In this blog post, I will share with you how to be single during the holidays, and the best methods to shift & refocus your mindset.
No matter what you believe in, or what religion, the holiday vibes are upon us. I bet all around you people are preparing for their celebrations. It can be very difficult, even just watching others get excited and into the mode, if you don’t have anyone to spend your holidays with. Or if you do, you just don’t have a partner – and even worse, if you’re the only one without a partner. Most people who care about us won’t deliberately try to make us feel bad about it, or left out. More often, it just happens due to circumstances. Even more often, though, we tend to blow it up in our minds and make it a bigger deal than it actually is. The holidays aren’t, and shouldn’t be centred around having a partner to celebrate it with. If anything, it should be about family – whatever that may be and look like for you.
Every year, during this time, I see a lot of people commenting and posting about being alone for the holidays.
Many people reach out to me, asking even the basic of questions: Is it OK to be alone for the holidays? What do single people do during the holidays? How do you deal with being single on the holidays? Sometimes they’re even deeper, and harder to respond to, like: How do I stop feeling lonely during the holidays? What to do for the holidays when you have no family? None of these questions have one right answer, certainly not for every single person asking them. They all do have one main thing in common that stands out to me most, though – they’re all assuming it’s inherently bad to be single and/or alone during the holidays. As if there are no actual benefits, we just need a way to get through it in one piece. I’m hoping to help you shift your mindset, and see it differently – there are pro’s and con’s no matter our status. We just need to choose what we focus on, because there’s always something good to make of it.
First, let’s talk about why you feel alone
As someone who’s spent many holidays and family vacations as the ‘single sister’, and experienced the whole array of emotions on the spectrum of being single on holidays… I can say I’m quite the expert, and as such, I know how impotant it is to first understand what is actually bothering you, and why you’re feeling that way before you try to “fix” it. It’s like taking medication before you go to the doctor to figure out what the actual problem is. And you may only end up causing more harm to yourself. Holidays as a single person can suck for many different reasons (just like when you have a partner and kids, btw). Here are the main reasons why you may be feeling lonely, anxious or sad about being alone for the holidays:
1. You don’t have a partner
This is probably the most obvious reason. We’ve been conditioned by society to assume that being single isn’t great. To feel bad about not having a romantic relationship. So instead of trying to make the most of the status we have, we’re busy wishing for the status we don’t. Which only makes us more miserable about being single. We’re too focused on not having a partner, in general, and especially during the holidays. We tend to put an emphasis on having partners, and it only intensifies this time of year, as if it’s the only way to celebrate it. I think this often causes us to miss out on so much greatness we can experience while being single. So instead of focusing on all the wonderful opportunities and things we CAN do because we don’t have a partner… We focus on what we CAN’T do because we’re single.
2. Everyone around you has partners
This one usually comes as an ‘add-on’ to not having a partner. Like a cruel joke; not only do you not have someone, everyone around does seem to have. Which only enhances how alone we are and how lonely we feel. Even if you’re not bothered by being single during the holidays, it can still be quite overwhelming that everyone else in your life isn’t single. Perhaps it’s even harder to make plans with the people in your life, because they all have families to be with. Because you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb being the only one alone. Here’s the thing we tend to not realise, though; we mostly stick out, only when we emphasise it ourselves. If we don’t make a big deal out of it, and even make a point to enhance the positives, everyone else will follow-suit.
3. People in your life make you feel bad
You’re own mindset and outlook, may not be the problem at all. You may truly and genuinely love being single, especially on the holidays… But all the people around you, and in your life, may be the ones seeding doubts in your mind. Or trying to question your own feelings about being single during the holidays, so they cause you to doubt it as well. They probably mean no harm either, they just keep asking “innocent” questions because they care, or are interested, and don’t realise how they’re asking or what buttons they’re pushing.
I also found that many people had a very difficult time grasping the concept of being happily single. They couldn’t fathom the idea of it, and struggled to believe me when I told them about all the benefits. I chose to not make a big deal out of it, and if they refused to believe it, that’s their problem. You can choose to just walk away from those with ill-intent, and brush off those who just don’t know better.
