How to Navigate Being Single Over the Holidays

It’s hard to be jolly when the world seems to be coupled up and you’re flying solo. Follow these tips to get through the holidays with your chin up and with good cheer.

How to Navigate Being Single Over the Holidays

'Tis the season for mistletoe, cute couples clambering aboard horse-drawn carriages for a ride in a snow-dusted park, and fridges covered with holiday pictures of gleeful families. Picture perfect if you’re part of a twosome, but when you’re single, any one of these cues is all it takes to start crying into your eggnog.

Recognizing that the season can set off the single-girl blues is actually the first step in making everything better, points out Jill Weber, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy. "Being aware of emotional triggers, like, say, seeing your sister with her perfect family, can help you pre-emptively combat them," she said.

Here, some other on-point ways to make the most of the holiday season—and we do not mean making out with your co-worker in the copy room at the holiday office party.

Switch it up. Who says you have to go to Aunt Linda’s for the entire Thanksgiving weekend? Are you sure your parents would be devastated if you didn’t stop by during Christmas? “A lot of people have very rigid expectations of what they’re supposed to do during the holidays,” said Weber. “And often, the expectations aren’t coming from anyone but themselves.” Think about what you want to do most on the holiday. Maybe it’s visiting your college roommate, taking a solo trip, or just spending a weekend catching up on “Homeland.” Said Weber, “Realizing you have options makes you feel less locked in to a specific plan, even if you do end up following the same traditions as you’ve done in the past,."

Get cool stuff on the calendar. Of course, you shouldn’t exile yourself from family festivities just because you’re single. But if you know that spending a weekend surrounded by your coupled-up cousins or your adorable nieces and nephews may make you feel frustrated and sad, make it a priority to schedule a few solo escapes. Try the new yoga studio in town, schedule a mani-pedi at the local spa, or even look up your favorite French teacher from high school and see if she’s up for a tete-a-tete.

Be the grownup. “When you head back home, it’s very easy to revert back to a teenager, even if you’re in your 20s or 30s,” warns Weber. And when you’re in your adolescent state of mind, it’s even easier to fall into a “my life sucks” funk. To ward off that tendency, act your age. Does your dad always pick you up at the airport? Rent a car this time, so you’ll have autonomy to escape whenever you want without asking to borrow the keys. Is Mom always in charge of the meals? Let her know you want to take on an evening of cooking, or else to treating everyone out to dinner at your favorite restaurant. Taking control of what you can will make you stop focusing on the stuff that’s out of your control.

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