A Workaholic’s Guide to Not Hide and Have a Happy Holiday

The holidays can be triggering for many reasons. It’s tempting to fall back into work mode, and hide there. But don’t give up!

It’s hard for me to stop working.

I’m a passionate person, and highly driven. When things go well, I’m on top of the world. When projects go badly, I triple my efforts in trying to fix them. 2016 has been a garbage year, for a lot of people. I am no exception. There’s too much to do, too much to fix, and not enough time.

Now, the holidays are here. The candles are lit, Christmas cards are arriving, lights go up on surrounding houses, carols drift by with each passing car…and I’m working. I’m typing furiously, checking boxes off of my to-do list, and fighting a heavy cold. Now is not the time for rest. My hustle is unstoppable.

Everyone around me is hunkering down in cozy sweaters and sipping egg nog with loved ones. Why are all my friends so relaxed? It’s both mystifying and enviable. I’d love to lounge around and feel merry. But the very thought of doing nothing makes me feel anxious. Why?

I guess I’m just not ready for the year to end. With so many projects up in the air, and a mountain of unfinished messes on my desk, I simply can’t stop working. My goals are huge, and I’m never going to reach them if I stop working.

It’s been this way for nearly every holiday that I can remember.

I’m scared that if I stop working, success will pass me by. I’m worried that if I don’t have achievements to show my friends and family, then I won’t be making them proud. And if I’m not making my family proud, they aren’t going to love me.

In typing this, I realize just how f*cked up that sounds.

My name is Rachel, and I’m a workaholic.

…At least, that’s what my family, friends and therapist tell me.

But how reliable can their opinions be, really? For the sake of this article, I’ve decided to turn to the real expert in my life: Google.

Searching: “Signs You Might Be A Workaholic.”


  1. “You may be a workaholic if… you devalue self-care and personal priorities in favor of professional goals.”
  2. “The thought of not working is more stressful than actually working.”
  3. “You don’t take real vacations. You sneak in work wherever you can.”
  4. “You rarely tell your bosses ‘no,’ but your friends and family rarely hear ‘yes.’”

Uh….sure, I display all of these qualities, but I think there’s a difference between ‘workaholism’ and a successful mindset. I thought passion and persistence were good things. I work hard, so I can play hard…someday.

After all, this isn’t an addiction. It’s dedication and drive!

I want everyone to see me as ambitious, busy, and on the way to something great, because that’s who I want to be. I’m terrified of sitting still, because I’m not a lazy person. I’ve got important things to do.

…That said, I should be working on my dreams, not Googling made-up diseases.

So screw you, Google. I’m fine.

  1. “You never call yourself a workaholic.”


Mental illness is no stranger to me. I’m not exactly hiding that I’ve struggled with depression, OCD and CPTSD for most of my life. I don’t need – or want – to add one more label to my long list of problems.

That said, the problem is already there. Becoming aware of it and adding a handy label doesn’t add fuel to the fire. Noticing a rainstorm is the first step to finding an umbrella.

So, I’m coming up with a plan. Perhaps there’s a way to trick my workaholic brain into seeing the impending holiday as an opportunity, instead of a drag on my momentum. I’m making this list of tips for myself to follow as the holidays unfold. I invite you all to join me!

A Workaholic’s Guide to a Happy Holiday

Week 1. Pre-Game!

In the week leading up to your holiday plans, you can maximize your productivity in a final year-end push. Tying up loose ends in this way can help to diminish your guilt and stress while you’re away.

A: Schedule your final week of work with the most intense tasks, first.

Then in the last few days of this workweek, give yourself more time in the evenings to relax. This will help you practice ‘putting it down’ and focusing on what’s important.

B: Give yourself a year-end review.

Go over your calendars, notes and milestones from the year and make a list of your biggest accomplishments. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve done in the last 365 days.

C: Don’t plan what’s next.

Take your list of accomplishments with you for the holidays, and skim over it once a day if that makes you feel better. The holidays are a time to celebrate what’s important, and you are worth celebrating. You’ve worked hard to get here, so stop and appreciate it for a week or two. Every business needs to take a little time out for inventory, and you are no different. Celebrate what you’ve got!

Week 2. Merry Christmas!

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, this time of year is about family and friends. If you’ve cut them out of your life, now is the time to reconnect. If being around family overwhelms you, remember to squeeze in some ‘you’ time. The holidays can be triggering for many reasons. It’s tempting to fall back into work mode, and hide there. But don’t give up! The following steps will help you make the most of this time away from work.

A: Get lost in activities.

Play scrabble, go skiing, build a snowman. Engage in a long conversation with your grandma, and ask her what life was like for her at your age. Whatever your family and friends like to do for the holidays, jump in. Putting work down is surprisingly productive for your general sense of well-being, health, and clarity of mind. Life is happening in front of you. Don’t miss it.

B: Give yourself five minutes (every other day) to scan your emails.

