- Lisa Arango, Ph.D., LMHC
Single this Holiday Season?
You can still be jolly! Here are some tips for making the most of this joyful time of year.
Being single does not mean staying home alone. Don’t say no to those party invitations. Just make sure to plan ahead and book other single friends to tag along to that office party or the New Year’s Eve bash.
Make a gratitude list
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, shift your attention to what you do have in your life. You can start by taking a piece of paper and numbering it 1-20. Don’t stop writing until you complete the list with things you are thankful for. Beyond just making a list, you can go a step further by actually reaching out and thanking people for the big, and even the small everyday things that you appreciate. Challenge yourself to show gratitude throughout the day by thanking a stranger for holding the door for you, or sending a friend or relative a quick thank you note.
According to positive psychology researcher Dr. Martin Seligman, gratitude is associated with greater happiness, more positive emotions, and even positive benefits to our physical and overall mental health.
Focus on other important relationships in your life
Just because you are “uncoupled” this holiday season doesn’t mean you have to spend the holidays alone. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with friends and family. Remember we are hard wired for connection so don’t feel bad about wanting to spend time with others. Reach out and invite a friend to go holiday shopping, have a gift wrapping party, invite people to celebrate some of the holidays at your place.
Do something meaningful/charitable
This holiday season why not focus on those in need. Pick a charity that really pulls at your heart strings like those that work with children, the homeless, the elderly, or even animals, and see how you can get involved. Doing kind acts with compassion releases the feel good hormone oxytocin into our bodies giving us that warm fuzzy feeling from doing good for others. Dr. David Hamilton refers to this as a side effect of kindness.
Take the pressure off yourself for meeting someone
Pay attention to what you are telling yourself about being single as your thoughts have a direct effect or your emotions and overall mood. Maybe you are telling yourself that in order to be happy you must have a special someone in your life, or that everyone is either married or in a relationship. These are what psychologists refer to as irrational thoughts because they are not based on truth. Instead notice these thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, and challenge their validity. Change your focus by trying some of the other things on this list.
The holidays are stressful for everyone so don’t forget to take care of you! Spend some down time relaxing in a warm bath, go for a walk on the beach, watch a sunrise or sunset, and keep