Single For the Holidays: Why It’s Challenging and How to Rise Above the Pain/Pressure
If you’ve ever spent the holidays as a single individual, you may have noticed that it can be especially challenging, or that you were made to feel hyper-aware of your being single. Have you ever wondered why being single feels so negative around the holidays? There are a number of reasons this may be the case, and you are certainly not alone in this experience. However, being single can be one of the most transformative, empowering, self-loving times an individual may experience. We can only fully know our relationships with others when we know ourselves.
Love where you’re at, single or not, celebrate yourself, and enjoy every damn minute of it. So, let’s explore why being single is particularly tough around the holidays and, in a more positive light, how to overcome those feelings and celebrate your current state of being!
Someone to Winter Down With
Summer is the perfect time of year for an easy going mindset and a care-free nature. Somehow, everything just feels easier in the summer. Yet, when summer comes to an end, this is when a summer fling can either firm up for fizzle. If you were hoping your summer fling would winter down with you, it can be tough when it doesn’t last through the seasons.
The winter blues are a very real thing and, in the more extreme senses, it referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a seasonal condition which typically emerges in the darker months of the year (winter) and makes people feel lethargic, moody, and at times quite depressed. Though not all of us suffer from SAD, many of us experience some of its symptoms during the winter months. If you’re feeling a little blue or tired, this could manifest in loneliness, making being single during the winter feel negative when it didn’t during the summer, spring, or fall.
Let’s just state the obvious here: winter is cold and winter is dark. Cold and dark isn’t exactly what makes you want to venture out into the great outdoors. This said, we are far more likely to spend time at home during the winter, therefore meeting and interacting with fewer people, so the feels of singleness or solitude may be elevated.
Mittens, sweaters, slippers, tea, blankets, good books; the works. The thing is, cozying up with a cup of tea, a comfy blanket, and a game of Scrabble isn’t very stimulating when you’re solo. Acting out cute activities or scenes by yourself might make you wish you had someone to share them with. Coziness tends to make us long for someone to experience it with.
The holidays are the best and the worst for the same reason: reconnecting with friends and family from your past. If you go home for Christmas or spend it with family/friends from your past, you’re probably pretty sick of having to explain your current state of life to everyone you bump into. Where are you working? Are you seeing anyone? Where are you living? What are you up to? What do you want to do with your life? Are you happy? When are you going to settle down? The list goes on. Answering and re-answering this constant loop of questions can make you feel like you need to explain why you’re single, rather than just being single. It may also make you feel like you need to justify your life and your decisions.
Did you know that 16% of all proposals happen during the month of December? It’s sad, but it’s true that seeing successful relationships (at least ones that appear as such) can make you desire the same. Seeing couples publicly declare their love through proposals, engagements, and endless photos can be really challenging for someone who is single.
Not only is winter filled with gorgeous, snowy scenery, it’s also filled with cute couple activities such as ice skating holding hands, visiting Holiday events, bundling up together… ect. Where there is cute, there is a camera. Around the holidays, social media fills up with adorable family and couples photos decorating trees, kissing under the mistletoe, and getting dolled up. If you thought you didn’t want someone to winter down with, this constant cuteness overload may just make you flip-flop on that opinion.
Ah yes, the dreaded plus one question. Office Holiday parties, ugly sweater parties, weddings, dinners, and other such events will inevitably unfold during the holidays. Many of these events will beg the question: “are you bringing a plus one?” This will either make you have to say “no,” likely raising eyebrows, or make you scramble to find a date when you may have preferred to attend alone. The plus one game is a tricky terrain to navigate for most people who aren’t in committed relationships, especially if you’re just casually seeing someone.
Giving and Receiving:
Are you ever out and see something that you would buy for a significant other if you had one? This feeling can be totally elevated during the holidays. Not only is it the excessive amount of shopping that most people do around these times, but it’s also the media constantly giving us ideas of what to buy for our one and only, or what gifts will make them fall in love. For the most part, the culture surrounding gift giving assumes love and care, or rather, implies it.
Drink, Drank, Drunk
If you’ve ever experienced hangover depression or hangover anxiety, you can attest to the fact that alcohol is certainly a depressant. The holidays means reconnecting with old friends, visiting with family, and a whole lot of socializing. For many individuals, all of this socializing is coupled with drinking. Feeling lonely is elevated tenfold when you’re drunk or hungover, so all the drinking that goes on around the holidays might make you hyper-aware of your singleness.
