How to Survive a Pandemic Thanksgiving as a Single Catholic

Studies and Catholic singles alike reveal that the holiday season is often the most difficult to navigate as a single man or woman. We’re currently living through a global pandemic, which can make this time of year feel even more isolating. Gathering with families may look different, or not happen at all. Dating may feel even more odd since what you can and cannot do socially is constantly changing. 

While 2020 may not feel like it has been your year, it doesn’t mean the holiday season has to also be a total dumpster fire. Part of human resilience is the ability to handle and respond to the things we cannot control with acceptance, grace, and serenity.

Here are a variety of ways to help you navigate the Thanksgiving holiday with hope and maybe even some joy.

Host a virtual friends-giving

This year will probably not be the year you’re able to gather in person with all your closest friends and family members for a variety of reasons. I know many of you (myself included!) are 100% over all the virtual meetings and gatherings. But the reality is that our current lives still require this. 

Why not have a virtual Thanksgiving celebration with friends? You could do a happy hour with appetizers or each prepare a different dish to share over your virtual gathering. Make some time to share and reflect on the surprising blessings of the last year. Perhaps make time to reflect on favorite Thanksgiving traditions your family had growing up. Find and share in some joy, even if things look a little bit different.

Create a gratitude journal

We all know there is power in regular and frequent gratitude in our daily lives. People who frequently take time to name and recall their blessings and gratitude are actually 25 percent happier than those who do not. Take some time to get your heart and head in the right space. 

Don’t focus all your energy on how the last year did not go as you anticipated or planned. You will probably give yourself a headache or come away feeling more anxious. Focus on the surprising, sweet blessings this past year, the current season of your life, and whatever you can find and name. I promise you there is always something to be grateful for, even if you are not feeling it in the moment. 

I find in my own life what is most powerful about gratitude is that the perspective of my heart gets changed from the inside out. Gratitude helps me take the focus of what is less than ideal in my own life and see the wider picture of how and where God is acting and moving.

Find a journal at home or buy a new one in the dollar section at Target. Grab a pen, turn open a new page, and start writing. 

Send a note to let someone know why they’re special to you

There is something powerful about getting a handwritten card, letter, or love note from someone special in your life. It just brings a smile to the face and it helps to know other people are thinking of you. Thanksgiving is a great time to share and send a little extra dose of love to the people in your life, especially ones you may not get to see as much this year. 

Start by going through the contact list in your phone or address book. Make a list of all the names of people in your life who may need a little bit more of joy in their life right now: coworkers, grandparents, nieces and nephews, the friend dealing with a break-up, etc. Find some nice stationary or grab some markers to decorate your note. 

For every person you write to, be sure to share several reasons on why this person is so special to you. What difference has he or she made in your life? What do you most love about them? What are the reasons you are thankful this person is in your life. Let them know.

We all have a need to be seen and known. Love on the people you are most grateful for in your life this Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving does not have to be a lonely time for you as a Catholic single. Be aware of the different, creative ways you can love and serve others. Sometimes taking the focus off ourselves helps lighten our own loneliness.

Cherish all the ways God loves you, the blessings, in your own life. Be aware of how you can love others around you well. Don’t forget, there is always something to be thankful for.

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