For the majority of the year, being single is great. You can do whatever you want and not have to worry about another person or the stress that a relationship can bring to the table. However, as soon as the temperature starts decreasing, the desire for a relationship tends to increase. As someone who is a champion of enduring the single life, I am here to share some wisdom on the art of surviving the single life during the most relationship-focused time of the year, also known as engagement season or “cuffing season.”

While it may not always seem so, there are many benefits to being single during cuffing season. Besides the obvious lesser amount of gifts that need to be purchased around the holidays, the obligation to split holiday time between families disappears when you are single. For some financially lucky enough to travel, being single allows you to travel to somewhere you always wanted to, instead of being tied down to take into account your significant other.

Not having to split your time also means you have more time to spend with your friends and family. While to some more family time can be a curse, this is a time to strike up a conversation with your distant relatives, forming new bonds with family members. This can cause that curse to turn into a blessing.

Sometimes those family members, particularly the older ones, love to ask why you do not have a significant other, and those are not always fun questions to dodge. You can, however, spin those questions into talking about your great accomplishments. For example, “No, I don’t have a boyfriend right now, but here’s what I do have going on in my life.” Telling your family about your accomplishments, as well as hearing yourself talk about them, is a wonderful way to build your self-confidence. It also reminds yourself of all the wonderful things you are doing on your own.

The best way to not let the overwhelming aura of relationships and dating get you down is to take some of this extra time to focus on yourself. You have been blessed with the gift of spending the holidays being single. Take this time off of classes to reflect on the past year and set goals for the next year. Take this opportunity to grow and start doing something you have always wanted to do. This can be a New Year’s resolution, but it doesn’t have to be. If you always wanted to take up photography, or knitting, or learn French, this can be a great time to start.

It can be very difficult to see the positives of going into the new year single, but take this time to help yourself grow, help your relationships with others flourish, and accomplish the goals you have set for 2017. I am not here to hate on relationships, as dating can be a wonderful thing. However, for those of us that are without a significant other, life does does not have to be miserable.

Jessie Bee