How To Survive The Holidays On Your Own

How To Survive The Holidays On Your Own ©iStock/eugenelucky

We can’t always be with loved ones for the holidays, so if you’re feeling down about being on your own for a few days while others are spending quality time with relatives, try some (or all) of the following to see if they lift your spirits and help get you through the season like a boss:

  1. Treat yourself to something you don’t get very often.That means having your favorite food from that cafe way across town, getting yourself pampered with a massage, or just doing your favorite activity without caring about what others think or want. A lot of times when we’re with others, we sacrifice what we want to keep them happy. Now’s your chance to stop worrying and just enjoy yourself.
  2. Do something nice for strangers.Being nice and doing good makes everyone feel great. You don’t have to volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate money to a cause to prove yourself; even just offering your seat to an elderly person or throwing a buck into a tip jar are nice gestures that will get you a smile in return, and that’s honestly all we really need to brighten our day, right?
  3. Cuddle up with your pet and a good book.If you have a pet, you can’t really say you’re on your own. After all, they’re family, too. Books are a great way to get lost in your imagination and get your mind off the “alone” factor. Also, there’s no feeling like reading while being wrapped up in a blanket on your sofa with your cat as a foot warmer.
  4. Cook yourself a feast. Or order one to go.“Comfort food” is a thing, and it works. So make all your favorite dishes, snacks and drinks, and let yourself be surrounded with the food that makes you happy. And make a lot so there are leftovers. To add to it, you can also decorate your home or light some scented candles if you’re really feeling festive.
  5. Do some holiday shopping for you. The only thing better than getting a gift is getting a gift you love. Since you don’t really have anyone to buy stuff for, that means you can spend all that cash you would have spent on others on yourself instead. Which sounds pretty damn good to me.
  6. Skype with your loved ones. Though you won’t necessarily be able to give them a hug, you can still see them, or at least ask them to prop you up against a chair so you can get in on that dinner table gossip. Nothing says “family” like all your uncles and aunts fighting over politics.
  7. Take yourself out on a solo date. Sure, maybe you feel weird eating alone at a restaurant, but there are other things you can do alone that you might find more socially acceptable. Going to a museum or the mall could be even better by yourself, since you can move around at your own pace.
  8. Buddy up with someone who’ll also be on their own. Chances are you’re not the only one who isn’t going home for the holidays. Maybe you have another friend or a coworker who you can meet up with for coffee one day? Just seeing someone and conversing with them is usually enough to bring your spirits up, so try setting up a casual hangout.
  9. Start a personal project and stock up on supplies.We all have hobbies and other little things we enjoy doing, so why not use this time to be productive and really create something? Keeping your mind busy is a great way to fend off loneliness, and there are a ton of ways to get creative. So whether you enjoy painting, knitting, playing guitar, crafts, card making, writing or DIY, now is the time to get what you need, crank up the music, and make something beautiful.

Don’t see this as being alone, but rather as taking time off from the rest of the world. We tend to get a little sad when we find we won’t be able to spend time with friends and family when it seems like everyone else on the planet is, but if you view it like that, then of course it’s going to be depressing. Instead, know that you’ll be able to see everyone another time, and since the holidays are also synonymous with things winding down, you’ll have time to get things done for that you’ve maybe been putting off for a while. Seeing your family can also be stressful, so think about all the things you have to deal with by staying in, like delayed flights, holiday shopping, your aunt who always drinks a bit too much, and the party clean-up.

Chelsey is a freelance writer in NYC. She's pretty normal by today's standards, or at least that's what her mother tells her.