
If you’re stumped, you can start by mentioning all the wonderful things you’re fortunate enough to have that you normally take for granted… like having a computer with an internet connection that allows you to access just anything you could ever want or need right from your fingertips. Or how about the luxury of never having to worry about food, water or shelter while our ancestors had to slave away the entire day just to ensure their survival. In fact, 1.4 billion people are still living without access to clean drinking water (Food and Water Watch). According to the US Census Bureau, there’s a total of 6.8 billion people in the world right now, which means that about 20% of the world’s population are living without clean drinking water, which is the most basic and fundamental thing for our survival. Puts things in perspective, huh?
Just taking the time to actually stop and write down all the things in your life that you have to be grateful for has an incredible way of putting things in perspective. It’s one thing to share a couple words of gratitude with your family over thanksgiving dinner or raise a toast on Christmas, but the real goal is to actually live in a state of gratitude every day; to carry forth that holiday spirit well beyond the holidays.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
The “secret” to lasting happiness is developing the ability to find your happiness from within. Create a well of joy so deep inside of you that you’re able to tap into it and access it any time, no matter what life throws your way. This is one of hardest, but also one of the most worthwhile abilities to cultivate.
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings”
– Eric Hoffer
3) Reach Out to All the Amazing People in Your Life
The holidays are more than just a time to stop and be grateful, the holidays are a time for us to come together and share moments of joy with the people we care about.
But in order to do that, we must have our own reservoir of joy to share in the first place. And the best way to do that is by cultivating an attitude of gratitude. However, being grateful for all the things in your life will not only help you create a more positive and enjoyable experience of life, it will also infuse your life with positive energy that’ll uplift you, as well as everyone you come into contact with.
That positive energy is infectious and it has a miraculous way of attracting more positive people, experiences and circumstances into your life. Call it what you want – the law of attraction or just simple cause and effect – but what it really comes down to is a simple universal truth that applies to everything in life: you get what you put in. We know this intuitively, especially when it comes to different parts of our life like school and work, but it also applies to your life as a whole. The energy you radiate out to the world gets transmitted back to you.
And the best part is that energy begins to multiply exponentially if you surround yourself with other positive people who are happy with where they are in life, while still working towards a worthwhile goal that’s personally meaningful to them. So while your initial urge may to be stay at home all alone and indulge in a jolly old pity party, reach out to some of the people listed in the gratitude exercise and enjoy those relationships fully.
If you’re recently single, consider rekindling relationships with people that you were once close to that you may have lost touch with once you and your ex started dating. Relationships have a weird way of consuming our lives, to the point where we spend almost all our time together and often lose touch with people we were once close to. Reconnecting with old friends will not only feed your heart the feeling of connection that’s it yearning for during the holidays, but it may just provide a special holiday gift for both of you too.
4) Reflect on Last Year & Set Goals for The New Year
I mentioned the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people who are happy with where they are in life but are also working towards a goal that is personally meaningful to them. Well, it’s also important to have goals of your own that you’re constantly working towards. In fact, studies have shown that just the act of setting a goal alone makes you 80% more likely to achieve it.
But before you set some new goals and figure out where you want to go, it’s important to stop and assess where you’ve been. With the New Year approaching in just a few weeks, now’s a good time to reflect on last year and make some New Year’s Resolutions.
1. How would you rate this past year on a scale of 1-10?
2. What were the highlights of this year? What are some of the magic moments you shared?
3. What did you manage to accomplish? What are some of the things you’re proud of?
4. What could you have improved? What do you wish you would have done differently?
After reflecting on the past year, begin to contemplate some New Year’s resolutions. Challenge yourself to set some goals that are actually meaningful to you, rather than just telling yourself that you’re going to kick a bad habit or get your butt into the gym for a short-lived stint of inspiration that always has a way of magically disappearing before Spring comes.
1. What’s an important change you want to make in your life this year?
2. What would you like to achieve by the end of this year?
A Letter to Yourself from Your Future Self
One of the best ways to achieve your goals and make your dreams come true is to write a letter to yourself a year from now. In other words, write it from the perspective of your future self reflecting on the amazing year you just had.
Make sure you write everything in the present tense, as if it’s already happened. That way you’ll get immersed in the experience and actually feel the same feelings you’d be feeling if you were writing that letter a year from now and reflecting on all the awesome things you managed to achieve. Doing this exercise will not only inspire you but it’ll get you fired up and motivated to achieve your goals and turn your vision into reality. Plus, just the act writing the letter alone will activate the law of attraction by setting your intentions and actually aligning your vibration with your desires in the present moment. This will open you up to receiving support from the universe and it will set forth a series of synchronicities that will guide you in the direction of your dreams.
5) Explore Your Interests & Engage in Uplifting Activities
If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands and no one to share it with, consider exploring your interests. Think about something that you’ve always wanted to do but just never actually got around to doing it and then carve out some time to do it.
- Pick up a book about something you’re interested in and want to learn more about. Nothing beats curling up with a good book in the cozy comfort of your own home while it’s cold and snowy outside. If you’re not a fan of reading, I recommend you give it a shot for the sake of expanding your mind and learning something new.
- Watch an interesting movie that you’ve wanted to see for a while but just haven’t had the time to. Ask a couple friends for recommendations if none come to mind right off the bat.
- Consider going out and volunteering somewhere that can use the help; there are plenty of organizations out there who are delivering food to families in need. Not only will you end up doing some good for others, but it may just help you to realize that even though you are single during the holidays, there are many good things in your life to appreciate.
- Or maybe try something totally new altogether and pick up a new hobby, whether it’s working out, lifting weights, taking up a new sport, doing yoga, taking dance lessons, learning to play an instrument, cooking, writing or any other creative endeavor that feeds your spirit.
The key here is to engage in uplifting activities. If you just broke up, then this part is especially important because as hard as it may be to imagine your life without your ex, there is one, assuming you choose it. I read a great quote the other day by Mark Rogers, a counselor and relationship coach from Dallas, Texas who said…
“Embrace your personhood, not your partnership status. If you don’t like your life, if your passions are all pastel, if your color’s washed out, your adventures listless, your hobbies hobbled, and your courage for new activities and novel interactions has dried up and blown away, then you may be hoping a romance will start blood flowing inside a turnip. It won’t. It’s not singlehood that’s a liability, it’s stagnation. Get the juices flowing in your life, and then your relationship status becomes an attribute, not an identity. Think about it: the fun, interesting people you want to date want to date someone fun and interesting, too. Get serious about being emotionally mature and interactionally interesting. Offer potential partners light-heartedness, passionate engagement with life, and a willingness to learn the dance steps of intimacy. That combination is practically irresistible.”
Focus on your own life and fill it with things that bring you joy and make you happy. Explore your interests, pursue your passions and do things that make you come alive. This will invigorate you and feed your spirit, which will not only make your life a lot richer but it will also make you much more likely to attract someone new into your life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy to be single during the holidays and watch couples do all their cutesy couple stuff and push the boundaries on what’s an acceptable amount of PDA. And it’s definitely not easy to suddenly find yourself single during the holidays, let alone deal with all the pain you feel after a bad break up. However, it is possible, if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you do some of these things now, before the holiday season creeps up on you full force, you will certainly have a much easier time being single during the holidays. And who knows? If you develop a positive outlook towards the holidays and your life in general, you might just start walking around feeling happier than ever and may even attract someone new into your life!
If you liked this article, please share your thoughts below and leave me a comment with any insights or realizations you had after reading it.
Wishing you much success and happiness for the new year.