How to recover from a Christmas breakup
Breaking up at any time of the year is difficult but when it happens over Christmas it’s often harder to recover and move on with your life.
No one wants their Christmas present to be the end of the relationship but the reality is that Christmas, with its associated stress, increases alcohol consumption, family pressures and expectations is often the time when unstable relationships finally fall.
If you’ve suffered a Christmas break up here are some tips to help you recover so that by the time next Christmas rolls around you’ll be in a much better space.
Is it really over?
Before you can even begin the process of recovery you need to fully accept that the relationship is over and that there’s nothing to salvage. Maybe you had a big row and your heart is bruised but not broken. Now the trimmings are down and you’re back in the normal routine of life hurt feelings will begin to fade and you can take an honest look at the relationship. Do you love this person? Is pride stopping you from going back? Or are you relieved it’s over and looking forward to moving on and putting it all behind you?
An essential part of the healing process is letting go. This means letting go of blame, dreams of how it might have been different, accusations and recriminations. It means letting go of the hope you had for this relationship – this is often the hardest part, you thought your future was going to be a certain way and now it’s not. Like any grief caused by loss it will take time to heal.
You can only let go once you fully accept that it’s over. Prior to that you may find yourself being drawn back into the relationship trying to make it right; talking it through endlessly with your friends and thinking about it all the time to the point where you drive yourself crazy.
There may be some painful conversations with your ex as you both try to understand what went wrong but if you really want to recover there will come a point where you’ll have to walk away and put some space between you. Maybe you will be friends in the future, maybe not, but space is needed for the relationship to end.
A New Year, a new you
The beginning of a new year is a great time to make a new start. Everyone is motivated to make those changes like quitting smoking or losing a few pounds. When you’re raw and vulnerable from a breakup it’s important to start to build your self-esteem back up.
Avoid setting yourself impossible targets but do make any small changes which will help you feel good about yourself like reconnecting with friends or taking up long-forgotten hobbies or starting new ones. Exercise is a brilliant antidote to low mood because it produces feel-good endorphins. You don’t have to pound it out at the gym every day, just a 20 minute walk in your lunch hour will help clear your head and a dance around your kitchen will lighten your mood.
Look to the future
It’s all too easy to wallow in the pain of the past analysing everything that led to the break up but there will come a point where you have to decide to move on and look to the future. How long this takes will vary enormously depending on how long you were in the relationship. You‘ll know when you’re ready to put your toe back in the water and you should listen to your own heart rather than be pressured by anyone else to start dating again.
Although it may not feel like it at the moment, you can and will recover from this breakup; no matter how painful it feels right now. Get support from friends and family, be gentle and kind to yourself and remember that by the time next Christmas comes around all this will be a distant memory.
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