5 Ways to Rediscover Joy During the Holidays When You’re Single

Holidays are often marketed as a combination of joy and togetherness. Commercials and television shows can make put this image on full display. In our culture, families that appear happy are together, celebrating with their loved ones, but especially their partners.

This can make the holiday season very difficult for people who aren’t in relationships. There’s often a big disparity at this time of year between the tough stories that my clients share, and the ideas and fantasies that people have about Christmas time. When they’re single, it can feel even more isolating and alone than it does at other times of the year.

This isn’t to say that being single bothers everyone at this time of year. However, for those who are already bothered by this, this season can make it even more challenging. The loneliness, sense of disconnection, and other negative emotions can grow. What can make it even more challenging is that the holiday season is also portrayed as a time where you’re supposed to be happy. This can make people feel like they shouldn’t complain.

Then there’s social media to top it all off. Social media can make this time of year even more difficult for people who are single. For those who are already rumbling with negative emotions, images on social media can make them even more prevalent. People tend to post pictures of happy, connected times. This can lead someone who isn’t experiencing this to ask themselves tough questions, and feel like there are few answers.

However, there are ways to find joy at this time of year, regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship. Though it comes with its own challenges, there are a few things that I have noticed that help people through this tough time.

1. Be present with the family that you do have. Use it as a time to reconnect with them. Holidays provide you with a perfect time to recognize how others are there for you, and feel how much you enjoy this time with them.

2. Keep a safe distance from the family members that you don’t enjoy. Many people feel pressured to spend equal time with all relatives. Even the ones that they don’t want to spend that time with. If you’re struggling, it’s important to be a little selfish at this time of the year. This means focusing your attention and connection on those who you most want to spend that time with.

Focus your attention on those family members who you feel most connected to. If you can’t keep physical distance from those who you don’t want to connect with, practice keeping some emotional space. Remind yourself where you end and they begin.

3. Make it a time that you can treat yourself. Spoil yourself a little for the successes of the year. Reflect on what you have accomplished, and do something that you want to celebrate. This might be a massage, buy yourself a little something, or go on a mini-vacation right after Christmas.

4. Have a small holiday celebration of your own. Invite friends and create a gathering where you can create new memories with those that you enjoy the most. Develop a meaningful way to celebrate and show them how much you appreciate having  them in your life. This will help you to remember that single and alone aren’t necessarily the same thing, in a time where that may be important to remember.

5. Identify something that symbolizes releasing negative emotions. Sometimes people can identify a symbol that can become a resource for them. This can be a song, a picture, or another object. They can utilize this in the difficult times to shift how they feel. Although it doesn’t keep negative emotion permanently at bay, it can give them a much needed break.

If you’re struggling with being single, remember that the holidays can be tough. Even though many people don’t openly share this, there are many others who are feeling this way as well. Although these tips aren’t a cure-all for the problems that come with this time of year, they hopefully can help you to stay grounded until Christmas passes.