4. You don’t have who to spend it with
There have been holidays and times when I was perfectly content being single, it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Problem was, I didn’t have who to spend them with. Everyone else had their own plans, and I either didn’t fit in, or felt too awkward and weird to join in. so I was left to either fend for myself and be alone, or overcome my shyness and just join in wherever I could.
I’ve learned that we’re very quick to “blame” others for not inviting us, because if they wanted us over they just would’ve invited us over, right? Well, it works both ways. We tend to forget that they may also be hesitant to be the one to make the call. Many times I’ve discovered people haven’t done so, because they thought I either didn’t want to or already had other plans. They don’t know if you don’t tell them.
5. You feel lost, not sure what to do
As humans, we have many emotions, and most of them can be very confusing and overwhelming. Especially when meshed together. And so we don’t really know what to do with them. Like when you’re very hungry and can’t decide what to eat, and so you become very frustrated. As I’ve mentioned, there can be many reasons why we feel the way we feel. Why we’re struggling being single during the holidays. So coping with it, can be very confusing. We may not even know where to begin, or what we even want. We don’t know what to do or where to go, so we end up doing nothing, and feeling even more miserable because of it. Often, when we feel lost, we get so overwhelmed that we just get ourselves even more lost. Or feel more lost than we are. We blow it up to bigger proportions than it has to be. Or make it more complicated than it actually is.
Second, let’s shift our mindset
Once you got your reason for why you feel the way you feel about being single during the holidays, it’s time to figure out what you want and are going to do about it. While we often feel we have no control over our emotions, and many times we can’t really pick and choose, what we feel at any given moment… We can choose our reaction, what we do and how we choose to cope with it. It’s up to us to not just let it happen to us, and leave it “up to chance”.
It’s up to us to be proactive in our own life, and not just passive bystanders who blame the world. And t’s never going to be easy, but nothing good in life is, but we will be so much happier once we do the work. And it’ll be much easier to maintain. It all starts with our mindsets, how we look at any given situation and what we make of it. Here are the main shifts we can make in our mindsets, to help us cope with being single during the holidyas:
1. There’s no right or wrong way
This is true to almost, if not all, aspects in life. There’s no one right blue-print to the holidays that everyone should live by. We tend to compare our situation to other people’s, while not realising that there’s things we don’t see and don’t know. Their holidays may seem one thing to us, but is a whole other thing under the surface. Perhaps their way of spending the holidays just isn’t right for us, no matter how perfect we think it is.
We need to start looking at our life, and our holidays, without comparing it to anyone elses. There isn’t one right way to live it, and we shouldn’t think in terms of “oh, they’re living life right, their holidays are perfect and I should do exactly as they are, and mune sucks in comparison”. You can certainly get motivated by others, but should’t aspire to copy-paste their life. There are benefits to being single on holidays, just like there are for any other status. And no one status is right or wrong for life or for any given holiday.
2. You don’t know if & when, only now
No matter how much you want a partner, or how much you hate being single – you don’t know how long your singlehood will be. There’s no way of knowing if and when you’ll find someone. So you can’t keep wasting this time away, and you can’t keep being miserable. And if you keep living in the future, in hoping to have the status you don’t, you’ll never be happy.
You need to start looing at your life in terms of ‘right now’. What can I do at the moment? How can I make my here and now better? What CAN I do now, and how CAN I control my holidays right now? It’s okay to wish for something different in your life. It’s more than okay to hope for holidays with a partner in the future. But right now, you’re not there yet. So instead of yearning for what you don’t have, and thus ruining what you do, it’s time to start making the most of the here and now. Of what your status is.
3. Wallowing over it won’t change it
When was the last time you cried and wallowed over your status quo, and it somehow magically changed it? I’m willing to bet never. Or maybe just once out of pure damn luck. Being passive, and even worse – being mad at the world, feeling sorry for ourselves or playing victim – won’t change a thing. And if it does change anything, it’s only for the worse. Not only will it prevent you from getting out of the mindset, it also won’t make your situation better, it won’t fix anything.
