Navigating the Holidays as a Single
"I love being single during the holidays!" said nobody, ever.
Holiday seasons tend to be a tough and polarizing time for singles who have no family or loved ones to spend time with. The sounds of laughter and smells of delicious food coming from your neighbor’s backyard, the onslaught of happy family photos on Instagram, and the endless sea of hand-holding, lovey-dovey couples walking through the mall is enough to send a single woman like me spoon-diving into my favorite bowl of vanilla ice cream for days.
This will be my sixth Easter spent as a single divorced woman…and it’s not because I haven’t got family to spend time with. It is, however, because I’m the odd one out who always has to answer the “So, are you dating anyone?” or “Will you be doing anything fun this Easter?” kind of questions each time we gather (insert the eye-rolling emoji here if you can relate).
These holiday seasons can stir up strong, negative emotions if permitted; they can also push a single into depression, anxiety, mood swings, and feeling sorry for oneself. But fear not! There are ways to cope if you find yourself single yet again during this Easter season. These strategies can help you to navigate every holiday season like a pro.
There are those of us singles who have family around to enjoy our time with, but we still miss having that special “someone” in our lives.
Here’s what I recommend we do:
1. Make the decision early that you will enjoy this time with your family and loved ones.
Yes, that also means having a good attitude about answering those annoying questions about your relationship status. You know the questions are coming, so you can plan out a good and gracious response ahead of time.
2. Do not alienate yourself from any “family fun” activities.
Go to church with your loved ones and enjoy the feeling that comes with being in God’s house and among other Christians. Also, if your family has any long-standing traditions, participate joyfully—even if you think you are too old for them. Why? You’ll likely look back and be thankful for the chance to make these memories together, in the future.
If these two strategies sound simple, it’s because any time you get to spend with family and loved ones during a holiday like Easter should not be over complicated or viewed negatively. It should be just the opposite – easy, light-hearted and fun.
For singles who have no family or significant other, I recommend the following:
1. Start your own traditions.
This may be the time to ask another single friend or two to start a new tradition with you. Plan a Binge-A-Thon of your favorite movies or series, eat at new restaurants you have always wanted to try, take a trip somewhere fun or treat yourselves to a full self-care day. The goal is to look forward to the positive things and focus on them, rather than what is missing.
2. Volunteer your time.
Choosing to spend any holiday season volunteering is a great way to reassess expectations for how the season will go instead of how you might think it should. Plus, taking the focus off yourself and putting that energy into doing something good for someone else can be a worthwhile way to navigate the holiday season as a single. Better still, invite some friends to join you. It could be the start of a fun and new tradition (see #1 above).
3. Use this time as an opportunity to learn how another culture may celebrate the season.
Who knows? You may fall in love with what you discover and choose to adopt it yourself.
Whether it’s Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day or even Mother’s Day, your attitude is what truly matters.
I know firsthand how hard it can be not to feel a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), whether your single status is a personal choice, or simply the place you find yourself right now, or you are not able to be emotionally/physically near those you love. I have always lived by the mantra that says
“The more thankful I am, the more things I will have to be thankful for.”
So, my dear fellow single, if it looks like you will be spending another holiday season by yourself, don't fret. Decide how you will make it a meaningful time, either by participating in familiar traditions or making your own. With or without ice cream, we can navigate these single seas together.
Looking for a way to celebrate Easter with others? Grab some friends and join us for our Easter services. For more info, including times and locations, look here.