by Ron Prewitt
At family get-togethers you get grilled about what’s going on in the “romance department.” In-laws, whose company you cherished all year long, become reminders that you don’t have a “special someone.” No singles shopping for gifts appear in the barrage of holiday commercials. If you are single, and not dating anyone, these holiday images can lead to emotions ranging from sadness to depression.
So, what is the best way to combat the holiday blues? Although the following strategies can be applied throughout the year, they are particularly useful during the holidays.
Don’t deny your feelings.
Emotions are neither right nor wrong. They are just how you feel about your situation. Allow yourself to be sad, without the guilt. However, be conscious of how you act on your feelings. Actions to emotions can be right or wrong. Anticipate before going to family events how you will handle dating status questions. It’s best to have a pre-planned strategy of how to politely change the subject. When asked about your love life, a simple, “There’s no news in that area, but here’s what I am doing at work”, might be just enough to redirect the conversation.
See the couples in your life as you have seen them throughout the year. They haven’t really changed. Only the environment in which you see them has altered. Anticipate whom you will be meeting during holiday events. Have fond memories ready to share. Take time to remember and cherish why they mean so much to you.
Be a successful single.
A life partner enhances who you are – they do not “complete” you. Understand that you do not need another person to make your life whole. Take this time to discover what the holidays really mean to you and start your own holiday traditions that reflect your personal values. Realise and appreciate that this is a stage in your life – not a reflection of who you are.
Who says you have to spend the holidays a certain way? Maybe serving meals at the homeless shelter is more in keeping with your values, than “shopping till your drop.” Take some of the time you would spend with family and share it with the folks at your local nursing home. It is easier to justify limiting your time at the uncomfortable holiday functions when you have a good excuse.
Change your latitude.
If visiting the family or attending holiday functions is really going to be overwhelming, cut your visits short and take a single’s cruise or an island vacation. Let the couples be reminded of the benefits of being able to pick up and go.
Alcohol is a depressant and will intensify your feelings of sadness. Accept that you are feeling sad and handle the emotion as you would any time during the year. Do things that will bring humour into your life. Rent funny movies to offset the holiday features that are shown this time of year.
Give yourself the gift of home.
If you have not made your house or apartment your home, consider doing so. Fill your home with things that reflect who you are. Many single’s homes are nothing more than storage for their “stuff”. The art you choose says, “This is me.” Buy some. Add some colour to your home. Let gift givers know what you would like for your home. Set needs aside for once and focus on wants.
Being single during the holidays can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be traumatic. Anticipate bumps in the road and plan accordingly. Take ownership of the holidays and create your own traditions. Limit your time at holiday events that bring discomfort by volunteering for local organisations. Remember, there are no set rules for how to enjoy the season – find out what works for you and “have a happy holiday.”Ron Prewitt is a Relationship Coach in private practice. He helps singles and couples with creating loving, nurturing, and supportive relationships in their lives. For more information call (702) 460-6489 or visit www.ronprewitt.com