Don’t analyze or reply to any of them, just skim through subject lines. It’ll give your peace of mind in knowing that nothing’s caught on fire while you’re away, and lower your anxiety. That said…make sure to set a timer, so you don’t get sucked in.

C: Put down your Smartphone.

Everyone around you is taking pictures, and they’ll be there when the holidays are over. Social media can be a one-way ticket to comparison, competition, emotional triggers and conflict. Do your professional spirit a favor and unplug for the holidays. You’ll come back to your work refreshed and ready to rock, without any extra baggage.

Week 3. Have a Happy New Year.

A: Remember that list of last year’s accomplishments?

Keep it. When you’re on the plane back from your holiday travels, pull out that list and think about how far you’ve come. Add “enjoyed the holidays” to the end of that list, and decide to do even better next year. Now that the holidays are over, you can jump into goal-setting and evaluating your priorities for the new year. Enjoy the brainstorm, but don’t burn out.

B: Set aside time to examine what you missed (and didn’t miss) over the holidays, organizing emails by priority and responding in little chunks.

Pace yourself and ease back into your routine. Don’t work late. Instead, use your evenings to relax (like you did before the holidays). Implementing a healthy balance will make you even more productive in the long run.

C: Take time to review what just happened.

We can only understand the object of our addiction once it is taken away. So how were the holidays for you, really? Do your shame-based feelings suggest that a deeper healing needs to take place? Call your friends and family to check in, now that the holidays are over. Ask them what they think. Remember where your support system is, and use it. There are many ways to achieve a healthy balance in life, so figure out what’s best for you. Perhaps you can commit to reading relevant books (like Daring Greatly) and implement their teachings. Maybe therapy is a good option.

The new year is a great time to commit to your success – and a healthy mindset is key to success in all areas.

I’ll be working to follow my own advice this holiday season, and I hope you’ll join me in the journey. Are there any tips that work (or don’t) for you? Share with us in the comments below!

What 2016 Taught Me About Love: A Widow’s Perspective

If there is one thing I have learned and continue to learn from my husband’s sudden death, it is that Love Heals. It’s true.

In the summer of 2011, I thought I already knew everything about love. After all, I was 35 years old, and very happily married for 4 years, 9 months, and counting. It had taken me such a long time to find my soul-mate, my best friend, my everything – and I had already been through traumas and past relationships an boyfriends that were absolutely awful and that weighed heavily on my heart.Most of the men previous to my husband that I had been with, did not treat me too well. And then there were the ones I wasn’t with. None of the good guys were ever interested in me. They always wanted my skinnier, blonder, smaller friends. I had been through rejection so many times – un-returned love – that phrase: I love you as a friend – it could have been my bumper sticker. So after all that, I was finally gifted with this beautiful and loving and decent and kind and inspiring man, who wanted nothing more in life than to spend every day finding more ways to make me safe and happy. And we would love each other and laugh together and grow old together and live in NYC and then retire in Florida, and live happily ever after. Well, that was the plan.

Yeah. I knew everything I needed to know about love.

Until I didn’t.

On July 13th, 2011, everything that I thought I knew about life and about love, got tossed into a blender on high-speed, and hasn’t stopped spinning since. For that was the day that life, as I knew it, stopped. My beautiful husband of 4 years and 9 months, who was just 46 years old and had zero symptoms or warnings, left for work and never came home. He went into cardiac arrest, and they found him collapsed on the floor. Massive heart-attack. His life gone, and mine forever changed. I was about to learn so many new things about love, whether I wanted to or not.

2016 was my fifth year without him. It was, by far, the year that was filled with the most amount of changes, transitions, emotions, and questions. I had a lot of “firsts” in my 5th year of life without my husband. For the first time since his death, I could actually begin to see and feel what it might be like to consider the possibility of someone else. I met someone in a completely unexpected way, where neither one of us was pursuing the other, but there was a very natural connection between us as we continued to talk and get to know one another. We met in person this past spring, and face to face, that connection was undeniable. Because he is also widowed, we shared special moments together such as going to visit his wife at the cemetery, and going to my husband’s favorite beach in Florida, where I had scattered his ashes. I had my first kiss since my husband’s death, with this person, and it was really quite lovely. I was so afraid that kissing someone else would feel weird, wrong, or incredibly sad. But it was none of those things. It was special and in the moment and somehow in slow-motion, and I could feel my husband’s presence there, and he was insanely happy for me. I think I heard him breathing a sigh of relief for me. All the things that I had feared, about having feelings for someone else, turned to dust. Like I said, I thought I knew all there was to know about love. But before my husband’s shocking death, I actually knew very little. Here are just a few of the bigger lessons I learned about love, in the year 2016:

