What a delightful time of the year the holiday season can be. The Christmas decorations are up, shoppers are everywhere and everyone is oh so friendly. Yet, for many, the holidays do not provide cheer.
If you are single, you may not feel that holiday glee, especially with family members constantly asking about your singleness, loneliness and the feeling of being left out of all of the festivities. All of this causes more stress than any of us need. So, here are five ways singles can handle stress and tension during the holiday season.
Honestly? Yes! I know you have heard it over and over again, but exercise releases hormones. Hormones such as endorphin, dopamine, and oxytocin are released and give you the natural high that you crave.
Actually, dopamine and oxytocin are associated with pleasure and love; therefore, when your body releases these hormones, it’s almost the same feeling that you would get if you were in love!
I know you are reading this and saying, “So, if I exercise, not only can I get in shape and relieve some stress, I can also feel happy and in love?” Honey, yassss! Anybody feel like breaking into a sweat? Yoga…anyone?
2. Eat Healthy.
The holiday season gives each of us a reason to overeat. The food just looks and smells so good. Ham, turkey, pie, dressing, mac and cheese, cake, cookies, you name it. Ahem…the list can go on and on. The temptation to eat everything in sight can be worse when you are stressed and single.
Binge eating seems to provide some sort of comfort and escape. So instead of eating an entire package of cookies while watching “She’s Gotta Have It,” let’s start replacing unhealthy foods with natural and unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Your diet affects your mood; therefore, if you are filling up on sweets and fatty foods, you will pack on the pounds AND feel horrible. There are plenty of books and online resources to help teach you the right way to eat.
You can stay up all night and scroll through Instagram and Facebook, or you can go to sleep so that you can wake up feeling refreshed.
Depriving yourself of sleep while watching countless stories on Snapchat will not do a thing for you. Not only will you develop bags and under-eye circles (I never slept during my college years and still recovering), you will deprive your body the time it needs to repair itself. Sleep deprivation is no joke.
It makes you grumpy, creates tension headaches and causes you to make poor choices. I mean, seriously, you cannot think straight when you have not had enough sleep. So shut off the phone and turn off the lights, Sis.
4. Do Something Fun.
Seriously, hanging around the house and being grumpy about being single while everyone else is booed up is not going to cut it. Get out of the house! Take yourself out to eat and to see a funny movie. Who said you needed a date? There is nothing wrong with treating yourself.
Try a spa day or girls’ night out with other single friends. Volunteering during this time of the year can be fun, also. You can meet new people and give back to the community. Whatever you do, just get out there and socialize.
5. Talk It Out.
If you have gotten to the point that you simply feel overwhelmed with stress, loneliness or suicidal thoughts, it is time to talk to a professional. In the Black community, mental health and wellness is mocked. We simply do not want to be seen as “weak.” Now is the time to let go of the stigma of getting counseling/therapy.
There is no such thing as pride when you are at your wits’ end. Talk to someone! There are countless resources available on and offline. Free clinics that provide therapy and psychiatric treatment are available. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Enlist a group of supportive friends that will be there to talk no matter the time of day or night. Join legit Facebook groups that provided support and encouragement. If you are religious, join a local church. Pray, meditate, take a walk.
No matter what, do not let the stress from this holiday season cause you to give up. If you are feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to, dial 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline). They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.