Coping with Holiday Stress – the SINGLES edition!


By Marina Agafonov Registered Provisional Psychologist

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or so the song goes anyways, but you have been invited to numerous parties, and you have no one to take with you as your date to that ugly Christmas sweater party. Not to fret! Let me tell you about the awesome parts of being single during the holidays!  Or by the end of this article, I will convince you that it is perfectly great to be single during the holiday season … Bridget Jones had it all wrong, I tell ya!

Well we already know it is a lot cheaper to be single during the holidays, because you don’t have to buy Christmas presents for your significant other or their family members.  Sure, and you can rock out your awesome “sweater body” and stuff your tummy full of Christmas tarts and cookies without having to worry.  But, really there are great emotional benefits to it, if you choose to accept the holidays as a singleton you can find joy in the little things and the big things.

Having gone through many a holiday season as a single girl, I know it can be taught once again attend a holiday party alone.  Here are some great ways to cope!

Don’t skip the party just because you don’t have a date. 

  • Being single, you can mingle with ease without having to be stuck by someone’s side.  Create a personal challenge to meet at least 3 new people.  Here remember “interested is interesting” ask people one question and they will happily chat!  Ask people about themselves so they don’t have  chance to ask you uncomfortable questions. Contrary to popular belief, people DO enjoy talking about themselves, after all it is the one thing they are an expert on the subject!
  • Attending parties as a fabulous singleton, means you are on your own clock and are not obligated to wait for anyone so if you are bored you can leave the party. 

Make time for friends

  • I like to host a “hot toddy” or “hot wine” party for my single gal friends, we get together, we wear our ugliest jammies and we watch “Love Actually”.  It is a great thing to have a network of friends who get you, find your tribe!
  • However, also make time for your married friends.  The holiday season is stressful for all, take time to connect with people individually if the party thing isn’t your scene.  I find that movie matinees work for friend meetings where you don’t feel you have a lot to discuss but want to connect.  The movie does the socializing for you! (Bonus: since it’s during the early evening/late afternoon, the movie theatre is not as crowded”

Treat yourself!

  • Treat yourself well emotionally and physically.  Did you know that during the holiday season my practice is the busiest out of the entire year.  When faced with upcoming stressful situations, come in for a therapy session … I call them “tune ups” there may not be anything wrong just yet, which is why it is good to arm yourself with great coping skills and tricks so that you can bravely face anything that comes your way during the stressful holiday season. 
  • Also treat yourself well physically, sure those Christmas cookies are tempting and it is not your fault that your colleague brought in delectable chocolates!  Use it to your advantage, set aside the treat on  your desk and tell yourself that after the 5th email you send today you can have the cookie.  Or after you complete the 3rd work task and so on.  This paces your caloric intake and allows you to take mini-break throughout the day.  Usually rewarding yourself with food is not a good idea, but here we are using food as a setting of a work pace and allowing for mindful breaks.
  • Treat yourself to a lovely little present, hey if you are out buying gifts for everyone – it is OKAY and not at all selfish to treat yourself a little something too!

Let’s chat just a little more about mental health during the holiday season.  Navigating complicated family or even friendship relationships can sometimes cause stress that we were not even aware of prior to the holiday season.  Remember, no family is perfect so don’t judge yourself too harshly.  This is not a movie, and no your neighbour doesn’t have a better family, you just see the refined image they choose to put out to others.  So keep that Facebook judgement in check too, remember Facebook is essentially a very edited life – so please do not compare yourself to Facebook families.  I challenge you to find at least one quirky thing that you love about each individual in your life.  If “love” is too strong of a word, how about one quirky thing that you think makes that individual at least interesting to be around.  For example, even the Kardashian sisters get annoyed with Kim’s antics, but they love the fact that she is an “ugly crier” and choose to think of that when they are angry with her – it lightens their mood and eventually hers too! 

Remember to pace yourself, the holiday season is quite long and can have many challenging situations, so choose to look for a positive or as I call it a “win” of the day.  Did you do one thing well today?  Yes?  Well then mission accomplished, you’re already doing better than you think!  I am gifting my holiday season to you, and I will be open extended hours all the way through December 2016!  Please click the link below to book in a session with me.

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