It’s Possible to Get Butterflies Again 

Remember that feeling of being 16 or 17, and going out with a boy that you really liked a lot, and your stomach did these sort of flips and went upside down and back around again, and you felt like you were floating on a cloud? Yeah. I had no idea that it was possible to feel that again at age 44, and as a widow, to boot! When I met my widower friend in Florida this past spring, I felt exactly that, and it was magical. It was also kind of hilarious. After spending almost an entire day together driving around to different places in his truck, and being treated like a lady by the most genuine gentleman I had ever witnessed, he drove me back to my parent’s friend’s house where I was staying, and we stood next to his truck and said goodnight. The front light went on as we were out there, which I found hysterically funny. Even funnier was walking into the house, where my mom’s friend anxiously awaited my news. “So … how was it? Was there that same connection in person? Did he kiss you?” – “I think I kissed him!”, I responded, giggling like a teenager. I can’t explain it, but something took over that night, and that week, inside me. It was like I had this courage in saying and acting upon how I was feeling. I had no problem at all telling this person that I wanted him to kiss me, and I had no problem being flirtatious and slightly forward, in the hopes of that happening. The “other” me would have never done something like that. I would have been way too afraid, too shy, and too concerned with what he would think about me. But let me tell you something – nothing is as terrifying as losing your love and the life you knew, and having to start over again, when you don’t even want to. Having to live life again, when everything inside you just wants to lay down and stop the pain. Everything else pales in comparison. So taking a chance and going in to kiss someone, because I really like them, and it feels nice? Sure. Why the hell not?

Modern Day Dating is a Shit-Show 

So, as it turns out, this wonderful man who I still have this beautiful connection and growing friendship with, is not yet in a place to label us as something, or to take that risk on love or a relationship. So, we continue to build and marinate in what we now have, and we see what happens. In the meantime, spending time with him in person opened me up to the realization that I no longer wish to be alone in this life. I will love my husband forever and he will always be my soul-mate, but the heart expands for more love, and humans were not meant to be alone. The thought of not having someone to share life with, ever again, just makes me feel awful inside. So, on the suggestion of my grief-counselor back in April, I joined a couple of dating sites, in the hopes of having some light-hearted and casual fun again, and maybe going on some nice dates again, and feeling attractive and wanted again, because those were things that were now awakened inside me. I wanted more.

Dating sites are not for the faint of heart. I learned this pretty quickly after joining them. People communicate differently today. To me, it’s barely communicating at all. Most of the men don’t want to actually TALK – they just want to get your phone number IMMEDIATELY, and then text endlessly until one of us dies. Whenever I would mention meeting up in person, they would run away like little boys and disappear forever. (I’m guessing most of them were probably married and looking for a discreet side-piece. Yuck.) You run into all types on there. Lots of liars. Lots of guys who don’t know what the hell they want at all. Guys who will talk up 4 or 5 women at the same time, then just stop contact with the ones who probably won’t sleep with him immediately. There are mean people, nice people, weird as hell people, people with unbelievably strange sexual fetishes that they feel comfortable telling you about after a 5 minute chat on the site. (I could have done without knowing that Jerry from Long Island wants to sniff my dirty feet and panties, for example. Eewwwww.) There are people who will hurt you and say mean things, just because they can. My very first date from the dating sites, sent me a text the day after our date, to inform me that we will not be going out again, because “I don’t date fat girls, and you’re fat. You don’t look fat in your profile pic, but you are.” I told him that he didn’t look like an asshole in his profile picture, but he is. It wasn’t all bad though. Really. I grew a thicker skin being on those sites, and I realized pretty quickly that none of it was about me. The way people act, the way they treat women, how they behave – all of that is a reflection on them, not me. And for all the jerks and the guys who were mean or just disappeared entirely, I met many more both in person and in chatting, that were simply just nice and down to earth people. I had a couple of really nice dates, and one that blossomed into a great friendship that I think will be a life-long one. There were quite a few guys on the sites who genuinely thought I was beautiful, and who found me attractive. This did wonders for my ego, which was so wounded by my husband’s death, and by going 5 years without anyone wanting me or saying I look pretty or that they miss me or love hearing my voice or seeing my face. In the end, going on the dating sites gave me evidence that other men in the world, besides my dear husband, would find me desirable again. It gave me some of my confidence back, and that is a beautiful thing.

Having Your Heart Broken Really Sucks 

So after a couple of months on the dating sites, I met someone. Another widower (I’m sensing a pattern here) here in NY. We began talking, and then met in person a few weeks later. Things went well. I knew early on that this was not a person I would end up with long-term, for several reasons, but he made me feel good about myself. He couldn’t keep his hands off me, and for a girl who was told her whole life I love you as a friend, it felt kind of amazing. I got lost in it. I let the tiny little red-flags that I felt pinging in my heart about him slide, because it felt so damn good to feel wanted and sexy again. My heart cried out for him and felt for him, because he is a widower, and his loss was so sudden and tragic, and his story tugged at my heart. I treated his heart with extra gentle care, always being 100% honest with him about my intentions and where we were headed, because I never wanted to be the person that caused him additional pain. We drifted into a relationship with each other, and for the first time since my husband’s death, I was intimate again. The sex was new and exciting and often, and I brought him into parts of my life that are special to me. He met my friends. He met my widowed community, and I took him with me to the support/social group I run for widowed people through Soaring Spirits International. We continued our relationship for about 5 months, and then things ended rather abruptly and badly. He lied about a lot of things. He tried to make a fool of me. He replaced me in a hot second, with another widow even, and in the cruelest of ways. I’m pretty sure he was seeing her while he was also with me, which means he was cheating and not being honest with me for months. The worst part of all this, is that he refused to acknowledge ANY of it, and didn’t respond to my attempts to get some clarity on why he would do this to me. I was not in love with him, but I did love him. As a human being. As a friend. As my first relationship and intimacy after my husband’s death. All of those things were special to me. Thinking they were special to him too, and that I was special – and then finding out otherwise, really hurt. And whenever things really hurt for a widowed person, it just makes us long to have everything we lost, back again.

