It’s almost Christmas again and it’s my absolute favourite time of the year! But what if you are spending Christmas alone?
Christmas has always been a fun time for me and as a person with a vivid imagination, it’s the most magical time of the year. Indulgent food and drinks, heart-warming movies, log fires, decorations everywhere and of course…family time together.
If you’re facing christmas alone or without your partner, it can be the worst time of the year and absolutely torturous.
This is the time when you have to be compassionate with yourself. Speak lovingly to you as you would to others around you. We often look to others for the love we need, when really it’s an inside job.
The first Christmas after my separation, I wanted to go to bed and sleep until it was all over. I struggled to see how life was ever going to be good again. I thought non-stop about my ex and his new girlfriend and her kids celebrating the holidays together. It felt like the pain may never end.
However, when you have young kids who are bubbling with excitement, you have to put on your best smile and struggle through the pain for them. I made sure we were with people who cared about us and made sure we were looked after. I did struggle with some invites as I didn’t want to be a burden on anyone and also didn’t want people inviting us out of pity. So I chose to be with those who I knew were reaching out to us from a place of love.
My first Christmas alone
I’m not going to lie, it was the worst Christmas I had ever had but I kept telling myself it was only one day and that next Christmas and all the others to follow would be better. Meditation, EFT and positive thinking got me through the day. I stayed focused on my new freedom, the peace that I would have in the coming months and the importance of letting go of the illusion I had created in my mind.
I am a few years down the line now and the pain no longer has any hold over me. My ex and I are amicable these days and he will be spending Christmas Day with us this year along with his parents. This may seem crazy to some and I would have thought the same a few years ago, but it works for us just now while the kids are still living at home.
Whatever stage you’re at in your separation, start to think about how you can do things differently. Making small changes and being prepared can make it a whole lot easier.
Here are my top 12 tips to give yourself the Christmas you need:
1. Make new traditions.
If the old ways are too painful, start to think about what you can do differently. What did you always do with your ex? Can you do something different? It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; perhaps buy new decorations or start going to the Christmas carols in your local town.
2. Plan ahead.
Make a plan well ahead of the holidays so you have things to look forward to. Where will you go? Who will you spend Christmas day with? If there are kids involved make sure everyone is clear on the when and where they will spend their time. If possible, come together with your ex and buy the presents jointly; that way there’s no competition or anyone let down on the day.
3. Be flexible.
If you don’t have your kids on Christmas day and are spending Christmas alone then plan to make Christmas eve or boxing day your big celebration. Your kids will love having two days of celebration.
4. Surround yourself with loved ones.
Make sure you are with people who make you happy and care for you. Get busy and help out if you are at a friend’s house or visit someone you know who is lonely.
Volunteering at a charity is a great way to give back to your community, help those in need and make yourself feel better. Evidence shows that helping others improves mental health and overall well-being, reduces stress and even benefits physical health.
6. Let go of any guilt.
Be kind to yourself and let go of any guilt you feel towards yourself or anyone involved in your life. Don’t overcompensate with gifts for your kids because you feel bad their situation has changed, and on the same not don’t take away their joy by letting them see how sad you are. Be grateful for ever little thing you have as this helps you shift your mindset and focus on the good around you.
7. Enjoy your new freedom.
Being single means you are free to choose what you do. No more fighting about whose parents to go to or how much money you spend on extended family. If you don’t have kids or they aren’t with you then you are free to go on holiday and do anything that makes you happy. Enjoy the time and space you have. Spending Christmas alone can be great!
8. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
Being grateful can change your outlook and make your situation a little better. Write out 3 things every morning and evening that you are grateful for. It can be anything from seeing your kids smiles to a stranger holding a door for you. See the good in every situation and you will start to see a shift in your mindset.
9. Don’t numb yourself.
Stay away from drinking too much alcohol. This not only makes you prone to having meltdowns, but also weakens your resolve where you may end up sending texts or making calls to your ex which you may regret later.
10. Reflect and plan.
Heading into the New Year, start to think about how you can make the next year better. Plan and write out goals such as taking up new hobbies or joining groups to make new friends. Start doing things that excite you that you couldn’t do before. You have a clean slate to start living a life you love.
11. Treat yourself.
Buy yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, just make it meaningful to you. This is another area we will forget about ourselves and spend our budget on others around us.
12. Remind yourself this will get better.
I know it might not feel like it, but I can assure you that each day it gets a little better. Each year you will make strides in healing and getting your life back together.
Christmas alone can be rewarding and fun.
To join the conversation and get support through your separation/divorce contact me through The Hug Directory, or my free facebook group Divorce with Dignity, and follow me on Instagram @coachingbydebbie.