‘Sleighing season’: How to emotionally survive Christmas while single

man looking sad and alone at christmas
It doesn’t need to be bleak (Picture: Getty)

Don’t text your ex.

Being single at Christmas can feel particularly triggering, with single shaming, endless ‘the boy done good’ posts, and reminders of your relationship status seemingly everywhere.

It can feel hard to cope with – and therefore create a slippery slope towards bad habits.

Some singletons are determined not to let societal pressures get to them this year. Dating app Badoo say that we’re into ‘sleighing season’ – where we embrace our single status, and slay (or sleigh) the festive season.

They say 46% of their users are deciding to reframe the narrative and make this choice – though that leaves the other half who aren’t.

Ruth Wright-Palmer, 27, who uses Bumble, is currently embracing her single status by solo travelling, so she doesn’t rush into an ill-matched relationship.

She says: ‘Both of my parents are reverends, so the pressure to find a partner, especially a husband, has always been there.

‘My mum and aunt love to meet people at church and invite them over for dinner when I’m due to come over. This has become a frequent habit.

‘I think this is the one of the main reasons I’m solo travelling, to learn more about myself in the hopes that when I do meet the right man, I’ll be in the best place in all facets of myself to create a relationship that will stand the test of time.’

However, as Badoo’s study shows, many singles aren’t in this mindset, and are struggling with the idea of being uncoupled.

Only half would rather be single than message an old flame who isn’t right for them, just to fill a void over the festive break. 

If you’re finding that today’s festivities are making you feel the pressure to be in a relationship, hang fire before you send that text to an ex. Relationship coach Kate Mansfield says there are ways to let go of this idea – and survive with your pride in tact.


So many people will fall into this trap – and regret it by January.

Kate says: ‘When we feel lonely, especially during times like Christmas, texting an ex can feel very tempting.

‘However, we need to remember that we often look back with rose-tinted glasses, and there is usually a reason as to why the relationship did not work out.

‘It’s important to remember the negative as well as the positive.

‘Obviously, there are exceptions and occasionally reuniting with an ex is a good idea, but if this is the case, make sure to think it through carefully, and do it for the right reasons, not because you’re lonely.

‘Use the Christmas period to work on your vision for your love life, then compare this with your ex. Do they match up? If not, forget them!’

This is a common feeling – especially when confronted with Christmas Insta posts of happy couples, and those predictable engagement announcements.

It’s completely normal, but you can’t let it consume you.

Kate says: ‘The best thing is to get really comfortable with your own company.

‘Take yourself out on some fabulous dates, go to places that you’ve always wanted to visit.

‘Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin, and in your own company.

‘Remember, it’s an empowering thing to feel comfortable by yourself, and is in fact very important before heading into any relationship.

‘Being with someone just for the sake of being with someone, and particularly for the sake of being with someone over Christmas, may make you feel lonelier in the long run.

‘A wrong connection is worse than being on your own and being free to explore amazing new opportunities.’

Look ahead and start organising a couple of fun dates for yourself into twixmas and the new year.

Try to see being single as a choice – make it an empowered decision.

Kate says: ‘Keep working on yourself, growing and developing your emotional and physical self.

‘This means that you are showing up as the best person you can be, and are much more likely to attract an available, loving, fabulous partner who can meet your needs – if that’s what you want. It has to start with you.’

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