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Dear readers:

In case you haven't noticed, the temperature is dropping, the leaves are falling, the holidays are approaching and we all know that means one thing: cuffing season has officially begun!

This is the time of year that you notice folks' single status dramatically changing as we approach the four consecutive, "Are you bringing your boyfriend with you" holidays. Guys and girls start looking for that special person to snuggle and get cozy with during the cold weather, that someone to kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve and to be snowed in together as we round out the cold year's end toward what we can only hope will be a warm and spicy Valentine's Day (yes please)!!

If you find yourself not in that category, however, FRET NOT! We are gonna get through this cuffing season together. Here are a few tips I myself am following, in random order, to go from Cuffing Season Catastrophe Case to Holiday Hopeful:

  1. Unplug, unplug, unplug: . Even the strongest, most accomplished and confident person can still be impacted by social media. Whether you're losing track of time trolling the 'Gram or getting lost in the sauce scrolling Facebook, this can be a hazardous time of year. There are bound to be many posts about the great times people are having with their boos, travelling, drinking hot chocolate, exchanging gifts. Guess what else? It's engagement season. Between now and January 1, expect your timeline to be flooded with hashtag #shesaidyes and all of the bells and whistles that come with it. Though you're happy for others, you may every now and then subconsciously get hit with those thoughts of longing or reminiscing. Though quiet thoughts at first, they tend to get louder the longer you scroll. So, do yourself a favor. Before those thoughts of "Why not me,' or "How did she get a man so fast," or "When is it going to be my turn," start to flood your thoughts, log out for a while. Take a few days or even weeks from social media and see  what a difference that makes in your mood......and while we are on the subject-----

  2. Change the station : Listen, it's all good grooving to "What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas," until you find yourself actually being one of the lonely at Christmas. Take your station off of R&B, soul, country or any station that's going to play those love songs that make you start to cry or wonder. This is the time to turn off any song that makes you want to call him and take him back because you suddenly think you miss him so much and think can't imagine bringing in the new year without him. Stop it. He's still the same him that didn't deserve you or wasn't ready for you then; that doesn't change just because it's the end of the year. And dear reader, this doesn't just apply to music. It's movies too! As much as I love me some Hallmark Channel, one too many "under the mistletoe," movies had me feeling like something was missing and almost accepting a phone call I knew I shouldn't. I course-corrected and have the tv programmed to "Elf" and Food Network until December 26th now!

  3. Find safety in numbers: Every single Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next 3 weeks are booked for me. Whether it's friends wanting to get together for coffee, wine-tasting or a girls' night in, or family wanting to fellowship or window shop, I've made a commitment to myself not to sit in the house and stare at the walls and pout. Instead I'm surrounding myself with people that make me laugh or people who I genuinely enjoy. I have carefully built a whole Holiday Squad of people that provide positive energy to every room they are in and crafted a list of inexpensive things to do together. It's funny;  after I made a list of people with whom I want to spend these December weekends, I could no longer look at who I DON'T have and who DIDN'T stick around until the end of 2017. My life started to look so full instead of so empty (Fresh perspective is such a beautifully real thing). If you don't find yourself able to gather with loved ones (maybe you're out of town or maybe you're an introvert and socializing just isn't your thing), there's always our next point----

  4. Give your time (and love) to the less fortunate: Hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters are just a few places you can lend your time (and resources if possible) during this season. While we are out here bae-less, there are so many who would be fine without a boo if they could just have a warm meal or a roof over their heads. You'd be surprised how your smile can impact an elder who longs for  visit from a grandchild who has long since forgotten to visit or call. Selflessly pouring into others shifts your focus and helps you further appreciate what you have. And I'm just a firm believer that as you refresh others, you'll be refreshed too; as you pour into and love on others, all of the goodness you deposit will some way come back to you!

  5. Declutter your mind- Write, journal, paint, clean out your closets (and donate the unused items), pick up a new hobby, exercise, redecorate, read a new book (NOT a romance novel, by the way), make a vision board with friends, and while you're at it, take steps toward those visions and goals. When you find yourself sitting and thinking too long about who's not here and who walked away, get proactive, take action and get out! Put those thoughts to good use and put them onto something else!

  6. Most importantly, practice the power of Block and Delete. Yep, bet you didn't even know that's a super power did you? Trust me, it is. It's the best way to repel those pests that either just won't go away, somehow seem to know when you're the most vulnerable or the ones who are getting their PHD in inconsistency. Listen, if they haven't already started, you can expect the random phone calls and text messages to start pouring in. These will be individuals you haven't spoken to in weeks, months and years and want to just "see how you're doing" because you "suddenly crossed their mind." Sis, RESIST! Discern his motives. Search your own heart and ask yourself, "if it WEREN'T the holiday season, and love and lust WEREN'T hovering in the air, would he even still have a chance with you?" Has he grown since the last time y'all interacted? Have YOU grown since the last time y'all interacted? Is this someone who adds value to your life or someone who deducts time and energy from your life? Is this person a space filler who you KNOW is just there to casually occupy your time or is this someone with good, genuine intentions? After you've done ALL of that, exhale;  it's okay to block and delete. Their life will go on. So will yours. Delete that WHOLE text thread AND that WHOLE call log, give yourself a pat on the back, take a bubble bath and do something to celebrate you, this new you who values herself enough to not let anyone waste her time just because it's cuffing season and y'all both just happen to be available. You have the right to choose and be chosen by someone who sees you as an indispensable piece of his world, not a convenient option he can pick up and put down as he pleases.

Bonus-- Accountability partners: This one has saved me many times the last few weeks. Keep people around you that you can text/call and say, "I'm thinking about texting him," or "He just called and wants to see me." Special shout out to my best friends who will ALWAYS clap back day or night with a long list of why I should not respond or entertain him. They will rattle off details about him that I had somehow blocked out or forgotten. Or they will tell me why I'm awesome just the way God made me and have no business accepting advances from anyone who doesn't see me as an asset, not a liability. I've got friends that will text me and say, "Just checking on you. Have you heard from him, how are you holding up? Just remember if he calls, why you walked away. Don't give in to temptation just because you're lonely or of all the other fish in the sea, the only ones biting are not a good fit for your life right now." Keep people around you that will be accountable to you, will help you look before you leap and while they are at it, will remind you of the jewel that you are. YOU ARE ROYAL! Because guess what? You are! And your relationship status and a few days on the calendar can't change that!

Love you , Dear Readers! We got this!! Stay focused; the best is still yet to come!!


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