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‘Tis the season. We all know it. The ever-approaching, dreaded time of year where the weather gets colder and people seem to fall into each other’s arms: cuffing season. For some inexplicable reason, possibly the prospect of the holiday so sweet that it’s sour––Valentine’s Day–– or the pressure of your creepy uncle at Christmas asking how many boyfriends you have, or a combination of everything going on, relationships become unavoidable.

If you’re anything like me, this season looming over your head is like a fly that won’t get out of your ear. No matter how happy you are with your independence, no matter how little time you have to devote to someone else, there’s still that buzz telling you to hop gleefully on the relationship train. So, for those of us who take up the whole bed, cook meals for one, or just simply don’t think that this is the right time for a commitment, here are my tips on how to stay uncuffed this cuffing season.

Buy a weighted blanket

Are you lonely or are you just cold? The age-old dilemma. The answer is simple: buy a weighted blanket. You’ll sleep like a baby with not even a fantasy of commitment dancing in your head.

Pick up a cold weather hobby

A lot of us lose hobbies when the blue skies turn to clouds and Tuscaloosa drops to 30 degrees. Your favorite hobby might be going to the lake or hiking or sports, but that doesn’t mean you should pick up dating as a new hobby just because you’re bored. Maybe start reading for fun again, or making your own clothes, or learning how to draw. You can literally learn how to do anything on YouTube. You could learn how to code and become the hacker of your friend group. You could learn sign language and make yourself a more accessible person. You could finally perfect your eyeliner game. The possibilities are endless. And these possibilities do not include getting played.

Focus on the things that matter

Something about that cold weather just makes us all want to procrastinate. And what’s the most entertaining way to do that? You guessed it: downloading Tinder and distracting yourself by collecting Snapchats of people you have no interest in or even worse–– downloading Tinder and distracting yourself trying to find a long-term commitment. So, instead of chasing commitment, chase your goals. Research internships, jobs, and I hate to say it, do your homework. This is not a time to let everything slip through the cracks. Make yourself stand out by being consistent, and I promise you won’t regret it.

Learn how to be fulfilled alone

We can’t blame ourselves for the ache for a significant other, even when you know you’re not ready for a relationship. In rom-coms, sit-coms and even action movies, the thing that always ties up the plot is the perfect person. But what they don’t teach us is that you can be that perfect person for yourself. You can be whole with everything you already possess, and if you think that some person is going to fill the missing piece in your life, you’re just going to end up with an unhealthy attachment and a broken heart.

So, here’s our mantra for cuffing season: I am happy. I am whole. I have everything I need to succeed within me.

Along with that, start enjoying the little moments with yourself. Maybe it’s the way the sun shines through your blinds when you wake up, or the recipe that you absolutely nailed, or the new song you found. Because once you feel complete with yourself, cuffing season just becomes winter.

Rachel is studying political science, marketing, and public policy at the University of Alabama, pursuing a career in civil rights law and politics. When she's not busy with school and writing, she advocates for survivors of interpersonal violence through work at the Women and Gender Resource Center and her organization, End The Silence. In her free time, she runs, spends time outdoors, and watches bad tv.
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