Breakups are hard. Whether it’s the end of a short-term relationship or a divorce or breakup of a years long relationship, the rejection and loneliness that comes along with a breakup can be unbearable. Facing the holidays after a breakup can be especially difficult. The holidays, after all, are supposed to be a happy time. Many activities are geared toward people in relationships; family and friends may ask questions that open wounds, and the loneliness of celebrating the holidays by yourself can be particularly painful. Here’s how to get through the holidays as a newly single person without losing your mind and while still managing to have some fun:
Prepare For the Inevitable Questions
Several years ago, a long time boyfriend broke up with me two weeks before Christmas, and I was shocked to see how many friends and family peppered me with questions about our breakup at Christmas gatherings. My first impulse was to rally my friends and family to gather their pitchforks and hate my ex, and this might be yours as well. But having a prepared response that quickly changes the subject will serve you better in the long run. You won’t spend holiday gatherings dwelling on the breakup and your friends and family will be able to take your mind off of things if they’re not asking countless follow up questions to your proclamation that your ex is the spawn of Satan ( a favorite, though admittedly misguided, response of mine at the time). Prepare a response that doesn’t invite follow up questions like, “We broke up and I’m sad about it but I want to enjoy the holidays and am looking forward to the new adventures being single can bring.” Conveying a positive attitude, even if you’re not feeling particularly positive, will encourage your friends and family to see the bright side of your breakup, which can help you to see it as well.
Enjoy the Extra Money
Not having to buy presents for your ex means extra money in your pocket. Give to charity and take joy in helping other people; buy yourself a present, or just get a really great gift for a dear friend.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get past your own sadness is to help someone else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen; buy a toy for toys for tots, or just help your parents prepare their annual holiday dinner. Giving to others can help remind us that our life isn’t so bad after all, and volunteer work gets you out of the house, which is of paramount importance in the recovery process from a breakup!
Enjoy the Romance
Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays tend to be heavily slanted toward couples, but being single doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the romantic vibe of the holidays. Enjoy flirting at holiday parties and think about what you want out of your next relationship. Promise to have a romance with yourself this holiday season, and focus on meeting your own needs.
Get Out As Much as Possible
When you’ve just been dumped, the temptation is to sit at home pining away for weeks, to cancel Christmas, and to drown in a sea of moping. But this is the very behavior that will make you feel worse in the long run. The holiday season provides lots of opportunities to get out, from holiday parties to plays and ice skating. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to tailor your schedule to another person’s needs and spend as much time out of the house as possible. Making new friends and being reminded that you’re not alone in the world will help you in your healing.
Breakups are never easy and are even more difficult at the holidays. But no matter how badly it hurts, you will eventually move past the pain. In the meantime, don’t deprive yourself of a chance to join the holidays just because you’re temporarily grieving a breakup. No matter how hard it may be to believe right now, know that it does get better!