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Surviving The Holidays, Single Style

The holidays are coming in hot and you are newly single. I know exactly what you are thinking because I’ve been there: This sucks. How the hell am I going to get through this Hallmark-esque time of year when everyone else is with their families and partners. What is it going to feel like to watch my kids go back and forth between homes while I sit in front of my Christmas tree, alone eating cheap chocolates that could probably double as eyebrow wax?

Oh, and to add a cherry on top of your misery-sundae you are probably trying to navigate a very different financial situation. Divorce is a dick like that, it can affect every single part of your life, even if you know it was for the best.

I experienced my first single-holiday seven years ago. Truth be told, I’m still single and about to face my eighth year of being a single mom of three. It’s gotten a lot easier. But, I still have rough days. Time can heal a lot of things, but there’s something about the holidays that can make you feel feelings you thought you’d worked out.

I’m here to tell you there are things you can do that not only will help you get through this year and make you look at the holidays in a different light; these are tactics I’ve depended on for years that have saved me when I’ve felt low.

1. Plan on having some rough days. I know this may sound depressing, but my first Christmas after my divorce I had almost a year to prepare myself. I thought I would be fine because my divorce was amicable and I’d worked through some shit and my ex-husband and I knew it was all for the best. I definitely hadn’t worked through all my shit, because I experienced emotions I had expected. Some days they took me down, and I beat myself up about it. Brace yourself. You might have some really gloomy days. It’s normal and completely okay. Had I been a little more prepared for this to happen, I wouldn’t have tried so hard to fight against what I was feeling (which didn’t work at all).

2. Make plans, even if you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to fill every second your kids are gone, or every weekend evening with a fun-filled event, but if you know there is going to be a day that might be hard, make some plans. Even meeting a friend for lunch, or visiting your favorite bookstore can completely lift your mood.

3. Buy yourself something special. I didn’t do this my first few years as a single mom. Now I always do it. I love myself and I’m allowed to give myself gifts. I deserve them, and just because I don’t have someone get me a gift, doesn’t mean I don’t get to have one. I can give myself everything I need. So can you.

4. Start new traditions. Whether you have kids at home, you can get stuck feeling like you have to celebrate the same way every year. If there’s something you’ve done to celebrate for years and you can’t stomach it, don’t do it. If you want to throw a holiday bash, but you’ve never done it before, start planning. Change can be really uncomfortable when you think about it, but when you actually make a change, you will most likely feel refreshed and wonder why you didn’t change things up sooner.

5. Be open. If you aren’t able to do as much for your kids this year as far as gifts, lose the guilt. Your kids want a happy mother. Not one who is stressed out because she’s trying to go all out when her heart, and bank account, aren’t really feeling it. If you are lonely or need some support, tell someone you trust. Don’t go through it alone. It’s amazing how much better you will feel even after a quick phone conversation when you are feeling low.

If someone invites you to something you'd normally say no to, give it a second thought. Be open to change and new people and new ways of celebrating the season. There’s nothing that helps the divorce grieving process (that we all go through), like doing something different. Yes, the holidays as a single woman can be hard. But they don’t have to be miserable. In fact, they can be downright amazing.


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