Christmas is a magical time. It’s when loved ones come together to enjoy the merriment and people are actually happy, although this year has been a little different for me.
A few weeks before the holiday season began, my relationship came to an end. It's been a heartbreaking yet curious experience. While people are putting up Christmas trees and glugging down mulled wine, I've been starting a new chapter, and trying to not act like a Scrooge.
At first, I was anxious and apprehensive. Who’s going to help me pick out those awkward Christmas jumpers? What am I going to tell people at every Christmas event? Who am going to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve? I turned my questions to other people. Are others going through the same ordeal I am? If they are, how can I help them?
I found solace in researching the science behind breakups. It turns out that it's totally normal for relationships to end at this time of year. Yes, those Sam Smith songs on the radio are no coincidence, my friend. In fact, this is this the season for heartbreak. Facebook status data suggests that this is the season you are most likely to see a major peak in breakups.
Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the optimum time to draw strength from the people around you, or with the new year around the corner, maybe it’s a chance for a fresh start.
Whatever the reason, if you’re in this group you're not alone. You are in good company. You are going to make it through the next few months, Christmas, and the new year!
It’s important to acknowledge that this holiday season will be different, but it’s an opportunity for you to form new traditions and memories. If you find yourself stuck, here are five ideas that may give you some comfort.
1. Focus On Giving
You may find that you have more time on your hands over the next few months. Your attention is the best gift you can give someone during the holiday season. Whether it’s volunteering at the local homeless shelter or helping an elderly person pack their shopping bag, many people could use a friendly shoulder to lean on at this time of year. Be that person and watch what starts to happen to your holiday spirit. I’ve found comfort in helping those in need by offering my time at a local shelter that serves hot meals to people who are less fortunate. It’s a small gesture but has the potential to make a big impact on someone’s life.
2. Be Festive
Smile. Bake pies to take to work. Write holiday cards. Wear silly jumpers. Get into the season. Don’t wait around for the season to get into you. Heck, I took 200 homemade samosas to work and the response was so uplifting.
3. Treat Yourself
Whether you’ve been wearing the same broken shoe for months and need to replace it, or if you want to enroll in that cooking class that starts in the new year, do it and do it now. You are worth every penny. There’s no time like the holiday season for you to do so.
4. Reconnect With Family & Friends
Your family isn't perfect but their love and support are unconditional. Nothing else matters besides love. Go through old photo albums and relive funny memories with them. Enjoy the time you have with them because who knows when you'll get busy again. I’ve been going to a lot of musicals with my family. It seems as though it’s the new tradition this holiday season - I hope it sticks!
5. Plan Ahead
However tempting it may be, don’t isolate yourself. Make plans for the days ahead. It’s crucial that you do this proactively. Take some time to think about what you want to do and who you want to do it with. Make a list. It’s such a gratifying process.
Remember, you have the unique opportunity to shift your focus to the people you care about, and most importantly, who care about you. Your happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.