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Because December...

Don’t Opt Out This Holiday Season Because You’re Solo

Many of us find ourselves riding solo for the holidays. Maybe you just moved to a new city and don’t know many people. Or perhaps your family is traveling.

The holiday season is a time of tradition, but traditions have a knack for morphing into expectations — like presents under the tree, holiday parties and spending time with family and friends.

If you spend much or all of the holiday season on your own, traditions don’t do you much good. It can be a tough time – even for those okay being on our own. But fear not, when you’re solo, you can do plenty of things to make connections during the holidays.

The first step is to be proactive. Expand your community by finding places where you can connect with people who share your interests. Being on your own is an opportunity to broaden your horizons. Social media has helped create many avenues to share experiences with others; some group events can help you feel comfort because of their informality.

Furthermore, pursuing new activities is good for your mindset – and your mind.

"Switching things up gives your brain a workout by encouraging new associations versus the old neural pathways," explains Nancy Irwin, PsyD, a Los Angeles-based therapist.

Planning ahead is a great way to manage unexpected solitude; it may take some time to meet new people. If you are new to a city or unable to travel to be with family, remember that you are not alone in being solo during the holidays – say yes to get-togethers with others and have some fun.

“Build bridges the rest of the year, and cross them during the holidays,” says Craig Ellison, PhD, who suggests participating in activities with an organization throughout the year, to ensure a strong connection when you may need it most.

If you prefer your alone time, go for a hike, to the movies, or to a park or museum. It’s OK to splurge and pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a day of beauty at a spa, get a massage or find some other special way to luxuriate.