Good Things Take Time 

So as 2016 comes to a close, I have learned so many things about myself, about others, and about love and dating after loss. One big thing I learned is that you can’t force someone to see something or feel something, when they just aren’t there yet. Sometimes its simply not possible to see something that’s right in front of you, until you are truly ready to see it. Just 2 years ago, if you had told me that someone would have given me butterflies in my stomach or that I would be having my first kiss soon, or that I would be in my first relationship, and suffer an awful heartbreak – I would have laughed in your face. I couldn’t even picture myself in any of those positions at that time. I have come to know and believe that good things take time, and you can’t live someone else’s grief or pain or process for them. They have to do it themselves. But you CAN offer support and friendship, let them know that you truly care and that you aren’t going anywhere. And then you just say that over and over, and find ways to show them, and then you sit back and hope that they can hear you.

If there is one thing I have learned and continue to learn from my husband’s sudden death, it is that Love Heals.It’s true. Love is the great healer of all things, and all good things are born out of love. If there is someone out in the world that feels like there is no point, or feels like they are not worthy or capable of a joyous life, the love of another person, when accepted, can heal those wounds. Simply loving another person for everything they are, right this minute, today, without expecting them to be anything additional or anything different – can heal even the most damaged of hearts.

I heard something soon after my husband’s death, in the days where I felt darkest and most hopeless, that resonated with me deeply. A married couple who had been been together for decades, were dealing with the husband’s illness. As he lay there dying, in his last days, his wife cried to him and she asked: How am I supposed to live without you? 

He replied: Take the love you have for me, and spread it around. 

That’s it right there. Grief is just love, with no outlet. It is love, with nowhere to go. When you open your heart and continue to let love in, that is what brings the person you lost feel closer than ever, and that is how you can live again.

Happy New Year, and Happy Loving!

The 9 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Your Relationship

Don’t worry–I would never tell you to eat less sugar or start doing pilates for your New Year’s resolution (those sound hard), but if you set the right goals, the new year can bring amazing changes to your relationship.

1. Work on showing gratitude

Gratitude is incredibly important in any relationship. Just hearing a simple “thank you” from a friend or co-worker can brighten anyone’s day, but it’s especially great when your SO tells you how much they appreciate you.

I could be having the worst day ever, but when my fiancé tells me how grateful he is that I made dinner or that I took out the trash, it always brightens up my mood. Just knowing that someone notices my effort makes me feel appreciated and even rejuvenated, and I know that taking the time to notice my fiancé’s efforts goes a long way too.

This year, resolve to show gratitude to your partner more often. Whether you want to take time in the evenings to thank each other for something you did that day, or if you prefer to practice voicing your appreciation whenever you can, showing gratitude can strengthen your bond and make you both happier.

So go ahead, tell your honey how grateful you are that she emptied the dishwasher, tell your boyfriend how much you appreciate it when he makes you lunch. Give her a hug when he surprises you with a gift or give him a smooch when she picks up dinner.

It’s nice to appreciate your partner, and great to be appreciated.

2. Find hobbies that are all your own.

Sure, in an perfect world I’d do everything with my fiancé, we’d have all the same interests and spend all our time together. We’d be unbeatable tennis partners, perform in a two-person band (I’d play ukulele, he’d be on keyboard), and we’d have a TV show as a couple who remodel houses.

But in reality, no two people have all the same interests and, truth be told, there might be times when you don’t really want to spend time with your partner. I love my fiancé more than pizza, but sometimes I really want to do something by myself.

And that’s okay! Actually, it’s prefered. It’s healthy to spend some time without your beau and pursue your own interests or hobbies.

Maybe you want to take a woodshop class and perhaps your significant other wants to join a soccer league — perfect! Following your dreams will make you a happier person (and a better partner) and getting to do something all your own will allow you to bring something special to the relationship.

I like painting, and I love coming home from art class and showing my fiancé what I created. He’s really good with computers, and it always rocks my world when he fixes that darn internet.

So, this year, sit down with your partner and find different things you each want to do. Try to find activities that take place on the same night (so you aren’t missing two evenings of Netflix and chill together) and sign up for them. Are those book club meetings and monster truck fan club meet-ups on the same night? Excellent.

