11 Tips for surviving the first Christmas after your breakup
Nov 29, 2020
The first Christmas after my marriage ended, I remember being in a card shop and just standing there in tears staring at the Husband cards, knowing that I wouldn’t be buying one that year. I couldn’t comprehend spending Christmas without my husband.
The thought of Christmas after your breakup, makes the heartbreak and loss feel even more unbearable, if that’s possible. It seems like everyone around you is happy and full of Christmas cheer, whilst all you want to do, is curl up on the sofa with your box of tissues. Know that how you're feeling is totally normal and it's ok to be upset and emotional.
Here are some tips to try that might make it easier for you to survive the Christmas period this year:
- Start new traditions – It took me a long time to realise that I was still doing the same things as before – just without my husband. All this does is emphasise the gaping hole in your life. Instead, look at this year as an opportunity to start some new traditions and get rid of the ones that you never enjoyed.
- Make a plan – Make sure you have a plan for how you’ll spend the Christmas period rather than leaving it to chance. This doesn’t mean you have to cram it with loads of activities - but have a good balance of spending time with loved ones and time to yourself (if that’s what you want). Be selfish and spend the time exactly how you want to.
- Treat yourself – Buy yourself your own Christmas present. Show yourself that you’re special and worth it. Treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on for a while or something that you ex would never have bought you!
- Volunteer – Although it may not feel like it – there are a lot of people worse off than you at this time of year. Think about volunteering for a charity that’s close to your heart. It’s a great distraction. As well as doing some good for other people, the act of kindness makes you feel better about yourself and activates your ‘happy hormones’.
- Take a break from social media – The last thing you need is to be seeing everyone else’s idyllic Christmas posts in your feed. Remember most of what you see on social media isn’t real – it’s how people want to portray themselves. Instead follow some inspirational, positive accounts or better still have a complete break.
- Gratitude – When we acknowledge what we’re grateful for - we immediately tap into a more positive mindset and start to notice more positive things around us – rather than focussing on lack. Every morning, write down 3 things you’re grateful for, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.
- Get away – do something completely different, get away somewhere new and make some new memories. There are loads of trips activity-based trips available which would help to keep you distracted. You could also look into house-sitting or pet-sitting where you don’t have to pay for the accommodation. If you have any single friends, plan a trip together.
- Learn to say No – don’t say yes to things just because you feel obliged to. It’s difficult enough at this time of year so learn to say No to things you don’t want to do and be ok with that. If you don’t want to send cards or do presents – that’s fine. It can literally take all your energy to get through the day when you’re going through a breakup, so don’t put yourself under added pressure.
- Have a playlist and movie list – Prepare a playlist of uplifting songs. Music is really powerful at helping to lift our mood and change our state if we’re feeling low. Also have a list of all your favourite comedy films and box sets that never fail to make you laugh out loud. Otherwise, finally start that boxset you’ve been meaning to watch for ages and immerse yourself in it.
- Make time for you – It’s difficult to make time for self-care at the best of times, let alone over Christmas which can be really hectic. Try and carve out some time that’s just for you and do something you love - whether that’s reading a book, taking a soak in the bath or going for a walk in nature.
- Have a second Christmas – If your ex has the kids this year - then plan to have your own Christmas day together when they’re with you. It can still be a really special day with presents and Christmas lunch. It will give you something to focus on and to look forward to.
Even though there’s no denying it’s really tough - there are some things you can do to try and make the time more bearable. Tell yourself that it’s just one day that you need to get through and by this time next year you’ll be in a much better space.
Even though it’s likely this will be a difficult time of year for you – remember that it will pass, and you will find happiness again. Use some of the time to reflect on what you want your life to look like this time next year. Think about what you could do now to start moving closer to that. Reach out to your friends and family for support when you need it – they’ll be more than willing to help.
If you feel like you need some support to help you get over your breakup, please send me an email at [email protected] and we can have a chat about how I can help.
You can also join my free Facebook group for women who are either going through a breakup or have been through it. It’s a safe, non-judgemental space for women in the same situation to support each other. You can join here: https://bit.ly/thebreakupanddivorcelounge