The holidays can be a really lonely time when you’re single. So many celebrations and gatherings are family-centered and couple-centered, and you can feel like you’re the only single one there (and sometimes you are). Then there’s that huge pressure for romance on New Year’s Eve, and that horrible moment set aside for the ‘big kiss’.

Even if you have great relationships with your family of origin, showing up alone to the family gathering can be rough when Aunt Dot keeps asking when you’re going to settle down. (And if you’re alienated from your family, or live far away, that can also be super rough).

It can be hard to go solo to parties with peers, whether they be work-related or purely social. If you’re divorced or separated, dealing with your ex and the kids can bring up another whole slew of feelings. And if you want kids but don’t have them, being around all the cherubic toddlers and babies can be really challenging.

It’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out, hide in bed, or move to Bali. Since those are probably not an option, here are some ways to survive, and thrive, during the holiday season:

1) Surround Yourself with Love: While nothing can substitute for the love of a committed romantic partner, it’s important to meet your need for love in the ways that are available to you, right now. We all need the love of friends and family in any case, even when we’re happily coupled up. Take the time to nurture those relationships. Can’t see folks in person? Pick up the phone or get on Skype. Call your brother, your college buddy, your friend from your last job. If it feels safe, share about how hard it is to be alone over the holidays. Make sure to bust through the isolation that can easily set in. Reach out, even though it might feel vulnerable.

2) Self-care: Do whatever you can to treat yourself excellently. Go inside and ask yourself what you really need...some indulgent spa time? some artistic inspiration? time in nature with friends? a day hiding under the covers with a good novel? Pick whatever sounds most delicious. Make sure to carve out the time and make the necessary plans. Give it to yourself. You deserve it. And now is a great time.

3) Take Action: To avoid feeling at the mercy of your circumstances, it’s important to take action towards your goals. Do at least one small thing every day to put yourself out there so you can meet that awesome partner. Revise that online profile (or put it up!), write an interesting person a brief email, join a new MeetUp. Taking action will help you feel empowered and it will bring you closer to creating the life and love that you want.

4) Buddy Up: Can’t face another work party alone? Don’t want to head to the New Year’s Eve party solo yet again? Invite a friend - or, if appropriate, a few - to join you. Need some support to get through the family gathering? Set up a phone call with a friend before and/or after. Need some accountability to set up self-care? Talk to a friend who also wants to do self-care and either schedule something together or commit to a time by which you’ll set up your own thing - and then check in with each other so you do it!

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