Going Through a Breakup or Divorce Over the Holidays Is Tough. Here’s What to Do.
Most people wouldn’t wish the pain of divorce or breakup on their worst enemy.
Even if you are the one who decided that a breakup was necessary, you probably feel like wallowing in a pint of ice cream or crying on a friend’s shoulder for hours over your split.
In fact, it’s probably the same shoulder that is still wet from the last time you cried on their shoulder about it … yesterday.
Breakups are tough ruts to get out of.
Then you factor in the holidays.
No matter what religion you are, all holidays are a time for family, love and togetherness. And when your family just got a big tear down the center, you wonder … how is celebrating possible?
We know you’re feeling low right now. Maybe even lower than low. Fortunately, we’ve got the best news you’ve probably heard in a while:
The holidays are the perfect time to improve your mood about this breakup.
Think about it. You’re looking at the holidays as a looming period of doom. You’re looking at all the holes that will be there:
- “We usually go to my in-laws for dinner. Where will I go this year?”
- “All my friends are bringing their boyfriends and spouses to the party. I’ll be the only single one.”
- “We used to wrap presents / decorate / watch movies / bake cookies Now what?”
- “I had his present all wrapped …”
Similar thoughts been in your head lately? It’s just sad thing after worry after depressing realization after bummer.
Ok now stop that snowballing!
Reverse it. Flip it on end. When you think like that, you’re making a choice to think like that. Instead, choose to think another way.
Focus on the possibilities. Believe in the miracle of this annual holiday that has endured for thousands of generations.
And follow this advice for extra support.
- Be Ready for Change (And Excited About It)
Things are going to change. That’s scary to you, especially if you’ve been in a relationship for a while. But you can take control of the situation by making friends with change.
For some, this might mean getting back into dating. For others, it might mean finally getting out of the apartment you used to share or selling/dumping the things that remind you of him.
Change your hair, schedule a mini vacation, watch the movies he always said he hated—who cares! Get excited for this new chapter of your new life, and try to make the holidays part of it. You can do this by creating brand new traditions that can just belong to you and your family and friends.
- Pinpoint What You’re Not Looking Forward To
It’s easy to say, “I hate the holidays this year.” But what do you hate? Really try to figure out what exactly you’re disliking about being broken up right now. Then take action.
For example, a lot of newly divorced people worry about attending parties or dinners solo. Well, if this is you, do something about it. For example, don’t go.
Weigh the pros and cons. If going to this dinner alone really upsets you, bow out, and replace the evening with something you love. Get a pedicure. Go see a movie. Hang out with another single friend.
Figuring out what bothers you and taking action can break up a lot of the frustration and uncomfortable feelings you’re having.
- Have a Ready Response
Scared of the idea of explaining your breakup or divorce to friends and family and random strangers at parties? Create a canned response, and don’t let people try to start up discussions about it.
Listen, you don’t have to listen to people comparing their own lives to yours or telling you that “it will get better soon” or trying to set you up.
In fact, if you want, part of your ready response can be: “I appreciate people’s concern, but I prefer not to talk about.”
- Don’t Stop Taking Care of Yourself
It’s easy not to shave your legs for oh … 5 or 6 weeks after a breakup. Or to stop highlighting or touching up your roots for, oh … 7 or 8 weeks. And yeah you can do that.
Taking care of yourself physically helps you feel in charge of your life and your destiny, and it helps you remember your confidence—an easy thing to lose when you break up with someone or get a divorce.
A few days of not washing your hair and wallowing in it is ok, but any more is disrespectful to yourself.
- Laugh about it
We as humans have the beautiful, unique ability to have a sense of humor about depressing situations. When we look at the funny side of sad things, we can at least chuckle a little, and that dopamine can start reacquainting itself with our regular brain chemistry. It’s all a slow process that you should start as soon as possible.
So, if you can, laugh about your situation.
- If you had already bought your boyfriend a sweater as a present, don’t throw it out or cry your eyes out into it! Wear it to your family’s holiday party!
- If your ex just put up a holiday photo of himself and his new girl on Facebook, put a photo up of you and your dog next to the fireplace (oh and also, quit checking his Facebook).
- And if you find yourself sitting in bed on a Saturday night at 9pm in your way-past-needs-washing-phase leggings, eating chicken and watching heart-warming / terribly-depressing-in-your-case romantic comedies … have a big, hearty laugh. Because that’s just silly and cute. And very human of you.
Then doll yourself up and go out with friends or take some amazing selfies and put them online.
Just keep in mind that life is for the living, so live. And remember that in the face of any and all trials and tribulations in life: this too shall pass.
Have a Happy Holiday.