And in the process, you’ll also likely push people away. Or cause them to stay away from you, because no one wants a debbie-downer during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of year. Not to mention, it’s kinda hard to like someone who doesn’t like themselves. And even more so if all they do is talk about how bad they have it, and are always negative. If you change your attitude towards it, and choose to make the most of it, it’ll be much easier for you to find the positives and be more happy at what you got.
4. A partner won’t necessarily make it better
Here’s the thing, you can have a partner, even a whole family, and still feel miserable. I bet you there’s someone out there in your pool of friends, wishing they could be single like you for the holidays. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it is always green where it is actually watered and nurtured. And sometimes, it may be green just because someone is more preoccupied with ‘keeping up appearances’.
A partner isn’t going to “fix” you and all your problems any day of the year. If you don’t work on your own issues and don’t put in the effort to shift your mindset… A partner is likely to only be a plaster. Not to mention, that you can have a whole set of new problems when you’re dating someone. Especially if you don’t handle your own “baggage” very well. If you don’t “fix” your outlook first, it will be pessimistic no matter your status.
Third, let’s shift our focus
This usually goes hand-in-hand with shifting our mindset – because to achieve one, we need to do the other. If we want to shift our focus, we first need to get ourselves unstuck from the notion of negativity from being single on the holidays. We can’t focus on anything else, if we’re too dead-set on looking at singlehood in general, and single for the holidays specifically, as something bad, sad, pathetic or inherently lonely. We need to improve our outlook on things, so we can then shift our focus. But we also need to shift our focus to start seeing things differently, so the process is very intertwined and codependent. Especially since it usually require you to shift and change the way you see and look at life. Here are the main things you can focus on instead, to help us cope with being single during the holidyas:
1. What you have, not what you don’t
It’s so much easier to focus on what you don’t have for the holidays. On what others do seem to have and you want as well. It takes effort, at least at first, to start focusing on better things, on what you DO have. You’re only other choice is to succumb to the darkness, and just envelop yourself in it. Which will do what exactly? Nothing good, that’s for sure. We always have something good to focus on, and there’s always more than we think. We’re just too busy focusing on what we don’t to see it.
Often, focusing on what we don’t have for the holidays, on how everyone else is spending theirs… Makes us blind to what we do have in our lives, and how we can spend our holidays, in a way that makes us happy and appreciate our status. Whether it’s the ability to travel alone and meet new people, and experience cool, new things. Or if it’s the friends and family in your life, your people, your loved-ones that always make you feel welcome, no matter your status.
2. How you feel, not them
When we’re absorbing how other people feel about us being single for the holidays, or in general about the matter… It diminishes how we really feel about it, and even causes us to feel differently. We adopt what they feel, we adapt how we feel and then end up even more confused. You don’t even know what you want anymore, which only adds more misery and frustration to the whole thing. And when you stop listening to yourself in one aspect in your life, you also start doing the same in others. You become less attuned to yourself and less intune with what is really best for you.
When you focus on what you truly feel, it becomes what truly matters, thus empowering them and yourself. You don’t depend on others as much, nor are you easily impacted or affected. Who knows? You may even discover that you feel good about being single during the holidays. It will also makes space for you to start adapting how you feel, when you block out all other noise.
3. Do your thing and let them talk
People will always have what to say, and the audacity to actually say it to you. No matter how tactless. They always feel compelled to voice their opinions, no matter how unwarranted. But that doesn’t mean you need to listen to them, and certainly not let it affect you in any way. They don’t actually value you, so you shouldn’t value their opinion. Opinions are mostly based on how we feel about something, so we automatically expect others to feel the same. Instead of accepting they’re different from us, and likely don’t need or want the same things we do.
So if they insist on voicing their opinion, either tune it our or walk away. And instead, focus on doing your own thing. Focus your time and energy on things that truly matter to you, and people who truly care. People who talk bad about your way of life, your status or make you feel bad, are the ones with the issues, not you.
