I don't know what it is about this time of year— maybe the cold just makes everyone go mental in search of human blankets or the questions from family members around the holidays got to you, but the pressure is on to be in a relationship. And while some people want to be on their own, a lot of people have a hard time being single. Especially in this nook between the holidays and Valentine's Day.
So if you find yourself getting down about being single, don't beat yourself up about it. No matter how independent you want to be, or are, we can all struggle with being alone sometimes. You start to get jealous of your friends and their relationships, or feel like you've done something wrong just because you can't find someone to be with.
But the thing is: there's nothing wrong with being single. Everyone's been there and, no matter what winter dating frenzy is erupting around you, it is 100 percent OK if you're having bad luck with dating or still just not finding anyone you'd want to date. It's completely fine to hold out for something and just be on your own. It's just that sometimes the universe makes it difficult to remember that.
So here are seven ways to feel completely OK with being alone, no matter what anyone else is doing or saying:
1. Do Things You Love
I am a big advocate of having lots of hobbies and doing things that just make you feel a bit better, whatever they may be. And if you're single, you can really take some time to throw yourselves into the things you love, even if you've never done them before. Try a sewing class. Do that yoga teacher training course. Learn how to distill gin from a coffee maker — whatever. Just keep your life full of awesome.
2. Form Other Relationships
There are so many nourishing, rewarding relationships that have nothing to do with sex. Or dating. Or romance or whatever. And being single while still have amazing people in your life is a great way to be able to focus on you a bit while still maintaining important relationships.
3. Work On Self-Improvement
Having some self-indulgent alone time is one of the best parts about being single. You can do as many spin classes as you want or binge-watch all night long. But being alone is also a great time to really work on you. Do some soul searching. Try something new. Stretch yourself a bit. See a therapist. Start a journal. Whatever it is that you think you need to work on at this point in your life, really tackle it. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, just a general sense of wholeness and well-being, which makes you feel a goddamned super hero.
4. Remember That Everyone Is Different
If you're feeling lonely, it can be hard not to be jealous of your friends' relationships — especially if you get used to being the third (or fifth or ninth) wheel. But look a bit closer. Your friend's relationship works for them, and that's great, but it probably isn't what you want. Everybody's different, and when it comes down to it what makes them happy probably isn't exactly what makes you happy. Celebrate the fact that they've found something good for them, but remember you're holding out for what's good for you.
5. Travel Somewhere Completely New
This is a personal favorite of mine. I love traveling by myself. If you don't have a lot of funds it doesn't have to be across the world— you can just go to a new part of your state or even city. Just go explore somewhere new, all on your own. It'll make you feel like an awesome adventurer and incredible independent.
6. Embrace Self-Love
Yeah... I think this speaks for itself.
7. Think About What Didn't Work Before
When I went through really long period of being single there were times when I definitely struggled with it or got sick of it, especially when all of my friends were coupled up. Most of the time I really enjoyed being on my own, but sometimes the loneliness just messed with me. But you just need a little perspective sometimes. I would remind myself why dating really just wasn't I wanted— or needed— at that time and also how difficult some of my past relationships had been.
It might seem a bit cynical, but remembering it's not always rose petals and candles (and that in my case it was more Dungeons and Dragons and bad sex), helps remind you that being single and holding out for something great is so much better than being in a bad relationship. So if you're struggling sometimes, don't worry, even if you wobble it's still the right decision.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: michael spring/Fotolia; Giphy