Winning the Breakup Over the Holidays

Does It Feel Like Christmas is the Worst Time to Go Through a Breakup?

 You broke up a while ago, and it’s been rough. You get through the weekdays okay, but the weekends seem to last forever. You go to yoga, do your laundry, go out with friends, but it’s still a struggle. Now the holidays are upon us, and everywhere you go the atmosphere is cheery and romantic. You wonder— how are you going to get through the holidays at home without a partner to be the buffer between you and your family? And what about New Year’s Eve???

There’s no doubt that the holidays are a rough period for many people. People who are not partnered can feel especially lonely, but those who find themselves in less than ideal relationships can feel bereft as well.

In fact, the pervasive holiday message of the perfect Norman Rockwell family celebrating Christmas with Dad handily carving the turkey and the kids playing joyfully under the tree with their new toys is a reality that very few enjoy. Even if we remember our own childhood holidays with fondness, as adults we realize that there’s no going back to the blissful ignorance of our youth.

So what can you do to keep from feeling sad and lonely this December?

 stay off of social media

1. Stay off of social media.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, because this is the NUMBER ONE thing you can do to feel less lonely. You know you never actually feel better after looking at all those happy Insta posts, even though you know they are not real.

Trevor and Jill look so happy cooking that pumpkin pie they brought to Friendsgiving—what you don’t see is the fight they had when Trevor’s best friend couldn’t eat it because he is gluten-free. “Whose stupid idea was that anyway? Why didn’t you tell me so I didn’t look like an idiot in front of all your friends?” “I’ve tried telling you but you don’t listen to anything I say.” That shit you will never see on Instagram. Instagram is fake news. Beware.

For a little extra help with self-discipline in this area, there are some apps you can install on your phone or computer to block your social media during certain times of the day (that you choose).

If you absolutely can’t restrain yourself from going on social media altogether, at least block your ex from your phone and your social media accounts.

2. Volunteer

 Volunteering in Los Angeles

Science shows that doing good things for others makes you feel happier. What a win-win! The good news is that there are even more opportunities over the holidays to volunteer than there are during the rest of the year.

Can’t deal with talking to other people right now—no problem! Volunteer at an animal shelter. You can give and receive some endless unconditional love without ever saying a word!

3. Plan ahead for your visit home.

If you have taken your ex home with you for the holidays in the past, you may have really enjoyed the buffer effect that they had on your relationship with various, shall we say, “complicated” people in your family. Now you’re on your own, and the prospect is daunting.

It’s important to plan your strategy as soon as possible, so that you don’t spend the time between now and the holidays just worrying about how miserable you will be.

The key word here is boundaries. Some people just don’t have any. That’s okay, as long as you are completely clear on your own boundaries. If you don’t want to talk about a certain subject—e.g., your breakup, your ex, your dating life, your career plans, your future, etc., then you don’t have to.

Don’t get resentful that Dad keeps asking you if you’ve got your resume up-to-date, just deflect or decline.

Here’s what that looks like:

Dad: “Hey, have you finished putting together your resume for that new job yet? I’ll call my friend Joe and see if he has time to give you some help with that—he reads those kinds of resumes all the time.”

You: “Yeah, you’re right—he knows a lot about that. I’ll let you know when I am ready to get in touch with him.”

Here is my favorite stop-them-in-their-tracks response: “You might be right.”

This is what it looks like:

 Blue hair in Los Angeles

Mom: “Alex, you will never get a job with that hair.”

 You: “You might be right.”

 That’s it.

Are you giving in? Nope. You are simply admitting the possibility that she might be right. Nothing more. What you aren’t doing is agreeing, arguing, or defending. Sometimes this will be enough to stop her in her tracks. Sometimes you may need to repeat it. Please understand, you just say “you might be right”— then you go ahead and keep the cool hair. You do you.

The beauty of this response is that it highlights the fact that even if the other person is right, you still get to do whatever the hell you want.

The ideas listed above are simple, but not easy. In order for these strategies to work, you have to consciously make some hard choices for the sake of your own mental health.

Choose you.

One Final Piece of Advice: Be Easy on Yourself!

If you can’t help checking your ex’s Instagram, or texting them when you’re feeling down, or even indulging in some breakup sex, don’t beat yourself up about it! Treat yourself as kindly as you would a good friend—don’t we all deserve that? So, you’re human. It’s okay to acknowledge that, and then get back to following the plan you decided upon in the first place. As they say in 12-step programs, “Progress, Not Perfection!”

 Progress, not perfection in Los Angeles

Remember, if you do something you had promised yourself not to do, it doesn’t mean you are back to square one. The progress you have made is the progress you have made, and one (or two, or three…) missteps do not need to define you. Stay in the present, and look to build your future the way you want it to be.

Need some extra help getting past your breakup?

This is my specialty!!

If you want to know how to Win the Breakup, give me a call at 323-999-1537 and we will have a chat about your specific situation and how I can help. If it’s 3:00am, it’s probably better to send me an email: amy@thrivetherapyla.com. I answer all my emails and phone messages within 24 hours, but usually much sooner. I want to help you feel better as soon as possible!