When you are single, the holiday season can be tricky to navigate for many reasons. From Thanksgiving Day to Valentine’s Day, it is one holiday after another that focuses on family, love and requires some type of couple event. These seasons while joyous and festive may be a little awkward, somewhat overwhelming and right down depressing if you are not careful. Singles that have been married, or in a serious relationship in the past, may find the holidays brings up memories of their past- good or bad- but memories none the less.
The holidays are usually filled with an extra emphasis on the family and non –singles are uncomfortable with those that are single, and honestly some singles are uncomfortable with their singleness. It’s that office party that requires a spouse or significant other to attend. Should you attend alone or make an excuse why you can’t make this event? Your friend invites you to their holiday gathering and all the guests invited are married and will be there with their significant other. Do you attend again and be the odd wheel? Your family gathering consists of family members you have not seen in a while and with those hugs and embraces comes the statement that seems to kill any party, “You are so nice, I don’t know why you are not married.” Yes, you are thinking the same thing Aunt So-in-So, and now your thoughts are on the “why” of your singleness. The “why” is a painful and sometimes uncomfortable place because it deals with many issues. You begin to ponder, “Am I single due to a divorce, a death of a spouse, a death of a relationship”…..the list goes on and on, but the reality is the same.
Here are a few suggestions to navigate around those “holidays’ blues”:
1. Make an effort to give to others that have a need- Volunteer at a food pantry, visit a hospital or nursing home and share some quality time giving to others that are in need during this season. While your focus in now on the other person, you will find this type of giving very rewarding and you will gain more benefits than you realize. This type of giving to strangers brings a healing to your person.
2. Attend holiday gatherings– Do your best to be a part of the celebrations and enjoy life and enjoy the gift that others bring into your life during this season. Don’t feel obligated to stay the entire time, but know your limits and leave if you must especially if you feel extremely uncomfortable.
3. Create your own single tradition– Do something fun for yourself and enjoy your singleness. It can be a movie, dinner, something for yourself that you do alone. You cannot include your children. The key is to enjoy your own company. Many singles do not enjoy being alone with themselves. Start your tradition!!!
4. Avoid the need to have “anybody”-This occurs for many reasons, but avoid just being with someone for the sake of having someone to take to the holiday gatherings. You can do yourself and the other person a favor by being honest and not playing that game for the sake of saving face.
Dr. Monique Flemings