One trip to the store will give you an in-your-face reminder that the holidays are just around the corner. And for most people, this is welcome news – eggnog, turkeys, mistletoe, menorahs and a fat old man in a little red suit handing out presents. What could go wrong?
If you’re a five-year old, waiting in eager anticipation for every gift you set your little heart on, then nothing.
However, if you’re a 25 year-old college grad who just got a text from your EX letting you know it’s over, the holidays ain’t looking so great.
To top it off, now you’re left wondering how you’re going to make it through.
Creating a Survival Plan
Now that things are over, you’re anticipating the questions, the disgust, the I-told-you-so’s and the I-never-really-liked-him-no-way’s.
With all of that ahead of you, how are you going to survive this holiday season?
I want to empower you with nine things you can do to salvage the days and months ahead, put the pieces back together and make it one to remember – for all the right reasons.
1. Have a plan
First of all, you have to approach this thing with a plan. I’m not suggesting a Mission-Impossible-level plan, but have an idea of where you’re going and who you might run into.
Run a few scenarios through your mind. Think of some of the questions you might be asked and decide how much of your story you want to share.
Is it possible you’ll run into your EX? Will you have an encounter with your nosy auntie who’s always asking when you’re gonna get married?
Have some prepared answers ready so you’re leading with your head and not your heart. This way you’ll only share what you’re comfortable sharing and not a word more.
In fact, you can control the conversation even better if you decide to approach some of the people who are the biggest culprits, this way you can start and end the conversation the way you want.
2. Surround yourself with people who you don’t feel obligated to hang with
The next suggestion is to make sure you have your people around you.
We all like our alone time, but over the next few months, I want you to find time to hang out with people who allow you to let down your hair and be yourself.
This isn’t just good for a laugh, this is good for your health. According to studies it’s being said that loneliness could be the next public health crisis. So as much as you’d love to stay home and binge on Netflix, I want you to find the people who make you laugh until your stomach hurts.
3. Pamper yourself and look your best
We all know that when we look good we feel good, but there are a few reasons I want you to focus on being at your very best.
Besides the fact that it will give you a boost of self-confidence, remember that as you’re going to holiday parties, church and family gatherings, people are going to expect you to be at your worst because you’re going through a hard situation.
Defy their expectations by looking your best, and if anyone happens to run into your ex, they can tell him that they saw you looking amazing. Even if he doesn’t come running back, he’ll at least have to second guess his decision to let you go.
Most importantly, you’re signalling to yourself that everything will be okay. Sometimes you need to play the part before you feel it inside. So treat yourself with respect even in the days and months when you don’t feel worthy of it.
4. Make new memories by doing something you’ve never done before
One of the reasons you may feel especially sad during the holiday season is that you have memories and expectations from this time of year. One way to combat this is to make new memories.
Relationship expert Dr. Patricia Wanis suggests you go to some of the spots where you have strong memories with your EX and even listen to “your song” with other people to form a new memory or association with it.
By doing this, you’re breaking the chains that memories can sometimes create.
5. Do something for someone else
The holiday season is a great time for generosity. Find someone who is in need and may also be feeling sad and lonely. You’ll be very surprised how powerful helping someone else can be. In fact, you may find the entire experience to be addictive and end up doing it after the sting of the loss of the relationship has passed.
6. Recognise that you are loved and love surrounds you, even if it’s not coming from your ex
One of the most powerful forces after a breakup is our inner voice. Often we’ll tell ourselves that if we couldn’t make the relationship work, we are not loved. However, love surrounds us, even if it’s not coming from our EX.
The holidays are a great reminder for this because there are gatherings of family, community groups, work colleagues and even strangers. Know that you are loved.
7. Acknowledge what you have to be grateful for
What do you have to be grateful for? Make a list. Acknowledge it and recognize it. Life Coach Nancy Grants says, “Gratitude is a powerful force. It can enhance a good life and kick negativity to the curb.”
8. Give your ex some space, especially during the holiday season
It will be so tempting during the next few months to reach out to your ex. Your excuse will naturally be the holidays. You’ll say you were just reaching out to say Happy New Year’s or Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, (even though you’re not Jewish, any excuse will do).
Don’t use the holidays to satisfy that little bit of curiosity you have inside of yourself. If you’re in the middle of a no-contact period, stay true to your commitment and to yourself. Silence during this time can be even more powerful than outside of the holidays. So whatever your decision is on this, stick to it.
9. Find some way to be festive
Don’t forget it’s the holidays! Here are 16 things you can do to make sure you keep the festive spirit:
- Go ice skating,
- Secret Santa to the max!
- Get a festive outfit and rock it!
- Watch kids open presents on Christmas morning! It’s the best feeling ever!
- Bake something and enjoy the smell of it in the oven
- Buy Christmas PJs with friend or family and take a picture
- Make New Year’s Eve plans (and stick to them)
- Decorate your house or room, even better if you get a holiday candle
- Buy someone you love a holiday outfit (Bonus Points if you get a matching set)
- Learn how to cook something new (Bonus Points if you share it with someone else)
- Try a tradition from someone else’s culture (Bonus Points if you can get invited to their celebration)
- Take photos to capture the moment (Bonus Points if they don’t get lost in your camera and you get some printed)
- Make a scrapbook of memories from this holiday season
- Choose a song to describe the vibe of this past year (Bonus Points if you make a Playlist)
- Visit some puppies (Hey! I didn’t tell you to bring one back home with you)
- Go out of town if you have the opportunity (Bonus Points if you go on a cruise)
Hey! I’m wishing you all the love, gifts and festive spirit I can send! May next year be even better than this one. Love is all around you. Believe it and live it.