BEATING THE SINGLE BELL BLUES:Strategies for making your single holidays bright

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Note:  I actually wrote this weeks ago, right after Thanksgiving and have been waiting to post it until C-VILLE WEEKLY published it but they haven’t yet and it is just getting silly so I broke down and decided to let it rip.  Fear not, I will write something else witty for them later.

When I wrote this, I really did lack any invites for the holidays.  Since then, I was invited to a bunch of events and now they are all done so I am facing a fairly blank slate once again.  My daughter has left to spend the next ten days with her father and my son, who is grown, will come for a visit after she returns on the second of January. So I am by myself (well, the family dog who normally lives in Northern Virginia with H2 is here with my while H2 and our daughter are in Mexico scuba diving).  I will write later about how I am spoiling myself on the cheap and loving having the place to myself.

Also note that when I wrote this Chanukah had yet to happen.  It has, at this writing, been over for a week already so please ignore the Chanukah reference in the farewell, “Happy Christmakwanzicah” and make it “Happy Kwanzmas” instead.

Read on…

 

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So the holidays are here already.  Let’s let out one big sarcastic “Yippy Skippy”!

As any single person can tell you the holidays sometimes feel something akin to walking through an emotional minefield as one stealthfully sidesteps questions like “When are you going to find someone and settle down?” as family gathers to focus on, well…family.  Add some age to that scenario, subtract the procreation question (because you have already chosen to generate offspring or not and it is too late anyway if you haven’t already if you are female) factor in the division of family caused by the break up of your  long term relationship and you may be staring at a potential summation of Ho Ho Holiday misery.  Ugh!

 

I myself am looking at two weeks of zero plans from December 21st – January 7th which is overshadowed in bleakness only by my looming 50th Birthday in February (no plans for that either) making me absurdly nostalgic for my former married life – dangerous territory at best.  Unlike other years, my home will be absent of children to spoil, family to feast and fete, a partner to snuggle with next to the fire. Heck, there won’t even be a fire since I moved into an apartment this year. “Boo hoo”. But before you barf at my overindulgent pity party, please know that I am not alone. According to unmarried.org there are loads of people out there in facing a similar situation including roughly 39 million people who were once married and now living singularly.

 

So how does a middle-aged single person get from Black Friday to January 1 without becoming a self-loathing Grinch-like cave dweller?  Below are three options for making a Scrooge-worthy transition to get you from zero to 60 on the fun monitor in 8 reindeer seconds flat.

 

Option 1: Take Care of Yourself:

According to Dr. Robert Leahy, PhD., Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, the first step to beating the Holiday Blahs is to dedicate yourself to self-care.  That means, rather than trying to drink, eat or drug yourself through the season, try eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising. This is a great idea because while everyone else is feeling sluggish from rich foods,  hungover and packing on the holiday pounds you will be feeling perky and working out in a practically empty gym. ( Bonus: You will look hot by January when all those flabby revelers flock to do penance.) If you need help with this concept you could head to and Ashram like Yogaville where standard vices are banned and you will be fed a delicious organic vegetarian diet. (They are offering a silent retreat from December 28th to January 1st to allow for some concentrated contemplation, possibly just the thing to prepare you for the new year.)

 

Option 2: Different: is Good:

The second step to Holiday Mental Health, according to Mary Burruss, MEd, is to get your self together and start some new traditions.  If you have some money to burn, go to a fancy spa for a week or simply go somewhere Christmas is not a big deal like Bali or Beijing. Nothing like white sand, palm trees and clear blue water or a visit to the Forbidden City to perk one up I always say.

 

If you are functioning on a tighter budget and wish to stay close to home, you might plan some paradoxical-holiday celebrations. For example; I just spent a wonderful evening with some friends watching their favorite Christmas movie, DIE HARD. We laughed our as…., um, antlers off at the bad German accents and seemingly endless scenes involving stairs (I expected to see M. C. Escher listed under Set Design). I have also decided to invite some friends to join me on a jaunt over the hill and through the woods to Blackfriars Theatre in Staunton to catch Genna Hoben’s hilarious Twelve Dates of Christmas, a one woman show about a year of dating recovery following a serious break-up (Hmm. That story sounds somewhat familiar.)  You could also through a party on a lesser holiday like Kings Day (January 6th). I have a single friend who hostesses a big Boxing Day (December 26th) party which keeps her so busy with preparations on the 25th that she hardly notices the day.

 

Option 3: Save the World:

You can realize your dream of being a super hero by volunteering during the Holidays. Locally, The Haven has many volunteer opportunities including making breakfasts and helping with other services. You can contact Stephan at stephen@tjach.org to learn more. I love volunteering over the holidays when I have the time and many regular volunteers need the time off.

 

The key is to take this potentially emotionally toxic time and turn it into something fun for you– a taylor made holiday rather than a Hallmark version you may think or wish you had – which really is the basis of time well spent, anyway.

 

Happy Christmakwanzicah Everyone!

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