If you’re newly single, the holiday season will magnify how much your life has changed. It can be an exciting step into a better future. It can also feel like a nonstop reminder of things that are no more. Even if your life isn’t exactly the way you want, use these tips to help you thrive this holiday season:
- Grow Your Favorites. What puts you in a holiday mood? Think about the joy you experienced as a child. What makes this season magical? Inspiring? Christmas carols? Baking cookies? Frying up Latkes or Sufganiyot? Telling the age-old stories? Watching football or basketball? Make sure to figure out a way to get more of whatever you love most about the holiday season.
- Ask for Company. Friends may not know how to deal with your situation. They might keep their distance. They are afraid to “take sides.” Ease their discomfort. Reach out. Tell them point blank that, yes, you still want to do things together. You’ll be surprised how receptive they are, once you break the ice.
- Make New Friends. Now is a great time to expand your friend circle. Meetup.com, do317.com, yelp.com, indyhub.org, eventbright.com are all sites that list fun events do to around the Indianapolis metro area. Meetup.com has a meetup group for almost every interest, from singles groups to dinning meetups. You can both grow your favorites and meet new people at the same time. You can also find people that are at a similar place in their lives, so if you don’t have kids, you can go hang out with the single 40-somethings at adult friendly activities.
- Know your Limits. It’s okay to say no, sometimes. Can’t bring yourself to join a dinner party where everyone else is coupled? That’s ok. Think about other singles you know who are facing the same dilemma. Form a “family of choice” and invite those friends to celebrate together. You don’t have to limit the group to singles, as long as the whole group isn’t made up of matched pairs.
- Focus on What You’ve Gained. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’ve lost. Instead, focus on the positives: You don’t have to spend Christmas Eve with the drunks in your ex’s family. You don’t have to buy gifts for 15 in-laws you barely know. You don’t have to pretend to like somebody else’s “family recipe” any more. Literally, sit down and write out a list of all the upsides to your new circumstances. Positive thinking, even if forced, will set you on the right path to a happier holiday.
- Give Yourself a Gift. Now that you eliminated in-laws and the ex’s friends from your gift list, re-assign that open part of the budget to yourself. Buy something that you know you’ll truly enjoy. You deserve it now more than ever.
- Have a Back-Up in Mind. What if you find yourself alone on the big day? If you haven’t prepared for this, the time may drag long and empty. Act now to get ready. Get your journal (or a notebook) out. Write a list of things you like that you can do just by yourself. They don’t have to be earth-shattering. Anything that makes you happy and gives you something to do. Possibilities: go hiking, test a new recipe, binge watch a TV series, go to a movie, take a bubble bath (guys enjoy bubble baths, too), read a book, attend a support group meeting, golf, yoga, crafts, volunteer. Get writing now.
- Moderation is Good Enough. Don’t deprive yourself of all the sweet goodies and fried foods. That can put you in a bad mood. Yes, healthy living is important. Always wear a seat belt. Always wash your hands before eating. But you don’t have to say no every empty calorie. It’s okay to eat some cookies and drink some eggnog or spiced cider.
- Gifts from the Heart. To stretch your gift budget, try giving gifts from the heart, not the mall. Give a treasured family heirloom to your teen or adult child. Include a note about the item, explaining that the origins and what it means to you. That will mean more than any store-bought gift.
- Forgive. Despite all that you have lost, make a New Year’s resolution to let go of your anger over the break-up and how your ex behaved. The anger is hurting you, not your ex. The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.
May this holiday season and the coming year
Bring you peace and reflection to:
Learn from yesterday,
Live for today, and
Hope for tomorrow.
Best Wishes for Peace and Harmony Throughout the New Year.
(with help from Mordecai & Gideon)