There are times of the year when being on our own, perhaps without our children, is tough. Christmas, long weekends, holidays and key social events can be hard if we’re alone, everyone else seemingly enjoying special moments.

Here are 9 tips to help;

– Remind yourself that it’s often just for one day. If you’re alone plan ways to occupy yourself. How wonderful to know you can cook your favourite food, read your book or watch a film undisturbed, soak and enjoy a guilt-free leisurely bath. Then, when you’re next with your loved ones you can organise extra-special times together.

– Revise your perspective. Use some time productively, catching up on jobs and chores, but also enjoy ‘me time’, doing the things you often struggle to fit in, like catching up with friends or shopping at your own pace. Relish time for yourself.

– Avoid guilt-tripping your children. They know what’s going on. Yes, they may allow one parent to bribe them with holidays and expensive gifts – why wouldn’t they! But they’ll also appreciate the other parent’s daily struggles, the things you suspect go largely unnoticed. Allow them to freely choose where they want to be.

– Maintain involvement in all areas of life. Remember, you have your own identity too. Keep yourself interesting by being interested in the news, popular TV, what’s happening locally. Then you can comfortably join conversations and build new social connections. Being alone isn’t the same as being isolated or disconnected from daily life.

– Mixing and talking to new people is a great way to improve your confidence, inspire you to update your appearance and become more than ‘just an ex or a parent! Plus conversing is an important skill, quickly lost if we’re out of practice and haven’t socialised independently in a while. Practise your conversational skills regularly; at the supermarket, whilst waiting in a queue or travelling on the bus can all be good places to safely share a few moments of relaxed conversation.

– Manage your expectations. When you dip a tentative toe into the dating scene don’t initially invest everything into that new relationship. Enjoy meeting someone new, getting to know them and maybe flirting a little. If things don’t work out that’s fine. Be gentle with yourself.

– Make invitations. Join mailing lists, source free and special offers. Become the go-to guy for fun and also accept when others invite you along. Keep in touch with what’s happening locally. Then you can join in, even if some events aren’t quite to your taste.

– Provide reasonable options for those on a budget; a pamper evening, supper party where everyone contributes, or a games evening. Sport can be a great way to exercise and socialise at the same time.

– Make time for your own interests. Volunteer, join a class, a walking group. Maybe alternate child cares with other parents and free up some time for yourself.

Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. Remember, people in unhappy relationships will envy you for your freedom and single life.

Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She’s the author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit

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