If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of holiday seasons single. So what do you do? The holidays is a time that most people want to spend with their significant others, their loved ones, their families.

So if you’re someone who either doesn’t have a great relationship with your family, doesn’t have a lot of friends where you are or you’re someone who’s not partnered, the holidays can feel like a really lonely time. Everyone else is getting all of this really wonderful-from-the-outside bonding time and attention and love and it can be hard watching them and wondering why it is you don’t have that.

My single person’s guide to holiday success

Number one, find the people you do love, whether it’s friends, whether it’s pets, whether it’s your personal trainer, whatever it is. Find the people you love and spend time with them, even if it’s phone calls, FaceTime, Skype because you can’t be there in person. Get connection with people who you really care about.

This can be your blood family. This can be people that you just know, that you’re close friends with. But regardless, finding a way to prioritize time with people that you love is going to be a huge improvement on your time.

Number two, remember that the life you’re seeing other people have is going to look way different on the inside for them than it looks on the outside for you. Most people don’t post about all their drama on Facebook or Twitter. So when you’re seeing those happy family pictures, you’re not seeing the two-hour argument that came before it.

A lot of families have their own drama and weirdness. Most families do. So if someone looks like everything is perfect and happy in their family, you’re probably not getting the full picture.

Don’t compare your inside life to their public-facing life because they’re almost never the same thing. It’s not a fair comparison. It will be like comparing a totally Photoshopped image of yourself to the way you look when you wake up in the morning. Not the same thing.

Third tip, whatever you do, just make it through, whatever that takes for you, whether it’s going and hiding in a hole for a few weeks and making sure that you’re staying away from Christmas music and sappy movies, whether it’s making sure that you’re out more often, going to see people, trying new things, going to new restaurants, whatever it is for you.

Find out what works best for you in terms of coping with times that are challenging for you. Suicide rates skyrocket around the holidays because this is a stressful time for a lot of people and if you are thinking of hurting yourself, if you’re feeling like you don’t have anything to live for, I promise you there is. I promise you that you can move forward from here.

So find a way to take care of yourself. Find a way to cope. Find a way to get through one more day. Whatever it is that you need, figure out that coping tool.

Being single at the holidays can actually be fun!

I prefer being single at the holidays because I only have to navigate one set of family. I only have to navigate my own expectations and desires. It makes things a lot simpler for me. Find your silver lining. What is it for you that makes being single at the holidays great? There has to be something that’s a benefit.

Maybe you always hated the way that your partner, when you went to their house for the holidays, made you sleep in their twin bed with them. Nobody likes cuddling in a twin bed. It’s no fun.

Or maybe it’s that this time you don’t have to listen to their family drone on and on about that TV show that they love that you’ve never watched. Whatever it is, find your silver lining. Find your one great thing.

For me, the thing that I’m loving about this holiday season, even though I’m a solo poly person, is that I get to spend time with people that I love and care about, people who are my chosen family, who I care about so much and who would do anything for me, people who love me exactly the way I am and I’m finding that space for me this holiday season. If I had a partner, I probably couldn’t be as selfish about that time. So this way, I get to do exactly what I want to do.

I hope your holiday season goes really well. If you’re having trouble, please reach out. I will put links to a suicide hotline here in the notes. You can also send me a message if you feel like coaching will be helpful for you or if you live in Arizona or California and think therapy could be helpful.

There are people here to help support you through these tough times. Being single in our culture is rough, but it doesn’t have to be the end for you. Have a great holiday season.