4. Things that are under out control
Far too often we try to take control over things we have no control over. We try to force it to work, when it’s not supposed to or can’t, and end up making a mess and being frustrated. Yes, everything in life take hards work, but it shouldn’t be a constant uphill battle. You just end up wasting more energy than you should, leaving no more for what truly matters. It also diverts you away from what you should actually focus on, and what you can control. You can control how you spend you time, what you spend it on and what you don’t or who you spend it with. What you do, where you go, and how you do it.
You can’t control how other people react or feel, you can’t force someone to adapt to you. And you can’t force them to fit into your life or spend the holidays how you want or even with you. When you focus on the things that you can control, and choose to make the most of it and where you are in life… You end up so much more content, and create better vibes for your life. Which helps you attract better people into it. You’ll also enjoy your status so much more in general and during the holidays.
Fourth, how should you spend your holidays?
At the end of the day, no one but you can or should decide how you should spend your holidays. Only you know what’s best for you, and only you can decide what you truly want. And that’s all that matters. As long as you don’t conform or let anyone else dictate what you do. You also need to remember that nothing’s the end of the world, try to always take things lightly.
Don’t overreact, and don’t overwhelm yourself for nothing. What’s any of it worth if you’re just always stressed about it? Things are only a big deal if we make them a big deal. They’ll only ruin our mood or time if we let them, and if we focus too much on what went wrong. Do what you can given your situation and status, focus on how you can spend your time and what you can enjoy from it. Here are the main things you should do, to help us cope with being single during the holidyas:
1. Be with the right people
In most cases, especially during the holidays, it really doesn’t matter what we do, but who we do it with. We don’t need to go all out or spend a lot of time, energy and money on activities and going out of your way. You just need to focus on being with the people who make you feel good, people with mutual care and respect. You also don’t want to waste your time and energy on people who don’t actually matter. Or who only make you feel bad, it’s better to be alone than with people who end up making you feel worse about yourself. Also, the holidays aren’t just about being in a relationship and being with your partner. It’s about being with your loved-ones, and that can come in many different forms… Whether it’s your siblings and their kids, your parents, cousins, friends, neighbours, fellow community members, etc.
2. Do what you really want
Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to, just for the sake of it. Or just for the sake of not being on your own on holidays. You certainly shouldn’t do things that don’t align with what you like or your values, and don’t go out of your way for it unless it’s worth it. Do something that you truly desire, and not just to say you did it. The more you listen to yourself, the more you know what you want and like.
Whether it’s spending time with your loved-ones, taking yourself on a special self-date, going on a fun adventure, joining in on the local celebrations, or getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people… You need to choose what’s right and best for you. While, of course, also being there for the people you love and who need you. Remember, some people may not be able to voice what they want or tell you they want you to join them… So you also need to put yourself out there and be attentive.
3. Enjoy every aspect of being alone
There’s so much to enjoy from being single, even during the holidays. We just need to choose to focus on it and make the most of it. For example: When I’m at my sister’s, I just like to revel on not having kids to fuss over and deal with. I could just relax and enjoy. On the other hand, I could also preocupy myself with helping out with the kids, not only is it fun for me (cause I adore them), but its also useful to my sisters and my presence is so much more appreciated, so I feel good. Though, our presence should be appreciated no matter what, it’s not something we should do just to be invited or valued.
When I didn’t have a boyfriend, I also enjoyed just being on my own, and having no one else to worry about and care for. No one else to tell me what to do, no one to get upset with or with me. No one to argue or fight with, no one to take care of or fuss over.
Focus on what there is to enjoy, and focus on just enjoying every bit and aspect of it.
And if you’re completely by yourself, you can soak up the freedom to do whatever you want. Eat and drink your favourite snacks and drinks. Spoil yourself, do some self-caring, find ways to fill your time with things you love and enjoy. If you prefer, you can also do absolutely NOTHING! It’s not lame if that’s what really makes you happy and feel good. And if anyone makes you feel bad about it, that says way more about them than you. And they’re the ones with the issues, and are likely just jealous of you being so badass because you’re just doing your thing.
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