There is no good time for a breakup. The end of a relationship leaves us heartbroken no matter when it happens. A holiday breakup, however, is just an appalling thing.
Holidays symbolize the time of happiness, togetherness and joy. Time of festivities spent with the loved ones.
If you recently had a harsh breakup, you will need to brace yourself for the upcoming holiday season. Because nothing triggers the feelings of loneliness and sadness more than feeling alone when everyone else seems to be together and happy.
Probably all you can think of is the fun that you had together during the last holiday season. And all you want to do now is to cancel the holidays and sleep until the mid-January. Still, you feel that’s not right.
So, we gathered some useful tips for you on how to cope with a breakup during the holiday season, whether you were the one who gave or received the breakup news.
1. Spend Some Time Alone
Devote some time to yourself during the holidays. Take a break from the endless dinners, shopping with friends or parties with your family. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the people and holidays altogether.
But spending some time alone and doing things that you like will help you relax and recharge your batteries.It will allow you to reflect and analyze your current feelings about the breakup.
Spend time outside. Go for a walk by the lake. Allow yourself to feel connected to the nature. Nature has a calming effect. Just walking through the park or by the water will make you feel better.
Or spend a weekend at home listening to holiday music and reading a good book. Decorate your house for the holidays. That may lift your spirits up a bit too.
2. Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is ok not to feel cheerful and happy during the holidays if you’ve just gone through a breakup. Let people around you know that this year you might not be in the mood for never-ending parties and other holiday celebrations.
Don’t try to suppress feelings like denial, anger, anxiety or grief. It is normal to have these feelings about your loss even if it’s the holiday time of year.
3. Spend Time with Friends and Family
Don’t give up on your time with family and friends, despite your desire to stay away from everybody. If you had plans to see your family and friends for the holidays, don’t cancel them.
According to Vanessa Marin, a licensed psychotherapist, spending time with people who love you and care about you is very important for processing your feelings in a healthy way. Withdrawing from close people during holidays will only make coping with a breakup harder.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to go to every dinner or a party you get invited to if you don’t feel like it. Skipping a few holiday gatherings won’t be the end of the world. Your friends and family will understand if you feel vulnerable and want to spend a few evenings at home alone.
4. Put your Misery on Hold for a Moment
Before you go to a party or a dinner with friends or family, explore some exciting topics at home. Watch an interesting documentary or read the newspapers or magazine. This will give you enough material for conversation during the evening and prevent you from venting about your misery to your family and friends all over again.
Although sharing your feelings with the close ones is helpful, holiday celebrations are the time when everyone wants to have fun.
So, give a break both, to your friends and yourself at least for one evening. Allow yourself to have fun that one night, without thinking of your current situation.
5. Help Out in Your Local Community
The holiday season is time for giving. Therefore, it is the right time to volunteer in your local community center, your child’s school, local food bank or holiday market. Devoting some of your time during holidays to helping people will make holidays meaningful and make you feel connected to your community.
Of course, volunteering is something we should normally do regardless of the positive benefits that we get from it. However, it can be a good way to put your problems aside and do something nice for the others. Plus, you will feel connected to other people and have a more than welcomed sense of togetherness throughout the holidays.
6. Have Your Answers Ready
People will ask you questions. Be prepared for that. Although annoying, that’s normal. To minimize the stress, try to have your answers concise and ready. You don’t have to go into details of your holiday breakup.
Don’t feel obligated to explain the reasons for the breakup to your friends and family.
Simply cover the topic with the short and straightforward answer. Something like: “We’re not together anymore”, or “It didn’t work out” should do just fine. Ask them to respect your decision not to go into the details on your breakup.
7. Keep Busy
Try not to put your life on hold because of the breakup. Finish your school or work related assignments and tasks before the holidays, so you can relax during your time off. Try not to neglect your household chores like laundry and cleaning.
You probably made a list of holiday gifts to buy before the breakup. Although you may not feel like it, do your holiday shopping as you planned.
Invite a friend to go with you.Try to turn a shopping day into something fun. Have a lunch together after the shopping is done or go to the movies. That way you won’t be constantly reminding yourself that you were supposed to do holiday shopping with your ex.
8. Try Something New
Start a new tradition this year. Change the way you do certain things for holidays or do something that you wouldn’t usually do. Book a holiday just for yourself. Pick some distant destination you’ve never been to before.
Traveling alone can have its benefits. Spending a few days alone and away from your everyday routine can help you clear your thoughts about your holiday breakup and put the things into perspective. Sometimes we see things more clearly if we distance ourselves from them.
Or suggest a trip together to a friend who is single. You can have fun and relax together spending holidays away from home.
9. Take Care of Your Mind and Body
Don’t neglect yourself despite the sadness and lethargy that you might feel after a breakup. Exercise daily and make sure you eat and sleep well. Try to minimize alcohol intake.
Taking care of your body is equally important as taking care of your mental health. Do the things that make you feel good and avoid anything that triggers stress and anxiety. Don’t watch disturbing movies and skip the gloomy headlines in the news.
Express your feelings through some form of art. For example, take dancing or sculpting classes. Art can help you channel your emotions and express them in a constructive way.
10. Follow No Contact Rule after a Breakup
You’ll probably reach for your phone for millions of times, tempted to send a message to your ex. But don’t do that. Try to resist the temptation to follow him or her on social media, send messages or call them late at night crying over your breakup.
It is very important to stick to no contact rule after your breakup. Keeping in touch with your ex can just make you more upset and miserable. Seeing that your ex is moving with his life after the breakup will only profoundly hurt you.
So, unfriend your ex on all your social media accounts. Do not stalk them. If you have mutual friends or you are still seeing some of the members of your ex’s family, don’t try to find out where is your ex, who is she with or what is she doing.
However hard it might be at the moment, following no contact rule after the breakup is the best way to move forward.
11. Reach Out for Support
There are a lot of lonely people out there. Seek support if you feel that you cannot cope with your holiday breakup grief during the season. Join one of the many online support groups or look for those available in your local community.
Search out for a professional counseling. A few sessions of short term counseling may strengthen your coping mechanisms and help you get through the holiday season as painless as possible.
Surviving a breakup can be particularly challenging during the holidays when you’re surrounded with couples and families sharing the joy of togetherness. However, keep in mind that it won’t always be this bad. Take a good care of yourself during the holidays and do only the things that make you happy. Eventually, one morning you may wake up feeling better and ready to embrace the holidays.