It’s Christmas time. A time of joy and celebration. A time to be with family, or so the advertisements say. Is that your experience of Christmas?
For many people at the end of a relationship, Christmas is a painful reminder of what has been lost and a time of loneliness. You have to face going to all the Christmas events alone and unless you’re extroverted, this can be a daunting prospect.
Even now I need to be deliberate in choosing to enjoy this season. It reminds me that my marriage ended and can make me feel alone. I was going to write it reminds me I am alone, but that is a negative thought pattern leading me to dark places, and it is not true. I am not alone. I have friends and family who invite me to participate. I just need to accept and sometimes reach out to them. I may have times of being alone but I reframe how I experience it and embrace the solitude.
There are the inevitable parties and events. As an introvert I hate going to these alone and struggle to walk up to groups of people even if I know them. In the early days I remember standing outside in the car park struggling to find the strength to step through the doorway into the light and sounds of people partying inside. Sometimes my courage failed and I went home.
So over time I’ve developed some strategies to not only deal with the Christmas/ New Year party season – but to enjoy it:
- Be aware of the emotional impact
- Deal with loneliness
- Tips for going to parties/events alone
Be aware of the emotional impact
Christmas and New Year with parties and family gatherings and the romantic undertone of kissing under the mistletoe and at midnight on New Years Eve-, can be like a lance to a boil. Buried emotions and difficult thoughts erupt pierced by the reminders of what you have lost.
Deal with the loneliness
Strategies to deal with the loneliness include:
- Connecting with communities e.g. volunteer to help out at Christmas events for charities
- Plan catch up times with good friends who understand that this may be a tricky time for you
- Use the alone time to your advantage by doing something you enjoy such as reading, massage, spiritual contemplation. This builds you up and refreshes you and helps you reframe it from a painful situation to something you may even look forward to.
Tips on going to parties alone
Some tips to going to parties and events alone include:
- Try and find someone to travel to the event and enter with.
- Have something in your hands –it makes you look like you are a part of what is going on. Don’t be like the old me clinging to the wall looking lost and helpless. So grab a drink or a plate of food. Getting the drink or navigating the food table can be a way to meet and chat to people as usually they are by themselves at this time.
- If you have trouble walking up to a group then find another person who is by themselves and ask them some questions to start a conversation. Most people like to talk about themselves! Prepare some questions beyond ‘what do you do?’ Some examples I use are; What was the best thing that happened to you this week? What is something you are looking forward to next year? These are positive questions that hopefully will elicit a positive response and not a list of what is wrong with the world. On the other hand be a positive person to speak to as this is more attractive.
- Have an exit strategy.
What are some of your ideas for enjoying this season? Please share them in the comments section so others can benefit
Putting legs on it
Which of the three strategies do you need to focus on? What is one thing you can do?
If this post seemed familiar it was a re-run from November last year.
Pineapple Party – Pineapple Supply Co unsplash.com
Christmas Lights – Marina Khrapova unsplash.com