Getting over a breakup can be really difficult at the best of times, but if you're getting over a breakup during the holidays, it's even harder. The holidays can be a difficult time anyway — anxiety and depression increase around this time of year and you may find yourself more stressed than usual. And with all of the pressure of the season, ending a relationship isn't uncommon — it's actually the most popular time of year for breakups.
Maybe you even feel one coming on. "If you find that the two of you can’t stop fighting and the fighting is escalating, chances are, you’re heading towards a holiday breakup," April Masini, New York based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. "There’s a lot more pressure at the holidays to be romantic, and when you don’t feel it, many couples throw in the towel instead of powering through."
So if you find yourself in the middle of a holiday breakup, what can you do? Well, the most important thing is to take care of yourself, because it might feel surreal going through a breakup while everyone else is full of festive cheer. But actually, if you can find a way to get some distance, the holidays can be the perfect distraction for getting over a breakup. Just make sure you know your limits. Here's what relationship experts had to say.
It's important to be sad and mourn the relationship, of course, but don't give yourself too much time to sit around feeling awful. "Keeping busy is important for people during the holidays especially when a breakup occurs," Dr. Dawn Michael, M.A. PhD ACS CSC, tells Bustle. "This is the time to join a solo activity like yoga, or any group that is for single people staying connected with others. If there is a meet up in your area with activates you like to do then join in." Usually there's a lot going on around this time of year, so get out there when you're ready.
Because holidays are about being with people you care about, take the time to reconnect with loved ones you haven't spoke to as much recently. "If you have family or friends that you have not seen in a while or have been putting off visiting someone, make an effort to reach out," Michael says.
3Avoid Painful Memories
You want to be around things that will make you feel good. If you live in the same area as your ex, proceed with caution. "Also avoid places you and your ex used to go to if you can, until the holidays pass," Michael says. Instead, make some new memories at new places this holiday season and stay away from traditions that will make you unhappy.
4Make Time For Self-Care
With any relationship breakdown, self-care is important — but even more so in the stressful holiday season. “Good self-care is especially important when managing high stress situations," Dr. Grant Brenner, M.D., a New York City-based psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and co-author of Irrelationship, tells Bustle. “... because it supports resilience to and recovery from the stress.” If that means taking some time for yourself, treating yourself, going for a walk, whatever you need — make it happen.
5Try To Live In The Moment
There's so much going on around you during the holiday, try to focus on that. "Keep your thoughts in the present as much as possible and try not to think about past events until the holidays passes," Michael says. If you can keep your mind busy, it'll be easier to move past the breakup and you can keep it from feeling like it's ruined your holiday season.
6Keep Some Perspective
The holidays are a good way to remind yourself that the world keeps moving, which is helpful during a breakup. "Put it in perspective," Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle. "If you're disappointed, it hurts, but your life is not over." See people, hear about their lives, reconnect — remember that the world goes on.
7Get Help If You Need It
Especially if you struggle around the holidays with your mental health, always know that there's help out there if you need it. "Don't be shy or ashamed to have your own therapist on hand," Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert, tells Bustle. It's a tough time — and you have every right to take care of yourself.
Holiday breakups aren't easy, but you'll get through it. Although the holidays can be a trigger, they can also be a great distraction. Keep busy with the people you love — and get help if you need it.