You’ll both learn something new, have fun, make friends, and at the end of the day, you’ll love telling each other all about your adventures.

Young romantic couple is having fun outdoors in winter

3. Show an interest in your partner’s work and hobbies.

I know, I know, I just finished telling you about how awesome it is to have separate hobbies…but that doesn’t mean you can’t be interested in what your honey does with his or her time.

I love telling my fiancé about my day and about the people I talked to, and I know it means a lot to him when I show an interest in his work.

Sometimes I may feel my eyes glazing over (a little) when he talks about his very complicated job with all the marketing terms and fancy reports, but I try to get to know more about his work so I can learn more about what he goes through during the day.

4. Try to be a better listener.

This might seem obvious, but being a better listener can make your relationship so much smoother.

You’ve probably been there before: you start telling a story about what your Aunt Mabel did at lunch yesterday, and halfway through the part where she threw the salad at the waiter, your significant other looks up from a magazine and says “were you talking to me?”

Or maybe your significant other was talking about how his friend Joe was on Cake Boss. The story reminds you that you need to pick up flour from the store so you start to think about the grocery list, and before you know it, you missed the whole story.

It’s the worst.

This year, resolve to work on your listening skills together. It’s something that requires practice, so remind yourself to stay engaged in conversation and understand, not just hear, what your partner says.

In the meantime, it’s also a good idea to let your partner know when something you’re going to say is very important. I know it can be hard to focus on each other when there’s a lot going on, but sometimes you need to set aside time for talking (and listening).

When I have a problem and need advice (or just want to vent), I’ll ask my fiance for five minutes to listen to me talk. He’ll take a minute to finish that chapter in a book (or save his video game) and then focus on what I have to say.

I love this tactic because it allows your beau a chance to wrap up what they need to do and give you the attention they need, and it also sends a message to your SO that what you’re going to say is important.

It’s a good way to set up for communication success.

5. Make sure you are happy and healthy.

I have a lot of stress in my life right now: I work all day and go to grad school at night (just thinking about my schedule makes me tired). But in this day and age, a lot of people find themselves overworked or overstressed. Maybe you struggle with anxiety, haven’t been getting enough sleep, or maybe you’re mourning a death in the family.

A relationship isn’t strong without both parties feeling good, so this year, resolve to take care of yourself with some kick-ass self love.

Therapy is a great tool for a lot of people, sometimes you just need a stranger to talk to. Going to the gym is great for stress relief, and if all else fails, scheduling a massage can do wonders.

Taking the time to take care of yourself will make you a happier person, and a better partner.

6. Let the small stuff go.

Just like Elsa, sometimes you need to let things go. If your boyfriend didn’t change the toilet paper roll the 367th time you asked him to do it, he probably won’t change it on the 368th time.

My fiancé never throws things away. He’ll bring a candy bar wrapper within two feet of the trash can, but it won’t actually make it into the bin. Meanwhile, I leave water cups everywhere. At any point in the week you can find at least one cup in the living room, one on the patio, three on the nightstand, and zero in the kitchen cabinet. In the beginning, little things like that drove my fiancé and I bonkers, but eventually, we learned to live with each other’s habits.

The truth is, no couple is perfect. Nobody is truly made for each other or completely compatible. Sometimes the happiest couples are just the ones that let the small issues go so they can appreciate the big things that make them such a great pair.

Maybe your husband is the worst  at sweeping the floor, but he’s also a great dad. You didn’t marry him for the clean floors. Let it go, and invest in a cleaning service.

fireworks In New Year's Mountain

7. Put your phone down.

I don’t mean to sound like a grandma right now, but it’s important to put your phone away… sometimes.

Imagine you’re at a restaurant with your love. You realize that you need to check your email, so you glance at your inbox and see an invitation to your cousin’s birthday party. You realize that, while you’re thinking about it, you should text him to see what he wants for a present. When you’re done texting him you see a message from your mom asking if you can pick up that box of old high school yearbooks.

By the time you put your phone down, all your food came, you had six diet cokes, the server dropped off the bill, and you’ve barely said two words to your partner.

Sometimes, you just need to put your phones away, and enjoy your time together. With such busy schedules and so many things to think about, it’s nice to have a meal where you and your beau can focus on each other.

Plan to have a phone-free meal once and awhile. If you only have time to go out to dinner once a week, make that the date where you put away your devices. You’ll be glad you spent that quality time together.

8. Try and find opportunities to volunteer together.

Lots of people make a New Year’s resolution to put in a couple hours at the soup kitchen or help plant some trees. But volunteering together doesn’t just help your community, it can help your relationship, too.

Every so often my fiancé and I will head over to our local food bank and help organize the donated food. It might not sound very romantic to spend a Saturday afternoon sorting through canned peas and boxes of macaroni and cheese, but we always have fun. We like spending the time together, and volunteering makes us feel good. It’s a far cry from the traditional dinner and a movie date night, and maybe that’s a good thing.

