Welcome to Seattle Dating Scene, featuring readers’ thoughts and stories about what it’s like to date in Seattle.

For our next feature, follow this promptHave an anniversary coming up this month? In under 500 words, tell us how you met your significant other, and send in your story and a photo.

By Thursday, Dec. 31, please email your submissions to: dating@seattletimes.com, or submit them via Instagram direct message to @dating_in_seattle, and they may be printed in a future edition of The Mix.

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Ask Marina

Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account, answers reader questions about dating — or finds a special guest to answer the ones she can’t! In this special edition, she tackles our very strange 2020 holiday season.

The holidays are upon us and nearly half of Seattleites are depressed according to this household pulse survey. If you’re spending the holidays alone this year, you are not alone. Many people will be spending this time apart from family and friends, and I’ll be so bold to say that the coronavirus pandemic might be close to the top of the list of reasons why.

Getting ready to be alone for the holidays is no small feat. Humans are social creatures, and unfortunately, this year we can’t celebrate with a raging, banger party with all our friends. If you don’t have someone to kiss under the mistletoe, or a friend or family to share the holidays with, have no fear — being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Here are some tips to overcome a holiday pity party.

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Can vs. Can’t

Holiday hype is everywhere: social media, television, billboards, lawn decorations, etc. Can you shove more jingle down our throats?? It’s easy to take the apathetic route, and once you head down that path, the spiral becomes effortless. One helpful tip to get ahead of that line of thinking is to focus on what you can embrace. Even in this unusual year, there are lots of things and ways you can still celebrate. (Here’s a list, if you’d like some suggestions!) Approach the season’s festivities in ways that work for you!

Create a mindset

If you don’t want a groundhog’s holiday, you’ll need to build significance into the week. The holiday season is in slow motion, so embrace the pause — this year has created experiences you may never have again (it’s also a one-year reprieve from listening to Aunt Kathy’s humblebragging). Begin each day on a positive note by scheduling calls with friends or family members, planning breakfasts that make you excited to wake up, or taking a walk around a new part of town. Signify that the week is special by bringing out your fancy pants (jeans), top hat, tuxedo or bra. Wear whatever makes you wink at yourself in the mirror.

Grateful journaling

Want to know what has had an exceedingly positive impact on me? Everyone within earshot of me knows I will not shut up about my grateful journal. Here’s the breakdown: Write three things you are grateful for each morning, two things you can do to make today great and two positive affirmations about yourself. At night, write down three things that made today amazing, and two things that could have improved the day. If this is too much, start with one grateful sentence every morning, because every positive thought makes a difference. Having a physical space to express your gratitude can make all the difference.

The gift of giving

Reach out! Volunteering your time or resources to a local food bank or shelter not only benefits others, but it’s also a great way to give back to your community and get to know your neighbors.

Pay it forward with another random act of kindness: Write a handwritten note to a friend, drop off a small, thoughtful gift, or find another way to show those around you that you care. Giving truly makes you feel better than receiving.

Treat yourself

‘Tis the season to be giving! Make your favorite meal or order from your favorite restaurant, rock out to the Spotify playlist that makes you smile, watch your favorite movie or have an at-home spa day. Find the silver (bells) lining in this year … or don’t. But don’t be afraid to indulge yourself a bit as the year comes to a close. (Tip: If you order yourself a present, choose the gift wrap option!)

Swipe left on 2020, because being alone is better than being in bad company. Do something nice for yourself, whether that means turning to crystals, doing puzzles or subbing heavy whipping cream for skim milk in your morning coffee. We have minimal control over the remainder of the year — let’s spend it watching the best of Netflix, taking online yoga classes and congratulating ourselves for a world-class balancing act.

Here’s the monthly “Seattle Dating Scene” lineup:

  • First week: “Dating Question of the Month” — Readers respond to a dating-related question we’ve posed.
  • Second week: “Happy Anniversary, Tell Us Your Story” — Have an anniversary coming up this month? In under 500 words, tell us how you met your significant other, and send in your story and a photo.
  • Third week: “Best Date/Worst Date” — In under 250 words, tell us an anecdote from the best or worst date you’ve been on.
  • Fourth week: “Ask Marina” — Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account, answers reader questions about dating — or finds a special guest to answer the ones she can’t!
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