How to be Single Over the Holidays

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Just two months before Christmas, I received a text message that read, “I’m done.” 

I knew it was coming. 

We were fighting so much…

Stephanie Hill shares How to be Single Over the Holidays on The Style Bungalow

Stephanie Hill shares How to be Single Over the Holidays on The Style Bungalow

By the time the holidays came around, I knew I needed to take two weeks off from work so I decided to head home. Home is in Houston, Texas, where I grew up until I was 19. I was looking forward to getting my mind off of things and spending time with the whole family. You would think being home with family would help heal my “breakup blues,” but it didn’t. My brother went backpacking across Europe and my sister was busy celebrating with her soon-to-be husband. That meant it was me…my parents…and those oh-so-lovely recurring thoughts you get post-breakup: “I wonder what he’s up to…” that snowballed into, “What did I do wrong?” to “Maybe I’m not good enough” to “I’ll be single forever.”  

To make matters worse, I got sick with the flu. It was so bad that doctors warned me not to fly back home for New Year’s Eve because my eardrums could rupture. I had no choice, but to spend the remainder of my holiday with my parents. Fortunate to have them by my side, I was still heartbroken. I remember sitting at the restaurant we went to for NYE and watching couples, one after the next, file in. They were holding hands and brimming with love and affection, which sent a surge of emotions in me to the point where I needed to excuse myself so I could cry in the restroom. My heart was truly broken, “I’m almost 30 and can’t seem to find a decent guy.” 

Looking back on that memory and passed the tears, I was reminded of a few things. First, time heals everything. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I had to allow myself to feel the loss, move forward without it and trust that there was someone who would be my best match. As soon as I regained my groove, I met Pedro, who two years later became my fiancé (and is the most incredible man I’ve ever met). Second, there are a few things I wish I would have done differently and a few things I did right, like journaling as an outlet for my emotions/a way of venting. (You can read more about that season here.)  

Blouse: Johanna Ortiz

Pants: old, similar here and here

Sandals: Schutz Earrings: Jennifer Behr 

Bag: (c/o) Brahmin 

So naturally with the holidays right around the corner now, I can’t help but look back and reflect on how much has changed…for the better. I like to think that all things happen for a reason and all that pain and suffering from bad breakups led me to where I am today…in a happy and healthy relationship with myself and my fiancé.

I should also note that I’ve been happily single over the holidays, too. Sure, it had its complicated moments and wake-up calls when prying relatives asked, “Are you dating anyone?” or “When are you getting married?” but it’s so important to not let that get to you. When I didn’t, I discovered how happy I was learning, growing and cherishing the time I was able to have by myself because it’s precious time I could never get back.

So whether you’re going through a breakup, like I did a few years ago, or happily single over the holidays, today’s post is for you. These are 7 ways to I learned to savor singleness over the holidays, some of which I wished I knew then…but, hindsight.  

Sleep in. There’s no better time than the holidays to wear pajamas all day, binge watch holiday movies (my personal favorites: The Holiday, Love Actually, Home Alone and The Family Stone.) Worried you’ll be judged by others? Buy silk pajamas. They look great with slippers, heels and even trench coats. 

Write your heart out. It’s funny, but every time I go through something – good or bad – I write it down because I don’t want to forget it. For me, journaling during hard times can be so cathartic. I started my blog post-breakup; I went through another breakup years later. And honestly, some of my best entries on here were written with tears streaming down my face…

Have a spa night. Back when I lived in a terrible apartment (my first one), I would make sure to take long bubble baths while listening to Frank Sinatra (my classic holiday and everyday playlist) with the windows open because I loved the feeling and light breeze through the windows. Then, I would light candles, paint my nails and do a face mask. Sure, my bathroom was falling apart, but I didn’t focus on that. In those moments, I felt so blessed to be just “be” and have a place to refresh my mind.

Buy something. Fun fact (and don’t laugh): I used to buy myself panties whenever I went through a breakup. New panties cost $20 and at that time it was all the money I had to splurge on myself. Today I’m thankful that I can splurge on things that will last, like a new handbag or coat. Pieces that will remind me of my hard-earned dollars and make me proud to keep in my closet. 

Speaking of, because I know it will pop up, I’m carrying the Midge handbag from Brahmin – one I happily treated myself to this month. Brahmin strikes the perfect balance between splurge and save. When my best friend came over the other day, I noticed her new handbag and asked, “Is that a Brahmin? When did you buy it?” She said, “I bought it for myself as a treat for all the hard work I’ve been doing – the quality’s amazing. I’ve been working a ton and I’m happy It pairs perfectly with my work clothes, too. Honestly, I can’t put it down.” 

So whether you buy panties or a Brahmin bag, be sure to treat yourself to something nice. 

Organize! That week between Christmas and NYE is generally pretty slow. Most people take that time off to be with family and friends. If you’re one of them, find some time to reorganize your closet and get rid of clothing you don’t need. Take that clothing to a women’s shelter and say, “Happy Holidays” to the person who accepts your donations. I promise you’ll walk out feeling a hundred times better.  

Create new traditions.The kind of traditions only you get to experience! I have this mini-Christmas tree I keep shoved in a box in my storage unit that I take out every year. I put super cheesy ornaments I’ve saved throughout the years on it and wrap it in string lights. It’s so flimsy and tips over every time I plug in the lights. But whatever, it’s charming to me. I love decorating that little tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping a glass of wine. It’s something I always look forward to around this time of year.

Lastly, be kind to yourself. The impending end-of-the-year can remind us of what we don’t have. While going through my breakup, I had a terrible habit of doing this. I ripped myself apart for not being in a relationship when in reality, he wasn’t the one for me and something better was out there (aka, my fiancé). So when my girlfriends go through a breakup, I spend time intentionally reminding them of how much they’re valued. “Your smile is gorgeous…you have the best sense of humor and the biggest heart!” I do this until they believe it again, because it’s the truth and sometimes we forget these parts of ourselves when everything else seems to be crumbling in front of us

Trust me, I get it. Breakups, especially when you’re the one getting broken up with, can spiral into negativity fast. But when you feel you’re headed down that tunnel, do yourself a favor and write down 10 things you like about yourself. Place that note in your bathroom mirror and spend 5 minutes reciting it during the holidays, the same way I do with my friends. 

Being single over the holidays can truly be great. You’d be surprised how many people would love to have that type of independence! So be kind to yourself. Find rest, enjoy a spa night, buy yourself a new Brahmin bag, then pour yourself a glass of wine and watch Love Actually this holiday season. Embrace every second of it…including the good and the bad…because there’s always something greater in it for you in the long run.

Xo, Stephanie 

Photography by Shaye Babb

[Thank you Brahmin for sponsoring today’s post!]

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