9. Spend time together in the kitchen.

Another popular New Year’s resolution is eating healthier. I make this resolution every year and it lasts about as long as it takes me to find a Taco Bell.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a food-based New Year’s resolution. One great idea is to resolve to make dinners together.

Making a meal together requires teamwork, communication, and coordination. Practicing skills like these can help you grow closer in your relationship. Making dinner at home can also save you money, and it could (brace yourselves) be a roundabout way of eating healthier too.

If you do this right, you’ll spend time together, save some cash, and maybe even cut down on calories all in one resolution. Win-win-win!

The new year is a great time to set goals and work on improving yourself, but with these resolutions, you can improve your relationship too. From learning to listen more closely to volunteering together, these resolutions will surely make your relationship even stronger. What a way to ring in the new year!

For more on setting good New Year’s resolutions for your relationship, check out Passionate Sex Every Day for The New Year—Here is How, Healthy Relationship, Healthy New Year… Here is How and 6 SEX New Year’s Resolutions for Couples.

The History of the New Year’s Kiss

Why do we feel the need to smooch someone on the last night of the year?

When I began to think about New Year’s Eve, I wondered about why it’s customary to kiss a special someone while Auld Lang Syne plays in the background.

Here is a brief history of the New Year’s Kiss, with some personal anecdotes thrown in.

The Beginning of the New Year’s Kiss

New Year’s kiss traditions began in ancient Rome. They would throw a party on New Year’s Eve for the Festival of Saturnalia. Kissing and lots of reckless behavior would ensue. Sound familiar to New Years past?

Speaking of Saturnalia, the festival is partly to blame for the kissing under the mistletoe tradition. People would kiss under the plant in ancient Greece as it was associated with fertility and in Rome, it represented peace.

Later, English and Germans would kiss the first person they met at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The story behind this is that the first person you came across in the new year sets the tone for that year. This thought scares my anxious mind! If you knew your New Year’s kiss back then, superstition was that your smooch would sustain your new romance and made you closer to your loved one.

Europeans have also held masquerade balls on New Year’s Eve. Back then, masks were symbols of evil spirits from the previous year and when they were removed and the person was kissed, it was a cleansing act.

If you’re single and often feel left out on December 31st, you could always head to Scotland. Their celebration, called Hogmanay, involves kissing everyone in the room. The effort is to have people meet each other and perhaps might make single people feel more involved.

My Thoughts on the Tradition

I must confess, I’ve never been that big of a fan of New Year’s Eve. I think there’s always such anticipation for something huge and it almost always ends in disappointment. I’ve found so much more love and coziness at home. In fact, I’ve spent every New Year’s Eve at home with my family.

The last few years, my boyfriend has joined us and there’s nothing more romantic to me than curling up by the fire with him and our bulldog Moe as we watch the ball drop in Times Square. We do have a quick New Year’s Eve peck (hey my parents are usually there too!). That laid-back type of New Year’s has become my favorite way to spend the evening. I feel very loved on those New Year’s Eves surrounded by family.

However, that being said, my dream is for one year (just one!) to attend a New Year’s party much like the two Harry and Sally attended in my favorite movie When Harry Met Sally.

Movies and New Year’s Eve Kisses

Speaking of When Harry Met Sally, the New Year’s Eve scene will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the scene an ex-boyfriend used back in college to tell me how he felt about me. It always made me keep some magic alive about New Year’s Eve—and to understand the romance of it all.

Then there’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. I have always had a soft spot for the big end scene with one of the most romantic New Year’s Eve kisses ever. When Bridget Jones runs out half naked to Mark Darcy to finally share a passionate kiss, it’s everything. I’d like to think any New Year’s cynics are changed when they watch this scene.

Movies and New Year’s Eve Kisses

Speaking of When Harry Met Sally, the New Year’s Eve scene will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the scene an ex-boyfriend used back in college to tell me how he felt about me. It always made me keep some magic alive about New Year’s Eve—and to understand the romance of it all.

Then there’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. I have always had a soft spot for the big end scene with one of the most romantic New Year’s Eve kisses ever. When Bridget Jones runs out half naked to Mark Darcy to finally share a passionate kiss, it’s everything. I’d like to think any New Year’s cynics are changed when they watch this scene.

New Year’s Eve 2018

If there’s one thing I learned about New Year’s Eve is that you don’t have to be with someone to feel love. I have spent approximately six December 31sts in a relationship and the other 27 single. When I was old enough to date and single, I loved spending the last night of each year with people I love. Kissing someone like your parent on the cheek can be just as meaningful as kissing a significant other. Sometimes a little reminder about how much you are loved, no matter who the person is all you need. Happy New Year, LoveTV!

Want to read more on relationships? Check out this piece about not letting your insecurities get the best of you.

2019: The Year You Manifest Your Love Life Into Existence

Don’t leave everything up to fate.

How was your love life in 2018? Mine was, for the most part, quiet. Really quiet. Save for an unexpected vacation fling, I had a lot of solo time. I don’t lament over this – there were a lot of moving parts in my life: management changes at my day job, living alone for the first time, navigating mental health challenges….much of it felt like work I needed to do on my own. With the new year here, I think about the one thing I never plan for – my love life.

