How to survive a breakup during the holidays

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John Drake, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:39 PM ET

 

There is never a convenient occasion to be dumped, but there may be no worse timing than right before the holidays. Combine the lack of sunlight, relentless family obligations and exorbitant obligatory spending with the thought of attending a New Year’s Eve party alone and even someone without a predisposition to depression will feel lower than a rattlesnake’s belly in a wagon rut.

 If you happen to be lucky enough to spend the holidays surrounded by loved ones engaging in jovial activities indistinguishable from a Norman Rockwell painting it might be your favourite time of the year, but for many it is the most popular time of year for overeating, binge drinking and even suicide.

 Hitting the bottle or the bottom of a Ben & Jerry’s carton may offer limited relief but you will only end up feeling worse. Rigorous exercise releases endorphins that elevate your mood. Hitting the pavement for a run or the gym for a good workout may be the last thing you feel like doing but you will feel far better for it when you are done.

 Don’t be afraid to express your feelings; anger, frustration and fear are all natural. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the relationship, but also accept it and move on. If they don’t love or appreciate you, then they don’t deserve you and you are better off without them. Know when you are ready to move on and don’t force it. Carrying the burden of this baggage into your next relationship is a surefire way to have it go up in flames.

 Your priorities within a relationship have likely been about fulfilling someone else’s needs and happiness, but now it is time to focus on yours. Invest in yourself and take the time to do things that make you happy. I’ve never been one for retail therapy but if there is the chance you may run into your ex over the holidays, isn’t it better to do so with a new outfit and haircut?

 While the prospect of a rebound may temporarily distract you, be open and honest with the person you engage in such activities with so that your intentions are clear and your actions not misinterpreted.

 Marriage and family therapist and author Sheri Meyers, Psy.D. recommends an approach to getting over a breakup that addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual reactions you will be experiencing. “When you're feeling down after a breakup, you may feel like you want to avoid the very activities that will actually make you feel better - exercise, visiting friends, being kind to those in need,” says Meyers. “As much as you might want to, avoid isolating yourself from others.”

 The promise of a new year and the opportunity to attend social events mean that the holidays may actually be the best time of year to turn over a new leaf and start working on a brand new you. The decision to break up may not have been your choice, but how you decide to deal with it is entirely up to you.

 

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