Remedying the Single Blues Around the Holidays
Now, what kind of people would we be if we listed reasons why something was difficult without providing any solutions!? Being single does NOT have to be negative, and just because it may feel that way at times- doesn’t mean that it is. Being single has a ton of benefits, and if you’re not with someone who fuels your fire, encourages you to be your best self, and allows you space and time for what you love… being single might be a far better option for you. We’re not here to tell anyone how to live their lives, but we are here to tell you that you deserve love and celebration no matter what you’re current state of being may look like.
Own Your State
You do not have to explain or justify your current state to anyone but yourself. If you’re happy, be happy, and own it! “Why are you single” because you want to be! “When are you going to settle down?” Who’s to say you want to! Before going up against those nagging questions, ask yourself them first. Also, “I don’t really feel like discussing this right now” is a perfectly valid answer, and so is “none of your damn business,” because it isn’t, after all! Your life is your own, your story is your own, and you don’t need to explain anything to anyone.
Take a Step Back From Social Media
It is never a bad thing to take a little social media hiatus. It is important to understand that much of the love and happiness you see on social media is staged or exaggerated, so there’s no point holding yourself to those standards (or any standards for that matter). If you’re finding scrolling through your feeds to be an emotional or triggering experience for you, stop doing it for a little while! Boom.
Fall in Non-Romantic Love
It is important for all of us to understand that love does not always have to be romantic or sexual. You are totally capable of falling in love with a friend or family member in a totally platonic way. Assuming that romance is necessary to achieve love is constraining and might hold you back from some of the strongest love you’ve ever felt. Allow yourself to love your friends and family, tell them, and allow yourself to feel their love in return. Love is love is love, after all.
Feeling good physically and mentally is important for happiness, this we can all attest to. So, make decisions to make yourself feel good. When you do fitness activities, do them because they make you feel great, not because you feel like you “should.” Be creative, read, excursive your mind. Learn, grow, and love yourself by doing good for your body and mind. This is a practice everyone can benefit from, single or otherwise, which may help you really enjoy your current state of being to the fullest. Feeling good feels pretty good, doesn’t it!?
Like we said, winter is cold and dark, but if you strap on your boots and venture out into the world we think you’ll be glad you did. Existing within your city, community, and society gives a feeling of inclusion in something larger than oneself. Simply enjoying a coffee in a cafe among others or walking down the streets of your city may make you realize that you are far from alone, in fact, you are part of something pretty huge and pretty special: humanity.
Rather than scrambling to find a last-minute plus one, don’t! Just go solo. Don’t ruin your evening by feeling responsible for someone else’s fun. Get ready alone, look amazing, roll up alone, and rock the evening solo and unapologetically. You’re far more likely to make new friends and meet cool people when you’re in the rawest form of yourself: alone.
Get the Word “Should” Out of Your Vocabulary
Constantly telling yourself you should go to a party, should put yourself out there, should start dating, should take that career step you’ve been wanting to take, or what have you, literally does nothing except make you feel bad about where you’re at. Instead of saying you should do something (out loud or mentally), just do it! Acting on your desires and inclinations is the best feeling in the world, and it will often pay off! If you want to put yourself out there, do it! If you want to apply for a job, do it! If you don’t want to go to that party, don’t.
Steer Clear of Exes
The holiday season can drag skeletons from our closets and ghosts from our pasts (Halloween anyone?) In light of the winter blues and holiday loneliness, it can be easy to fall back into what was once easy aka into the arms of a past love. Though, there are always exceptions, if something didn’t work out in the past, there is a chance those reasons still exist. Our advice? Keep pushing forward! You’re not your past self, so don’t live their life.
You deserve celebration at all times. Often when something good happens, significant others are the first ones we call the celebrate with and talk too. When these large events occur, it can make us feel a little down in the dumps when we feel like we don’t have anyone to call and celebrate with. This is the perfect reason to remind yourself that you don’t need someone else to tell you how amazing you are, be proud of you, and celebrate your achievements within. You are fully capable of celebrating yourself, and you should do so daily!
Assume Friendship First
When we are especially aware of our singleness, we tend to put a lot of pressure on interactions with potential mates. When you are interacting with someone hoping that they will be the next love of your life, this tends to be stressful, and you may not represent yourself in the best light. Instead, assume everyone is a potential new friend, and treat them as such. The casual manner of the interaction will make both parties feel at ease and relieve and tension that may have been there if it were a romantic pursuit. Also, if you only assume friendship, it’s simply a bonus if you hit it off, rather than a bummer if you don’t! Lastly, friends are literally the best thing in the world, and we could all use a new friend!
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever your romantic life looks like right now, you are killing it and we are proud of you. Happy holidays from us to you! Please share your thoughts and never hesitate to reach out to us with questions or if you need someone to talk to.