Written by: Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
The holidays spark a variety of emotions including joy, excitement, and love. For the single mom, the holidays can sometimes bring a deeper awareness of her sense of loneliness. Just imagine going to holiday functions, seeing happy couples expressing love for one another, and you show up to dinner once again without a partner. How would you feel?
Holidays are typically celebrated with immediate and extended family. It should be a time of joyous celebration, but if you’re a single mom, this time of year can be triggering. Maybe you’ve had dreams of being a family with your child’s father, and the holidays are another reminder of that dream being shattered. But you sense there’s something magical in the air. You might feel a tug on your heart to reach out to him and reignite a connection that was once broken. Let me tell you something…
That tug on your heartstrings is not a sign that you should be together. It’s simply a deep need for attachment.
Spending time with family members, especially those in romantic relationships, can trigger our need for attachment. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs indicates that all humans have a basic need of belonging. When we see family and friends who are romantically connected when we are not, that unmet need for belonging can intensify and sometimes become painful enough to trigger symptoms of depression.
As the holidays are approaching, have you found yourself beginning to isolate? It might feel safer to stay home, ignore phone calls, and just cuddle up in bed with your favorite blanket, and a mug of hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies all day.
Or have you found yourself feeling desperate for attention? In attempts to fulfill the need for connection and to alleviate the pain of being unattached, you might feel tempted to reach out to an old flame. It’s a trap. Don’t fall for it this year.
Quick Tips to Avoid Creating Unhealthy Attachments During the Holidays
Before we get into what to do to create a healthy attachment, let’s talk about what not to do to fulfill your need for attachment during the holidays.
1. Do not call your ex.
Your ex is an ex for a reason. Don’t ignore what you already know about their character and how you feel when you’re around them. Most importantly, don’t allow the glitz and glam of the holidays to blind you from the truth.
2. Do not go online shopping for a connection.
Desperation for connection should not be the motivating factor to start a relationship. If you find yourself wanting to swipe left or right, pick up the phone and call a friend.
3. Do not isolate yourself.
Isolation for the lonely single mother can increase symptoms of depression as well as lead to suicidal ideation. It can also allow room for impulsive decisions to reestablish unhealthy attachments as you ignore the boundaries you’ve previously established for your emotional safety.
Quick Tips to Develop Healthy Attachments During the Holidays
As you identify the need for connection, here are some helpful tips to create healthy attachments and avoid loneliness during the holidays.
1. Accept invitations to have dinner with family and friends.
It might be easier to say “I’ll think about it” when you receive an invitation to connect. This year, challenge yourself to say yes and show up no matter how you feel. You might be pleasantly surprised by how connecting with loved ones will renew the love you have for yourself.
2. Plan a single mom’s holiday dinner.
The holidays are a wonderful time to plan a girls’ night out or in with the kids. Not only will this allow you to connect with single moms who may be feeling just like you, but you will also provide opportunities for your child to connect with their peers.
3. Volunteer in your community with your child/children.
There’s nothing better than giving to others to help get your mind off of your troubles. Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to connect with someone in need of your time and attention.
If you are struggling to develop healthy connections, let’s connect for a one-on-one coaching session.
If you need to connect with other single moms, click the link below to check out a nonprofit located in O’Fallon, IL Hearts in Faith NFP.
Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Leslie Davis is a licensed counselor, relationship coach, mental health consultant, and podcaster. Using an Emotion-Focused approach, she empowers women and youth with tools to develop healthy connections. Her work with clients focuses on attachment styles, self-esteem, and empowering women to cope with anxiety and depression. As the Founder and Executive Director of Hearts in Faith, NFP Dr. Davis also brings awareness and addresses the needs of single mothers, single fathers, and youth in her community. You can find her podcast, She Matters with Leslie Davis, on various platforms including Apple and Spotify.