The start of the year is a natural time to consider wins and losses from the previous year. So I think about the things that went well for me in 2018:

I got out of my comfort zone. Casual sex interests me a lot less than it used to, so I don’t seek out hookups anymore. When I went to visit an east coast friend over the summer, I met someone. We hit it off really well, exchanged numbers, and saw each other one last time before I went home. I had a spectacular night and morning.. I causally follow my fling on Instagram, but it’s not that serious. And that’s okay. Because now, I’m thinking about all the things that would happen if I made more of an effort to do stuff I typically wouldn’t. I would certainly meet more people, or at least have some good stories.

I’ve been on a self-imposed app hiatus. I still prefer to encounter people IRL, but that doesn’t happen too often. So what’s the harm in getting back on Tinder (gulp) and scheduling a date? I’m not going on there to hook up, which may present some added challenges, but better than my go-to Friday night standard (i.e., wine and celebrity gossip channels. Yes, I’m that boring).

I wouldn’t say that my romantic life was a failure in 2018, simply because I didn’t set any goals.

Life overwhelmed me. If not for my summer fling, 2018 would have been a totally dateless and celibate year – not always a bad thing, mind you. But I know that’s not what I want for 2019. I know I want meet new guys – on dinner dates, dive bar hangouts, movie outings, and other low-key commitments. I don’t believe in setting deadlines on when to find the love of my life. But I do believe in timing. I do believe that things happen when they are meant to happen. I also believe that life only gives you as much as you put in, and I put very little towards my love life in 2018.

So, if you’re like me, thinking about ways to shake up your love life in 2019, I have some ideas:

new year

Figure out your long-term dating goals.

Just because you’ve been single for a while doesn’t mean you don’t want to get married someday. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to build a family with someone. As a woman who’s used to being single, I get stuck in the mindset of “I may be single forever. And that is ok.”

Is it really okay for me? Living alone is great right now, but I don’t want to live alone forever. Buried in layers of practicality lies a soft romantic inside of me. Get real with your inner romantic and get real with your hopes and dreams. Sometimes just writing out the love you want for yourself will make it feel more real.

After that, you can set clear goals for yourself next. They don’t have to be time-sensitive, like “find a boyfriend by June.” Good luck with that. But they can be smaller, more attainable things. Like go on a date a month. Or sign up for a foreign language class. Or fit more sessions at the yoga studio into your calendar. These are all measurable things, and things that will get you to meet more people.

All goals don’t have to involve meeting people. Look inwards too. If you have some personal baggage that’s been holding you back, work on that. Find a therapist online or in-person. Reflect on past relationships and the mistakes you won’t make again. Therapy has forced me to be honest about the love that I want for myself, but don’t feel like I deserve (ouch). Working on personal hang ups will only make you a better person – and romantic partner — in the long run.

The universe listens to us when we’re proactive about what we want. Love is all around us. We just have to prioritize it. One of my favorite self-love affirmations is “I Choose Love.” Remember that in 2019. Choose love more often.

Start the Year Off Adventurous: 15 Dates Out of Your Comfort Zone

If your significant other and you are tired of the same old dates, the new year is a great time to give new things a try.

Does the thought of date night bore you lately?

Here are 15 dates to start the new year off on a bold note.

1. Skydiving

George H.W. Bush went skydiving well into his 80s, even doing a run for his 90th birthday. Going skydiving with your significant other is a great way to have a big adrenaline rush in your relationship. If you’re wondering where to take a dive, here are some options.

2. Taking a road trip with someone you just started dating

If you’re a This is Us fan, chances are you’ve seen this season’s episode where Jack and Rebecca drive across the country to Los Angeles. Rebecca even mentions to Jack how her mother disapproved of her taking a road trip with someone she just started seeing. It turns out, the trip ends up bringing the two closer together. Don’t be afraid to take that chance this new year.

3. Have sex somewhere daring

After a movie, have a quickie in your car. If you’re hiking, find a secluded corner in the woods and get down and dirty. The important thing is, be spontaneous with things and you’ll soon see a new year spark.

4. Get a tattoo

This one’s only if you’re really serious about it. Head to your nearest tattoo parlor and get his and hers tattoos (or if you’re feeling more individual, your own personal design).

getting a tattoo

5. Go to a Drive In

Yes, they do exist. Find a small town near you that still has a drive in and make it an adventure just getting there. Channel your inner high schooler and steam up the windows. That little bit of rebellion will bring some adventure to your new year.

6. Stay up until the sun rises

I know this isn’t too adventurous but there’s something magical about staying up all night and talking. To me, watching the sun rise with your significant other is one of the most adventurous things you can do.

7. Visit a city you always wanted to go to

Figure out a city you’ve always wanted to visit and plan a vacation there. Make a pact to go before the summer. Ideas for cities to visit include Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, San Antonio, New York, Philadelphia and more.

