Do you find yourself facing the holidays fresh off a breakup? If so, the sound of sleigh bells jingling might just be causing you to break out in a cold sweat. And the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire might make you want to throw up a little. And even New Year's Eve seems daunting and you will do anything to avoid that countdown to the midnight kiss you won't be getting this year.
Let's be honest, facing the holidays without your sweetheart is probably one of the hardest things to do.
Here are 5 quick tips to get you through what may seem to be the slog of the holidays:
Focus on what you have
Keep in mind the holidays are a time to be thankful and feel gratitude. You may have lost your relationship, but don't take for granted the other things in your life that bring you happiness. Take stock of the good things in your life. Count your blessings. Whether it's your job, your health, your home or friends, find the things in life that bring you joy.
Spend time with friends and family (but set your boundaries)
There are other people than your ex in your life. People that love you and can be your biggest supporters. Make sure you take time out and accept the love and support of your closest friends and family this holiday season.
But also remember, some of these folks have the potential to be the biggest pains in the rear after a break up. So, in order to maintain your sanity, make sure you set some boundaries.
Consider setting some ground rules for off-limit questions related to your breakup. In addition, in case your mom can't resist or a friend of a friend continues to pry, have a prepared response to questions about your break-up. Here are some examples:
Question: "What happened??"
Answer: "It just didn't work out." (leave it at this and don't get into more detail)
Question: "How are you doing [after your breakup]?"
Answer: "I will be ok. If you don't mind, I would rather talk about something else."
Question: "What are your plans?"
Answer: "Let's talk more about this later."
Come up with your own internal plan of how you will deal with these questions and your comfort level at holiday parties will rise.
Exercise and eat well
As tempting as it is, try to avoid the overindulgence of holiday cookies, candy, and cocktails. You will feel better if you can maintain a healthy diet and your waistline will thank you. Make time to hit the gym or better yet get outside (weather permitting) and enjoy some fresh air with a brisk walk, run or bike ride. Exercise has the added benefit of improving your mood so you can look at your situation with a better sense of objectivity, or at least help you calm down.
Volunteer or give back
Many charities welcome donations but you should also consider some hands-on volunteering. Find something you are passionate about or an organization you believe is doing good work and research how to get involved. If you aren't interested in volunteering for a charity, consider helping a neighbor by raking their leaves, shoveling snow or walking their pet.
Most importantly, take care of yourself
As I've mentioned before, whether you are devastated or relieved you may be a bit bewildered. Stop and take a deep breath. You need to take sufficient time to grieve, reflect, and accept, especially if this breakup is a divorce. You will eventually need to figure out when it is time to get back into the dating game.
Even if you don't believe it yet...tell yourself you are going to be OK. It may be terrifying to think about starting over, but you will get there.
In the meantime, don't be afraid to drink the eggnog.