Living the single life is one of the most liberating and enlightening experiences that one will have in their lifetime. Singles have the luxury of devoting their full attention to advancing in their careers, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships, and selfishly explore what peaks their curiosities and interests. During summer months, being single becomes one of the most sexiest titles to wear. The freedom to travel wherever, have sex with whomever (and wherever), and party until whenever, while wearing as little clothing as possible is alluring enough to make the most faithful couples second guess their commitment. Single-hood feels equivalent to being a socialite in the summer, but as the leaves fall and winter holidays begin to roll in, being single transitions from being viewed as a sought after status to being a social disease.
To temporarily avoid being viewed as a social black plague during the holidays, we (millennials) have created the annual dating trend called, “cuffing season”. In case you’ve been living under a rock or have completely avoided social media (same thing), according to the Urban Dictionary, “Cuffing Season is a period during Fall and Winter when people, who would normally rather be single or promiscuous, find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be 'cuffed' or tied down by a temporary relationship.” Sounds bizarre right? Of course it does, but can you blame us?
As a single woman, I can attest to the fact that the holidays are not single-friendly. The media does a thorough job at portraying singles as sad and lonely people that secretly long to be rescued, which has caused society to not only believe that this is true, but to treat singles as such. Every holiday movie is about an ambitious go-getter who finds love via santa clause, every family dinner consist of nosey family members to remind us that we’re not getting any younger, and every couple is trying to play match-maker because, you know, being “happily single” is an oxymoron (sarcasm btw). This treatment towards singles may be seen as well-intentioned but coming from the recipient’s stand point, it is condescending and only adds to the gloom that some singles face during the winter season.
In addition to the role that the media plays in the lives of singles, the holidays are also a time when some experience extreme loneliness and even seasonal depression. Social media is known to cause a negative effect on a person’s self-esteem because of factors like FOMO (fear of missing out) and comparisons to others highlights, but it cuts a bit deeper for singles during the holiday season.
Imagine innocently logging onto your social media timeline, only to be attacked by friend’s holiday family pictures and your exes getting engaged at their family Christmas dinners (why haven’t you blocked them yet?) while you’re currently dealing with a break up, being away from loved ones, and/ or desiring to be in a relationship. Enduring this amount of heart-stopping overexposure, combined with the cold and gloomy weather, can cause one to feel jealous, bitter and driven to isolation. As a woman who has been single for the past few holidays, I can transparently say that I have felt this way a few times.
After recognizing my behavioral pattern, I realized that it was time for me to put things into perspective. I realized that I had been putting off plans and cheesy holiday things that i’ve been wanting to do, in the hopes of having someone to experience them with. What I was really saying to myself was that, I don’t deserve to have those amazing experiences until I’m in a relationship. Coming to that conclusion hit me like a ton of coal and I knew that I deserved better from myself. Following my epiphany, I immediately created an effective system to help me keep things in perspective, happily immerse myself in holiday cheer and to not just survive, but fabulously thrive in my singleness during the holiday season.
1. Keep it Positive
In our overly saturated world of positive quotes and motivational speakers, it can be monotonous to hear “be positive” when you’re experiencing negative feelings in the middle of a flash mob Christmas carol at the mall. Being positive doesn’t mean to suppress your feelings. Give yourself permission to acknowledge and accept the negative feelings, but do not dwell in them. Once you’ve processed your emotions, you’ll be in the clear to shift to a positive perspective.
Whether you long for a life partner to share the holidays with or you’re happily single but find it hard to endure the holidays by yourself, the only way to truly enjoy being single during the holidays (or any day) is to find YOUR silver lining. My silver lining is being grateful for the small things, like holiday tea blends and the beautiful array of colors all over the city, and of course, the big things, like free liquor at company holiday parties and making guilt-free travel plans to spend the holidays with my family and friends.
Train yourself to focus on the positives and you’ll be basking in the perks of being happily single to where an addition of a romantic interest will be the star on your Christmas tree.