8. Plan your dream trip abroad—then do it

Sure, everyone dreams about traveling abroad. This year, plan your dream trip (I did it on a budget when I was 25). Vow to do it by New Year’s 2020. Don’t forget to document every step of the way.

9. Go on a ghost tour

If you scare easily, step out of your comfort zone and book a creepy ghost tour in your city. Chances are, you may live in a place with plenty of haunted history.

10. Try out trapeze lessons

Make like Carrie in Sex and the CIty and learn how to fly through the air gracefully (or in my case, not so gracefully!).

11. Take a hot air balloon ride

If you’re not a fan of heights, snuggle up to your significant other and bring a bottle of wine for a romantic afternoon. There’s nothing more romantic than seeing your hometown from the basket of a hot air balloon.

12. Go ziplining

This one could be a great way to take in spectacular views while having a unique date.

couple zip lining

13. Go rock climbing

Many cities have opened indoor rock climbing businesses. Check some out in your area for some physical fun. Challenge each other to see who can get to the top first.

14. Stay out all night

If you’ve been feeling too “adult” lately, channel your inner 20-something and go clubbing all night. Finish off your time out with breakfast at your local diner. Don’t forget to Instagram the photos!

15. Try a new cuisine

Pick a type of food your significant other and you haven’t tried before. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a real eye-opener—not to mention, the type of food you try could become your new favorite!

Want to read more about getting out of your comfort zone? Check out this piece about creating holiday traditions.

Great Ways to Celebrate New Years Eve (For Just the Two of You)

New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays. There’s no presents to shop for, no big family commitments, just silly fun and a celebration of good times past and present. It’s perfect!

But New Year’s is especially fun if you have someone special to spend it with. Not only do you have someone to kiss at midnight (which can be an awkward moment otherwise) but you also have the opportunity to celebrate the new year in a different way.

While going out to a New Year’s party can be loads of fun, there’s a different kind of joy in ringing in the new year in a smaller way: just you and your sweetie.

Here are some fun New Year’s Eve date ideas that you and your partner will love.

1. Become your own bartender

One thing I love about New Year’s parties is that there are always fun and festive drinks. There are so many creative cocktails around this time of year, from egg nog to “peppermintinis,” to my favorite: “jingle juice.” And that doesn’t stop on new years. You can always find colorful cocktails and a fun new take on the classic glass of champagne.

But my favorite part isn’t necessarily drinking these fun cocktails—I also love mixing them too!

Back when my husband and I were dating, we started making a tradition of spending New Year’s Eve at home and mixing cocktails. I’d find a few fun recipes online and we’d spend the evening mixing drinks and making boozy cupcakes as we watched movies.

It was a great way for two early twenty-somethings to expand our taste buds with exotic drinks and save some money on bar tabs.

new year's eve

2. Make a romantic dinner for two

Lots of people go out to dinner for New Year’s because it’s a fun, mature alternative to going to a house party. But one of my favorite ways to celebrate with my husband is actually making dinner at home.

To be honest, I’ve always worried about going out on New Year’s. On New Year’s, there are so many people out on the road at all hours, possibly drinking and driving, so while I always love going out to dinner, a few years ago my husband and I started a tradition of making a romantic dinner at home on New Year’s Eve.

While we’d been mixing cocktails at home in the years prior, we realized that New Year’s was the perfect night to go all out with a fancy dinner. We switched out our cocktail recipe tradition for cook books, and started making December 31st about an amazing date night in.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for big meals with family, but this can be a special time for just you. I love making lasagna, but you two could make whatever your favorite dinner is, or use this as an excuse to try something brand new.

It’s fun to cook together and even more fun to eat dinner by candlelight, just the two of you.

You can even watch the ball drop as you eat some late night dessert!

3. See a movie

Just because you and your honey want to celebrate New Year’s alone, doesn’t mean you have to stay home.

I know a couple who love going out on New Year’s Eve—but they don’t go to parties, they go out to the movies. They got the idea from another family who went to the movies every year on Christmas Eve, and they wanted to do the same for New Year’s.

They pick a movie and see a late showing, and by the time they get out, it’s just about time to countdown to the new year. They have so much fun having a night out, and while everyone else is out at parties, they love having the theater nearly to themselves.

new year's eve couple

4. Make a time capsule

One thing I love about New Year’s is that it’s a great opportunity to look back on everything my husband and I have done over the last year.

To celebrate the year, we like to make a time capsule on New Years Eve. We collect photos, ticket stubs, notes (and more) and put them in a shoebox to look at next year. Then we look at the box we created the year before.

Time capsules don’t have to be big or fancy, they could just be a collection of a couple momentos and maybe a list of your favorite memories together from the year. But whether you go minimal or all out, it’s a great opportunity to spend time with your sweetie and talk about all the great memories you’ve made together..

New Years is a great time to celebrate the past, future, and time with your honey. This year, try one of these fun ideas, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up making a new tradition for years to come!