If you’re a music lover you might buy into the fact that “breaking up is hard to do” or that “love hurts”. However, breaking up near an impending holiday, like Christmas or New Year’s Eve or (gasp) Valentine’s Day, can truly make you feel like you’ve been hit by Santa’s sleigh and stampeded by a succession of 32 reindeer hooves…several times over.
So before you put “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” on a loop while eating an entire gingerbread house, take our true blue tips for surviving and thriving a holiday breakup to heart…
1. Know the Symptoms of a Broken Heart
When you fall in love it’s common to feel excited about the future, full of potential, every minute of the day is filled with images and thoughts of your amour. When you break up, similar thoughts of your relationship still occupy your mind—but suddenly they are set in a negative context rather than a positive love high.
According to relationship guru, Dr. Michele O’Mara, who penned the book, Just Ask! 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship, you experience physical chemical and hormonal changes when you fall in love and also when you breakup. That means the same thoughts that lifted you up when you fell in love, take you down when you experience a breakup because you feel a concrete loss, especially around a holiday where love and relationships seem to be a focus.
2. Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
A poll from EliteSingles.com, a UK matchmaking website, revealed that 76-percent of respondents believe that the emotions that one experience post breakup can be both psychological and physical damaging. For instance, you may lose your appetite, drown your sorrows in alcohol or unhealthy foods, feel a deep loss, and refuse to leave the house for days.
It’s easy to put ourselves in another person’s shoes when it comes to their breakup. However, the time it takes you to bounce back after a spilt may be minimal compared to the time it takes for a friend, co-worker, or family to recover. Regardless of if it was a short-lived cyber fling, a friends with benefits, or a long term marriage…if you experienced connection with another person on an intimate level, you’re bound to feel loss that feels like a deep void or death. So give yourself permission if you are grieving and permit time, space, and understanding if you are supporting a loved one who’s recently ended a relationship.
3. Focus on New Beginnings
Following a breakup, it’s very common to ponder what life has in store for you next—especially if you had a plan mapped out that included you and your now defunct partner. You may feel at a loss of direction or become overwhelmed by thoughts of what you should do next, considering an approaching new year.
Instead of piling on the pressure when you’re already feeling vulnerable, consider that in time, the world and all of its possibilities are your oyster. Clean slates can take you in incredible directions after time heals all wounds.
4. Be All About Me-Time
During the holidays we often put the onus on others—buying lavish gifts for our spouses and making sure their day is special. However, now that you’re single, the holidays can be all about YOU! Take this time to establish new traditions and reclaim a few old, enjoyable habits that you may have let slide when you were committed.
For instance, if your spouse had you up at the crack of dawn antiquing, take Sundays as your days to languish in bed with a good book. Or take the money you would have spent on a gift for your lover and invest it back into you and your passions. Try out a cooking class, a writing workshop, a dance classes, a spa day, or a mini vacation.
5. Vent with Caution
Sure, every breakup deserves a good, long vent with a bottle of wine and a few pints of ice cream with your BFF. However, when venting becomes your state of being it can become damaging to your state of mind and your relationships.
Keep the venting to a minimum with a few close and trusted friends for cathartic and therapeutic reasons. However, do what’s possible to avoid cornering every single co-worker to detail every terrible thing your ex ever did you to. Creating distance between you and your ex is vital to get over them. So that means steering clear of the “ex factor” topic with mutual friends and acquaintances.
6. Shun Social Media
No matter how better it makes you feel to slander you ex all over Facebook after a few glasses of wine—social media is not your friend of confident post breakup. In fact, if you and your defunct love shared connections via Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram the constant updates can get in the way of the time it takes you to recover.
So take a healthy hiatus from social media and re-establish those physical bonds with friends and family that will help you over the hump. Social media connections are “complicated” after all. They can leave you feeling empty and lonely if you’re using them to fill an authentic physical void. Instead, meet friends for dinner, for a glass of holiday cheer, or for a Christmas movie night.