This is a difficult post for me to write, mainly because even though I’m single and not in a relationship, I don’t suffer from sadness or loneliness, not even during the holidays. However, most single people do. It’s a fact that depression increases during the holidays. And single people, especially, seem to struggle during this time of the year. I don’t. So, who better to advise you on surviving the holidays alone?
For me, it’s not about surviving or the holidays. Personally, my goal is to THRIVE alone in life, period—each day, every day, no matter the season. Here’s how I do it.
I maintain balance. At least, I aim to. Half my time is spent working. Half my time is spent playing and resting. Half my time is spent alone. Half my time is spent with people. Balance is a building block of joy.
I do not equate being alone with loneliness. I’m a single person, but I am whole. I was married for 22 years. The loneliest I have ever felt in my entire life were those last two years when I knew my marriage was crumbling and there was no connection between my ex-husband and me. I was so lonely that I was broken. The only way I could fix myself was to leave. So believe me, you can be with another person and still feel lonely. And, you can be alone and feel complete. I know this to be true.
I do not equate being alone with failure. Just because I am not part of a couple doesn’t mean I have failed somehow. Even my marriage ending wasn’t a failure. We had a long run. I’m actually quite proud of that. Here’s a quick fix to feeling like a loser. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Life is not a competition. We all get sick. We all fall. We all bounce back. We all die. You won’t receive a trophy upon your deathbed for anything you achieved in your lifetime. So remember this: you are enough.
I count my blessings. I may be single, but I am not actually alone. My greatest blessing is the fact that both my parents and my big sister are still alive. I can call or text them anytime I want. I have friends who have lost a parent or sibling. Knowing that my entire family is there anytime I need them is huge. I also have many other blessings, including eight best friends (most people only have one!), a job that I love, a roof over my head, clean water, food in the kitchen, and money in the bank. And hey, I woke up this morning. That means I’m alive, which is of itself a blessing.
I am good to myself. Okay, honestly, I spoil myself rotten! Whatever I want, I allow myself to have it. It can actually be a bad habit. So don’t overindulge. But, you should treat yourself to good entertainment, books, massages, beauty treatments, dancing, tasty treats, and time to be creative. Write a short story. Take some photographs. Paint a picture. Bedazzle a T-shirt. Do something fun. Laugh. Enjoy life. Take yourself out on a date! One thing I know for sure is that when you develop a loving relationship with yourself, you’re never lonely and no day is ever dull.
I do not rely on social media to keep me company. Step away from Facebook. You need interpersonal interaction, and that includes solo time with yourself. When you’re feeling lonely, don’t use social media as a distraction. Face your feelings head on. Squash them. Social media only encourages you to compare yourself to others and feeds your negativity. Find something healthier to do.
I get help when needed. That’s part of being good to yourself, you know. So when I need it, I see a therapist. Sometimes I just need a little attention or advice, and I reach out to one of my BFFs. But I always give myself permission to ask for help. You should, too. Consider therapy groups. They have them for widows and widowers, people who are in grief after losing a parent, people who are recently divorced, etc. Help exists for a reason. Take advantage of it. If your throat was sore, you’d go see a doctor, right? Seeing a therapist when you feel blue is no different and just as necessary. (Depression and suicide are serious matters. If you need immediate assistance, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours: 1-800-273-8255.)
I help others. I have recently fallen in love with The Book of Joy, and one of the things the book covers is that when we get so swept up on focusing on ourselves (pity party, anyone?), we lose our capacity to feel joy. Focus on others. If you’re single and childfree like me, you probably have a disposable income. Consider adopting a family this holiday season or buy a toy for a needy child. Donate to a charity fundraiser. Organize a get together for your single friends. Heck, just give someone a compliment who seems to need it. Do something, anything, that is intended to help another. Stop being so self-obsessed and start focusing on how to make your world a better place.
I celebrate. I refuse to ignore the holidays. I’ll even celebrate Valentine’s Day come February. Listen, I don’t deserve to be left out of any festivities simply because I’m single. I celebrate everything. I deserve to be a part of the fun.
Your joy is in your hands. It’s up to you to choose fulfillment, contentment, and happiness over loneliness. You can do it. You deserve it. You owe it to yourself. Surviving the holidays alone does not need to be a difficult task. Try my tips and see if you can’t turn a usually frigid season into your very own magical wonderland.