Whether it’s Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, your birthday, or somewhere in between, being alone on special holidays can be difficult. Are you someone that feels incredibly sad or lonely on special holidays and long for something different? Maybe you recently lost a loved one that is not here to celebrate with you, or just ended a relationship and are not celebrating the holidays how you initially envisioned, or maybe you’re used to being alone for certain holidays but desperately want to have someone to spend it with. No matter what your circumstances are that have created a situation where you’re alone and wishing you weren’t, there are ways to support yourself and feel less down.
Holidays have as much meaning as we give to them. If you genuinely feel and believe that Valentine’s Day is a special holiday only meant to be shared by people who are in love, that will impact how you view the holiday. If your current reality doesn’t fit into that mold, it’s likely you’re going to feel negative, down, and alone. Instead of focusing on how your holiday doesn’t look and feel the way you want it to, try these instead:
- Make the day about you. That’s right, make the day about you and do things that make you feel happy, excited, and content. Maybe plan your own birthday celebration, take yourself out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, or buy something you’ve really been wanting as a present to yourself. If we only look at holidays as those days we wish we were with others, we don’t have the opportunity to focus on ourselves and what we need or what would make us feel good.
- Start new traditions. Can’t be with family on your birthday? Start your own fun and exciting tradition. Maybe that looks like taking yourself out to breakfast, spending the day in your pj’s watching funny movies, or going on a day trip to explore a new city. Don’t have someone to spend Valentine’s Day with? Maybe there’s an opportunity to start a new tradition with friends, like seeing a movie or grabbing dinner one night that week.
- Stop comparing yourself and your situation to others. It can be easy to scroll on social media and see others posting about what their partner or spouse got them for their birthday, which can cause us to compare someone else’s situation to ours. The problem is comparisons rarely make us feel better.
- Limit time on social media. Just like with comparisons, social media can be a trigger for feeling sad and alone. Seeing people with their families when you’re not with yours, seeing someone get married when you have longed for that day, or seeing someone happy when you are not, are all potential triggers of feeling more alone and sad. Take precautions when it comes to social media and limit time on those platforms if you notice yourself feeling worse after being on those apps.
- Be kind to yourself. Just because you find yourself celebrating a holiday or special event alone, does not mean you need to beat yourself up about it. Practice self-compassion, be gentle with yourself, and know and believe that it does not mean you’re not enough.
Holidays, birthday celebrations, special engagements, and so many other days throughout the year can make us feel pressure to be somewhere we’re not. If we’re not in a relationship, it feels like we need to be in one. If we don’t have the opportunity to see family that day, it makes us feel like there’s something bad about that. However, holidays, special anniversaries, and your birthday are all about what you make them. If you don’t feel good about the fact that they currently represent something that does not align with your life, feel free to change their meanings to better serve you. You don’t have to be stuck feeling bad about yourself.