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Upcoming holidays challenging your mood?

This is it. We're in the home stretch...sliding into "Holiday Season."

And if you're fairly recently on your own, the whole thing may feel daunting to you. In a few days we have Halloween. Around the corner from that we have Thanksgiving. Then Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Then Valentine's Day...

For single women over 35, these markers can stimulate loneliness, regret, self-doubt, depression, or even fear. We reminisce about "the good times" when we had a partner to share these special days with, and the things we did with them. Maybe this included extended family members that are also no longer a part of our lives.

Reflecting on it, we start to miss how it felt to be a part of something bigger than us. On top of that, we get bombarded with cultural messages suggesting that the only way to truly enjoy these special days is to share them with a partner or extended family. While doing that can be fulfilling, it's not the only way to enjoy ourselves over these holidays.

So...if you are on your own this year, NOW IS THE TIME to make your plans. What will you do with your holiday time? What new tradition can you start for yourself and/or with others in your life? What would you enjoy doing that you've never done before?

The thing is, when we have "free time," meaning time away from work to do as we wish, and we no longer have built in distractions or obligations to fill that time, we are free to get creative! Otherwise, our mind kicks into high gear, slamming us with pathetic stories of the past or future, none of which have any relevance to here and now or to what happens next.

But these stories can easily send us into an emotional cyclone, and before we know it, we're sobbing into our peas for no real reason. We get caught in memories of what was or fears of what may be...none of it real. What's real is that we are here, now, and free to do as we choose.

Instead of wasting your energy in mental-emotional cyclones, get creative. Open your fun door. Let yourself play and enjoy the free time however you want! There are no rules to how we spend our free time, holidays or not. So spend it exactly as you want, with yourself or with others as you wish. Don't buy into the marketing manipulations targeted at getting you to purchase something. Instead, make up your own rules and have a great time!

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