How to Make It Through the Holidays Alone
Getting through the holidays can be tough after divorce. You’re going through a lot of change, and change is usually hard. Your mind is running wild with all the things that “should be” and are “supposed to be.” Maybe you’re even feeling some embarrassment or shame, and want to just curl up in a corner and throw yourself a pity-party.
Pity-parties are perfectly acceptable as long as you don’t allow yourself to get stuck there.
But holidays during this difficult season don’t have to be all doom and gloom.
Here are a few tips that will help make the holidays a little brighter.
Many times we spend so much time sitting in self-pity over what the holidays are supposed to be like that we don’t even bother to make plans and we withdraw from the world. Then we wonder why we’re alone for the holidays and it becomes easy to blame someone else for it.
Take back control of your situation by making plans.
Plan to spend it with friends or family.
Invite yourself if necessary. Most of the time a simple, “What are you guys doing for the holidays?” will get you an invite. And skip the part where you feel bad about intruding on their family time. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t truly want you there.
Make plans with others who you will be alone.
One of my favorite holiday celebrations was a “Friendsgiving” with a group of friends who didn’t really have any other plans.
If you don’t have friends or family to spend the holidays with, volunteer with a charity that helps those in need or offer to work for a co-worker.
Do something you enjoy.
If you are going to be alone, pick something you enjoy doing and go do it. One year, for Christmas Day, I knew I would be alone and refused to sit at home feeling sorry for myself. So, I made plans to go on a hike at a local state park and had a wonderful day.
Plan for the Emotions
You will experience all kinds of emotions for the holidays, especially when it feels like everyone else in the world is spending time with family except you. That thought is completely untrue by the way. You may feel sad, lonely, angry, bitter, disappointment, or even shame. Plan for it. Know it will be there and that it’s fine.
Whatever emotions come up for you, allow yourself to just feel them…even if it means cutting out of a family gathering early so you can go home and curl up on the couch to cry. Just keep feeling your feelings.
This doesn’t mean life has to stop. Keep moving and bring the emotion with you along the way.
Breathe and relax into the pain you’re feeling. Name it. “I’m just feeling some sadness today and that’s okay.” Don’t beat yourself up about it and remember that what other people think is none of your business. Allow yourself to just feel whatever you feel with self-compassion.
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