Being alone during the holidays can be nasty—smoochy couples are everywhere, judgmental family dinners are just around the corner, plus all that wasted cuddling weather! I used to feel really down this time of year, but now I’m single and loving it! Here’s what I do to make that happen.
I make extra time for my girls.
Sure, this is a sucky time of year to be lonely, but being single doesn’t have to mean sitting alone at home being miserable. I hang out with my BFFs as much as possible, go to dinner, catch shows or just hang out in other people’s houses if I’m broke. Being social is the best way I’ve found to beat the gloom. I’m never lonely when I’m with my BFFs.
I hit up literally every meetup/event I can find that looks fun.
People tend to go away for the holidays, so if I find myself short of friends to see, I look for other stuff to do—meetups, workshops, classes—anything that looks interesting and fun. I say yes to pretty much every social invitation. Even a bad night out is better than sitting at home when you want company.
I go on dates but keep my expectations low.
Everyone’s feeling a bit desperate for love this time of year, so dating apps and sites are always full of new blood. It’s a fun way to pass the time and be social as long as you don’t hang all your hopes on being able to find your forever husband in a week. I do it when I fancy a bit of male company and meeting new people, but I actually avoid dating when I’m feeling particularly lonely. Nothing makes you feel worse than a bad date when you’re down. On the other hand, if all you want is a night out or a quick coffee with a new person, you can take pretty much anything in your stride.
Holiday parties are my friend.
There are parties everywhere this time of year—work, school, shops, even the gym. I pretty much go anywhere that’s offering a free party with food and drink. Apart from being good fun, it’s also a good way to meet new people.
I give myself a break and show myself some extra kindness.
Self-care is important, especially if you’re feeling low. I do my best to eat well, get enough sleep (when I can!) and keep my drinking to social levels so I don’t have to deal with bad hangovers the next day. I go for walks in the park as often as I can, I take long baths—you know, nice things that just generally put me in a good mood.
I get off my butt and exercise.
People usually start on the New Year’s resolutions after the holiday binging makes them feel like crap. Here’s a pro tip: if you start before the actual holidays, you’ll feel better both during and after the holiday period. Running a few times a week, taking a couple of classes or even doing a free yoga or exercise class on YouTube every few days is going to make a world of difference to your mood. It certainly does to mine.
I buy myself something nice.
Yeah, OK, so if your perfect guy is a millionaire, he’d have obviously bought you a yacht and a pony as a holiday present, but you can still treat yourself to one thing you really want, even if it’s a small thing. If you like this sort of thing, you can even get the shop to wrap it for you so that you can experience the joy of actually opening it, too.
I try to contribute to society and help those less fortunate.
When I start to feel like my life sucks, I do something to help those whose lives are actually worse. Volunteering at a homeless shelter, collection donations for refugees, even volunteering at an animal shelter— any of these things is going to make a real difference to someone’s life. It feels great knowing you’re helping someone else have a better time this time of year, too.
I do cool stuff with my time instead of throwing a pity party.
I try to use my dead time productively. So far I’ve been learning two languages from a free app, learning new knitting and crochet stitches, reading and going to dance classes. It’s so much more interesting than obsessing over what I don’t have that even my miserable brain has taken a break from thinking repetitive negative thoughts.
I participate in cool Secret Santa exchanges.
I’ve signed up to all kinds of Secret Santa things and have even organized my own in the past. It’s yet another thing that helps keep me busy, plus I love giving presents, so this stops me from moping about what I’d have bought a boyfriend if I had one.
I avoid people who’d only make me feel bad about myself.
I’ll be honest—Christmas with my family is usually awful. I actually avoid it as much as I can. I know some people have great families and can happily hang out with them instead of being alone and sad, but for me, it’s all about nag nag nag. Whenever I can, I just avoid the big family events. I surround myself with friends instead and go to events where I don’t feel judged for who I am and where I am in my life. I visit before or after so I can still see my parents without having to go through the whole drama.
I organize a holiday get-together for my fellow orphans.
I’m not the only one who hates going home for the holidays, so a bunch of us always get together and do something fun. I’ve been either organizing or attending these for years now. It’s been the most liberating experience for me to say no to the family drama and just do this instead.
I go away to somewhere new.
When I can afford it, I book myself a short holiday somewhere nice, even if it’s just somewhere out of town. A change of scene always makes me perk up. I’ve even done room and apartment exchanges with people who wanted to be in the city for the holidays, so I basically got to stay somewhere else for free.
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