Winter is coming — and with it, the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year. Perhaps it’s the snow flurries, or the prospect of ice skating arm-in-arm with a sweetie, but romance (and engagements) seems to peak around wintertime too. This romantic time of year can be incredible if you have someone to spend it with, but lonely if you’re feeling, well, alone. Christie Tcharkhoutian, a licensed marriage and family therapist in LA, has some pro tips for surviving #ProposalSzn.

1. Remember that you are loved. “The holidays often emphasize the idea that if you don’t have a significant other in your life right now, that means you are ‘missing love,’” Tcharkhoutian says. “This is simply not the case.” You might not be in a romantic relationship at the moment, but you have friendships and familial love, which are also celebrated this time of year with Friendsgiving and family holiday gatherings. “We won’t always have our loved ones around, and it’s important to embrace the extra time you can spend with elderly grandparents or parents without having to split the time with a significant other’s family,” Tcharkhoutian advises.

2. Start a gratitude journal. Create a new holiday tradition by buying a cute journal and using it to write down five things you’re grateful for each day. “This will not only boost your mood, but it will remind you that there is so much more to your life than your relationship status,” Tcharkhoutian says. If you’re feeling extra holiday spirit, pair your gratitude journal ritual with your advent calendar!

3. Be present with your feelings. Tcharkhoutian recommends being mindful to help you understand what will best help you through this difficult time — for example, it might not be the best idea for you to go to the same party as your ex and their fiancé. Additionally, acknowledge your feelings: “The ambiguous loss of being single over the holidays can be especially painful if we try to avoid it or pretend that it isn’t there,” Tcharkhoutian explains. By recognizing your emotions, you’ll be better at taking care of yourself and letting others do the same.

4. Celebrate others. During this time, social media is your best friend and worst enemy. “We all know that the lies of social media can convince us that everyone else is happy and in a relationship except us,” Tcharkhoutian says. “Relationships are difficult and there is pain in both being a relationship and in being single. There is no need to romanticize and think that all of someone’s problems miraculously disappeared with a little blue box from Tiffany’s.” Balance this skeptical view of social media with genuine happiness for your friends. If one of your besties gets engaged, take the time and energy to celebrate them. Their happiness is your happiness!

What tactics do you use to get through tough times? Let us know @BritandCo!

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