There are many reasons for people to be alone or feel alone during the holidays. If you are in the US, holidays are happening pretty much back-to-back at this time of year (November through January) during the most bad weather months too. This is a long stretch of time to feel alone, and for those coping with seasonal affective disorder or acute or recurring depressive disorders this stretch of time can be even more grueling.
So what can you do during this time? Yes, there are a lot of holiday getaways for singles, if you have the money and airline tickets that match the exact time you can take off from work, but what if that doesn’t work out? Even more, when you come back you will be coming back to exactly the same things you left, exactly the same way you left them- unchanged and so uninteresting that you took a vacation to get away from them in the first place.
Here’s a list of ideas to consider:
- Host a “Friendsgiving”, or holiday parties, with your best pals and whoever they want to bring. Everyone can bring a new friend for you to meet and something for the table, and you can all break out the party games, board games, and card games while playing music and have a great time! Keep in mind that your party dates may be right before or after the calendar date for the holidays to boost your chances of your pals being available.
- Alternatively, take this opportunity to get to know your neighbors a little better by popping over with food goodies you made or bought, or a bottle of wine, as a nice holiday gift. Don’t expect to get invited in if this is your first time knocking on their door, but do include a nice card and be nicely dressed in case they are up for having you come in. Either way, your investment in getting to know your neighbors could pay off well socially and in a neighborhood watch kind of way, since neighbors are more likely to check up on and help people they know and care about. (Just watch out for the nosy folks and gossips!)
Take an online class in anything you want. Interested in job skills to get that promotion? Have an interest in learning something just for fun that could turn out to be your next passion? Whether it’s a full course or a short workshop, this could be a great way to use your time when all your favorite places are closed or booked for the holidays.
- Learn to cook, and how to make your meals visually stunning. Whether you’re an experienced chef or never touched an oven, this is a great time to invest in yourself and what you can offer as a host for friends or that special overnight guest. Learning how to cook is a great way to eat healthy and use everything in your fridge, and practicing in advance makes perfect for when you are entertaining or just want to have some fun in the kitchen. Remember those photos on social media that showed couples and families making food art for each other? The food art was great, but the best part is how lucky they are to have such an attentive person in their family. That could be you too!
Volunteer at a house of worship or social organization where you can meet a lot of people. Holiday events are yearly events that tend to attract people that don’t normally participate throughout the year. This is your chance to get dressed up and have an interactive function at these events, whether it’s simply to direct people where they need to go, distributing meals or gift bags, or take the microphone and serve as master of ceremonies, or anything in between. Since you’re a volunteer, take the time to meet other people, and who knows, you can make a new friend, business contact, or get invited for a date!
- Clean out your home (and your car). No need to wait until spring for Spring cleaning; start going through things you meant to get to but never did before now, and divide them into two boxes: things to keep and things to toss (Or regift? Or donate?). Clutter does tend to weigh people down, and this is the last thing you need in dreary weather. Clean out those closets, condense those toiletries, and see if you can use any of those hotel/home décor tips you’ve bookmarked to update your wardrobe and the look of your home. While you’re at it, do some research and find out which retailers carry your style of clothes, accessories, and shoes for lower prices than what you’re typically paying now.
- Get started on gathering up everything to need for filing your tax returns. Not fun, I know, but all those receipts for those deductions seem to be a pain to find at the last minute. Do what you can to get that ready for tax season and file early to get that tax return early.
- Sign up for singles events or networking events where you can do activities in a group setting. Go see those movies, take those tours, and eat at those fancy places. Take those cards and put them in a cardholder, and create your own little go-to place directory and professional contact list. Don’t try to get into a relationship right now; this is about going out and exploring and expanding your social circle, and rushing into a one-on-one relationship now can block more options than it opens. Go out, have fun, and make as many friends as you want.
- Sign up for email newsletters for anything you are interested in. Like online classes you can use these to get notifications and information about any upcoming activities you might be interested in doing by yourself or with friends.
- Read those books and watch those shows you saved on your DVR. It’s easier to enjoy things when you have more time for them and when you’re not exhausted from a long day or have to get to bed early to get to work the next day. Plus, there’s warm popcorn under your favorite blanket for extra coziness.
Make three lists of goals: one for career, one for love, and one for self-care. (Don’t make them one mashed-up list!) For each list, write down 3-5 things that you have as personal goals, and then for each item write down what would help you make that goal a reality in the next 1-3 months. For example, do you want a new job? Next to “new job” write down “sign up for job alerts, update resume, and apply”. Want better romances? Write down what you think is romantic and how you or someone can express romantic efforts, and don’t settle for someone who isn’t making those efforts. (Remember, real romances are not focused on intermittent grand gestures, they are every day small, caring behaviors with a lot of meaning.) For self-care, write down any of the hundreds of ideas that you come across on blogs or other ways, like “spa days” or “going to the gym” and then write down a regimen that you can realistically adhere to for your wellbeing. Bonus points for you if you have a corkboard or magnet board to pin these lists up on. You can also decorate it for artistic effect!
- Call or facetime your out-of-town friends and relatives and reconnect. These might be people that are near you or very far away, like in other neighborhoods, states, and countries, but thanks to technology we can stay connected to our favorite people. Perhaps your next trip could be to go visit them, or their next trip could be to come visit you, and if you do go out with singles groups and volunteer work then you will have a nice directory handy of where to take them.
- Get creative. Are you secretly a writer or an artist at heart? Are you creative and funny? You can create your own version of a holiday meme for your social media pages, like having your own ideas for Elf on a Shelf poses, or your own spin on “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. If you want to keep things more close to the vest, try your hand at creative writing (poems, short stories, screenplays, etc.) or drawings and paintings (but stop if you are finding a recurring theme of depressive things), and if you are stuck for ideas use a free online prompt generator.
- Start an indoor garden for fresh spices. Succulents are cute but very delicate, and flowers are nice but are hard to keep up with. Spices on the other hand are fresh, fragrant and functional as décor and for cooking, and basil in particular is pretty easy to grow and maintain. One recommendation though, mason jars are too small for fully grown herbs, since the roots are too tightly packed in the jar. Larger clear jars are nice, and you can add colored pebbles or stones on the bottom for the drainage. I also recommend using a clean spray bottle for watering, to avoid overwatering or underwatering, and remember that in a closed space with a working heater they made need to be sprayed at least twice a day (morning and evening) so they don’t dry out.
- Remember the day is what you make of it. As tempting as it is to hibernate in the winter months, it’s more productive to lay the groundwork for the life you want and the advancements you want in areas of your life. Use time management to do a little bit of a lot of things to kick start yourself in the directions you want to go. It gets a lot easier and a lot more rewarding once you start.
Is there anything else that you would add to this list? Comment below!
Thanks for reading,
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