During the Christmas holidays do you feel like Scrooge? Do you feel depressed and miserable and wish Christmas would not come this year? Your first Christmas alone after divorce is not easy as anyone knows who has had to go through this experience.
If you have kids and depending on your situation they will usually have to split their time between you and your ex. Or worse yet the kids are with your ex and his girlfriend. None of this adds cheer to your holiday that’s for sure.
First realize that it is normal to experience sadness, frustration and even anger if this is your first holiday alone. If you feel sad, remember that sadness is just an emotion. Allow yourself to experience the sadness without running away from it so it can complete its cycle quickly.
Once you let yourself feel your feelings, you’ll be able to feel more grounded. Emotions never last very long if you don’t resist them. They have a sequence. First they get triggered and set into motion by something. It could be a memory or even a TV commercial about families together on the holidays. Next the emotion peaks to a level of pain and discomfort, and lastly it dissipates and then it’s over.
Although it is normal to feel blue when spending your first Christmas alone you must guard against establishing this as a pattern for future holiday celebrations. If you set this habit and routine of just surviving the holiday and feeling isolated because of all the pain you are in then you will continue to do this in the future. You will literally become a prisoner of your past.
Remember A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
You don’t want to get stuck in the ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ lamenting about how wonderful the holidays were before the divorce, but now you are sad and alone on this holiday. If you grit your teeth to just to survive these times you will create a pattern that will continue forward year after year, after year.
Instead use the holidays as a way of setting the ground work for your new beginning. Shift your attitude and decide that you’re going to reinvent yourself and enjoy your life and your relationships. As Debbie Ford says in her book, The Right Questions, “Every choice we make leads us in one of two directions. We are headed either towards a future that inspires us or toward a past that limits us.”
Start right now. Make a list of things you are interested in doing or learning. Focus these interests around interacting with others. As an example you could join a group that tours different wineries in your area. Alternatively, you could learn to play tennis by joining a tennis class at your local community center. If you like to dance sign up for dance classes that are being offered in your area. Check out all the classes that are available at your community college and register for one of them.
The bottom line is you want to start to establish new friendships that fit for who you are today. You want to put yourself in situations where you will meet available men like in a class on investing in Real Estate as just one example.
Think of it this way. Pretend you have moved to a new city and you are doing things to learn about this area. You will put energy into meeting new people and becoming active in the community. Even though in reality you may be living in the same area or maybe even the same house and neighborhood you lived in before your divorce, change everything else.
Alter your routine. Shop at a specialty supermarket like ‘Whole Foods,’ assuming that is not a part of your routine. Smile and say hi to the other shoppers there. Take your dog to another dog park. Get involved in diverse community activities. Join a different gym or health club. Out with the old in with the new should be your motto. Soon you will see your life moving in different and exciting directions.
Your first Christmas alone after divorce could prove to be your opportunity for all kinds of ‘firsts’ as you come forward as the new you. You are stepping out into an innovative world. If you relax and let yourself enjoy all the things that will come your way you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.
Please leave a comment and share with others about your first holidays alone after divorce.