7 Tips to Ease The Holiday Blues.
Most of us can agree that 2020 has been a crazy year. Forget large holiday parties, even small gatherings are not recommended. In this post, Certified Divorce Coach, Sharri Freedman shares 7 tips to help make the season less lonely. This post originally appeared on Sharri Freedman’s blog.
The holiday season should be joyous, but the thought of spending the holidays alone is daunting. The idea of celebrating seems unbearable. The holidays are supposed to be filled with happiness and good cheer but what if you are facing them alone?
The first holiday season post separation and divorce can be anything but joyous. Gatherings that typically happened as a family appear impossible. This year, the pandemic adds a layer of complication making it harder to find alternatives.
All is not lost. There is hope this holiday season:
- good planning,
- a positive attitude, and
- realistic expectations
will help you make it through the season. You might even find some joy along the way. Here are 7 tips to ease the pain of spending the holidays alone.
Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out your holiday plans. This will only add to your stress and overwhelm. If your kids will be spending the holidays with your Ex, decide how you will spend the day. If holiday traditions are too painful this year, skip them. You can always restart the tradition next year.
Creating new traditions is another option too. No one is stopping you from having Christmas dinner on December 23rd or 26th. If you don’t want to be alone, and visiting with friends or other family members is not possible this year, plan a virtual gathering. If being with others is not in the cards this year,
- plan a movie marathon,
- read that book you have been meaning to start, or
- bake your favorite treats.
It may not be a happy day for you, but you will get through it, and next year will look very different.
Cultivate Holiday Positivity
Being positive when your world is imploding may seem impossible, but maintaining a positive mindset is key. Susan Pease Gadoua L.C.S.W suggests creating a gratitude list which can help shift the needle, even a tiny bit, away from feeding negative thoughts.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
You know this holiday season is going to be painful. Don’t try to deny your feelings. Grieving is part of the healing process. Instead of making the process move faster, denying your emotions often has the opposite effect. Your first holiday season as a restructured family will highlight the fact that life will be different moving forward. Be kind to yourself by leaving space to grieve that loss.
Set Realistic Holiday Expectations
Remove the pressure to have the perfect holiday. Expect things to be different. Acknowledge that this year may not be wonderful. In fact it might be miserable. But it won’t be this way forever.
Engage in Self Care
Self care is important throughout the year but it is especially important during the holiday season. Feel like curling up in a ball and hibernating until the season passes? While tempting, you know this is not healthy or helpful. Make a list of self care activities that you enjoy and commit to doing some form of self care every day. If you are struggling, set a time for 10 minutes and when the timer goes off, move on to something else. Do this throughout the day and you will start to see your spirits lift. Even if it is just a little bit, doing something positive for yourself is better than doing nothing.
Build New Holiday Traditions
Moving forward you may have to say goodbye to some traditions. Instead of focusing on what was, use that energy to create new traditions. This is an opportunity for you and your kids to create your new normal. Resist the temptation to tell yourself this is not what you wanted and it is not fair. Negative self-talk will keep you stuck. Ask
your kids what they would like to do this year. Be open to new ideas. Remember you can create wonderful memories despite the circumstances.
One way to combat loneliness is to focus on others. Volunteering is a great way to spend the holidays especially if you find yourself alone. Due to the pandemic volunteering may not be an option this year. But you can still focus on others. Here are a few ideas:
- Pack bags for the homeless with granola bars, mini water bottles, applesauce and warm socks. The dollar store is a great place to find these supplies without spending a lot of money. Donate the bags to a shelter or keep them in your car and hand them out when you see someone in need either at a stop light or while walking in your town or city.
- While you can’t visit nursing homes this year, you can still bring joy to the residents. One idea is to make cards with your kids and drop them off for the staff to distribute. This small gesture will bring joy to those who are also feeling alone this holiday season.
- According to idealist.org virtual opportunities to volunteer are popping up daily. New platforms, tools, and apps are being developed to allow people to volunteer virtually.