2. Create a Feel Good Routine
It’s easy to fall into a pessimistic rut and become the jerk who stole Christmas (as fun as that may sound), but even the Grinch grew tired of his own negative energy.
Develop a routine that’s filled with encouragement, fun, and self-love activities. For example, I start my day with prayer, meditation, and personalized affirmations. Then, I turn on my high-energy music and dance around my apartment as I make my favorite holiday tea and get ready for my day. Christmas music still makes my ears bleed, but I figure that as long as I’m in a state of euphoria, I can happily welcome all things red, green and holiday. To keep the good vibes going, I follow it up with releasing some endorphins by hitting the gym or joining a yoga class. If I feel my mood sinking at any point in my day, I repeat my affirmations in my head, grab a feel good snack, or do some quick journaling on my phone to check my emotions. I make sure to take social media breaks, catch up on my reading and look up self-help articles to keep myself stimulated.
Whatever puts you in the most fabulous of moods (and isn’t a health or safety risk), add it to your daily routine. In short, create a routine that will keep your vibrational frequency high enough to peacefully engage with hostile holiday shoppers and your violently cheerful co-workers with the light-up reindeer antlers.
3. Get Out The House
If you’re not a fan of winter weather, netflix and hibernation sounds like the obvious choice until groundhog day, but isolating yourself from the heavily-decorated outside world could be the very reason for the damper on your holiday spirit. Voluntarily spending my time in cold weather seemed absurd to me, but I desperately needed a vitality boost. I gradually started to actually show up for events that I would rsvp to. I began attending ugly Christmas sweater parties, networking mixers, and even went on dates (yes, people date during the holidays). I eventually became the go-to plus-one for company parties and even started hosting my own holiday dinners.
You don’t have to be the Diddy of the holiday club scene, but give yourself permission to engage with others in social settings, even if you’re by yourself. Chances are, you’ll meet someone that’s pushing themselves to get out the house as well!
4. Plan for the Future
‘Tis the season for vision boards! In case you’re still living under the rock that I was talking about previously, a vision board is a poster board that people cover in a collage of pictures and words that they want to manifest in the upcoming year. The popularity of vision boards grew rapidly after the book and documentary, “The Secret”, was released and has become my favorite activity that I anticipate each year. There’s something electrifying about planning your future and believing that everything you want to happen will come true.
If vision boards aren’t your thing, write out a list of places that you want to visit, goals you want to accomplish, and even a description of your ideal soul mate. Treat this activity as if the possibilities are endless (which they are!) Schedule a timeline of your year and watch your holiday spirit spike instantly!
5. Find your Fabulous Single Community
One of the most important things that I realized when I did a holiday self-evaluation on myself was that, if I feel victimized as a single woman by the holiday season, then there are millions of other people that feel the same way. In short, we are not alone and we’re all in this together. It’s important to keep up with your friends, whether they are single or in relationships but sometimes it’s best to surround yourself with people that you can relate to.
Try planning a weekly outing or holiday themed movie night in with your single friends. Don’t have any single friends? There’s an app for that! Apps like Meet-Up are great for meeting other people with the same interests and dating status.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask your married friends if they know any single people that they can introduce you to. I have met some of the most amazing people who are now good friends of mine through mutual friends who introduced us, because of our vibe and similar interests. As you cultivate your community of fabulous single friends, create a network or group chat to keep up with each other, vent, and schedule outings. This will gradually build a single community support system that you didn’t know you needed.
Being single is vital in discovering the depths of who you are, what you want in life and what works for you. One of the luxuries of being alone is that you can craft the life that you want with zero apologies. You have the power to control your perspective and create the fabulous holiday season of your dreams. Change the narrative, throw on your ugliest Christmas sweater, grab an eggnog cocktail and toast to living your best single life.
Blogger, Crys Watson of The Stylish Activist