What if you're single, and the one significant relationship you had the first half of the year has just gone up in smoke? What if you just separated from your spouse, or what if your divorce just became finalized? What if the hopeful relationship you stumbled on through that internet dating service, or at the church social, or at the gym, has gone sour even before it had a chance to develop?
The holiday season feels like yet another great conspiracy against you when you're single and not dating anyone. Holiday parties. Gift-giving. Mistletoe. New Year's kiss at midnight. Bah. Humbug.
Here are a few tips on how to cope this holiday season if you're one of the many folks for whom not having a "special someone" is likely to leave you feeling resentful or lonely.
1. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Don't let yourself or others make you feel guilty about your emotions. Feelings are what they are, and grieving is a natural response to loss.
2. Decide now what response you want to make when family and friends at holiday gatherings ask: "Where is what's his name?" or "But I thought you two were working things out?" Try something like "there's nothing new to report there," and then redirect the conversation to a topic you do feel comfortable talking about.
3. Create new traditions for yourself. Who says there's only way to spend the holidays? If you're accustomed to hosting big celebrations, change your routine and become a guest at someone else's dinner table. Visit an elderly family member or volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen. Take long walks and meditate.
4. Resist the temptation to use alcohol to drown your sorrows this holiday season. There will be lots of offers to pour you a drink, and the temptation will be to say, "Why not?" As a depressant, alcohol only intensifies feelings of sadness and depression.
5. Get out of town! Book a trip to an island for a vacation. Or stay with an old friend-someone who knew little about your relationship. You are the one that friend has always known and cared about.
6. In your prayers to God, be honest. God can handle our pain and is not put off by the fact that we're not jolly. God knows.
Being single during the holidays can be difficult, but it does not have to be traumatic. Remember: we were not made for the holidays, the holidays were made for us to enjoy and shape the way that fits our hearts. Create your own happiness this holiday season!