Breathing this Holiday
This morning, I felt like myself for the first time in a long time.
This past month has gone by in a whirlwind. It feels like I’ve been busy and stressed almost every moment since Thanksgiving. And then this morning, I woke up to a day of no pressure. I’m very lucky to be off work until January 2. I have some work to do from home, but for all intents and purposes, I’m off. Never mind that when I do go back to work, I’ll only be in the office for one week before I head to Hawaii.
Oh, did you forget? That’s right, my friends. I’m going to Hawaii in January. I can hardly believe it!
Today was the first day I looked at my Christmas tree. I mean, really looked. This is the first day that the holiday season hasn’t depressed me. The endless holiday parties and Christmas shopping are behind me. My stressful projects at work are wrapped up for the time being. I have a moment to … well … just breathe.
It’s nice to breathe and enjoy your surroundings every once in a while.
I’ve received a few emails recently asking for my advice for surviving the holidays after a breakup. Last year, I really struggled during the holiday season. It took me forever to conquer my Christmas tree. This year has been better, but, there are still moments when I get down.
It doesn’t all just go away, you know? When you find someone else, new memories do not replace the old ones that are etched in your brain. You can’t erase six Christmases with one man – the man you thought you were going to have a lifetime of Christmases with – simply because you broke up.
If only it were that easy.
One of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone struggling with a breakup this time of year is to create some new traditions. It’s almost impossible not to think of your ex when you are doing things that you two previously did together. What you can do, however, is create and enjoy new traditions that your ex had nothing to do with.
Last year, my family started a new tradition of doing one family activity around Christmas. First, we went to Busch Gardens’ Christmastown. This year, we enjoyed the Tacky Lights Tour, a bus tour to visit the tacky light displays around Richmond.
Another thing that got me into the holiday spirit was this blog post and forum. Basically, this woman turned her blog into a clearinghouse for people who needed help this holiday season, and those who had help to offer. Reading through the comments and seeing the generosity of people around the country was the reminder I needed that people are inherently good.
It’s also a good reminder that the holidays are about a lot more than Santa, crowded shopping malls and the pressure to get that damn Christmas tree up.
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about the pursuit of happiness. And I don’t mean the amazing Will Smith movie that makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. I mean the process of finding happiness within yourself, and taking ownership of your own happiness. I gave my friend this advice the other day, and as I said the words, they resonated within myself stronger than ever before:
Bad things will happen to you. That is life. It’s how you react to them that defines you. You can let these moments make you miserable, or you can persevere. You can choose happiness. You can choose to wake up every day and do something for yourself that brings you joy. If you don’t know how to bring yourself joy, how can you ever expect someone else to do it for you? If you are miserable, and not doing anything to bring yourself out of it, you have no one to blame but yourself. Your misery is no badge of honor. Your misery is simply time wasted. Opportunities lost. And seriously, life is simply too short.
I have more to say on the happiness topic, but I’m not yet ready. In the meantime, here’s some of my reading that will inform a future blog post, in case you are interested:
I’m officially ready to embrace the holidays … one breath at a time. How about you? Any tips for someone going through a breakup this holiday? I’m sending warm wishes to you and your family this holiday season!
Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.