Clients tell me, and I remember from the days when I was divorced or between relationships, that it's hard to be alone at the holidays. For some reason, it seems like the world is full of couples having fun, celebrating together, and you're by yourself.
If you're divorced with kids, it's especially difficult because the kids have to split their time between two homes, and it's sad when they go to the other parent and leave you on your own to figure out how to fill the rest of your day. I remember many Christmas afternoons after my kids went to their Dad's house when I had nobody to share Christmas dinner with.
Yes, it's easy to get down in the dumps as a single at the holidays. But, ironically, it's that very attitude/mind-set that needs to change if you're to create happier holidays for yourself.
Your goal should be to look at the holidays as a time of giving as well as sharing joy, peace, and love with all the special people in your life (not just a date or partner). That includes your kids, parents/siblings, best friends, neighbors, and others you care about--everyone whose company you enjoy and who you have meaningful connections with. And, of course, don't forget about giving to yourself whatever you love most about the holidays!
If you're not invited somewhere for the holiday meal, invite people to your house. If no one mentions checking out those special holiday activities, plan an outing yourself. Do what brings you joy, whether it's going out to a new movie (tons of which open in December!), checking out a holiday light display, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or just curling up with your pet to watch a holiday cartoon from your youth or a classic film like "It's a Wonderful Life."
Happiness is a choice. It's not based on what happens but in how you react to what happens. Rather than succumbing to sadness, you can choose to look at the holidays as an opportunity for fun and joyfulness--to create some great new traditions with friends, to go to a holiday activity you never tried before,or to host a holiday gathering unlike any other. I especially enjoyed inviting to my house other singles who had no place to go. It was comforting just to be together with others in the "same boat".
However you're feeling about the upcoming holidays, know this: you can change your mind and shift your thinking from negative to positive at any time. You have the power. All you need now is the intention and commitment.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Count your blessings...and already the holidays will seem brighter!