The good and the bad memories flash through your mind like a slideshow; feelings of loss, anger or guilt poke at your soul like a flaming torch; you yearn for yet despise smells, sounds and touches that remind you of what once provided you comfort. The struggle to keep these feelings, memories and thoughts to yourself wells up inside of you, making it nearly impossible to maintain the “I’m okay” mask you promised yourself you would keep on the entire time you are with family and friends.
For those experiencing a separation, divorce, or breakup during the holiday season, it can be challenging to keep your mind and heart off it. Managing this tornado inside of you is possible without having to feel as if you are a burden to others, and without having to stay home alone. Here are a few tips that may help you get through this holiday season without having too many regrets:
Distract yourself. Focusing for extended periods of time on thoughts and memories can only make the negative feelings you are experiencing more intense. Distracting your mind will eventually decrease the heaviness of the painful feelings that you so badly want to disappear. During these moments of distraction are when you will truly feel free of the “I’m okay” mask. Even if only for a moment, the burden is lifted as you are lulled into a moment of feeling genuinely “okay”.
Surround yourself with friends and family. Avoiding others may be your go-to solution for this kind of problem. I can assure you that you that by isolating yourself, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Avoidance does nothing more than make you feel even worse than you already do. Those who avoid are at risk of falling into old patterns of behavior that you know has led you into trouble in the past. If you are inclined to avoid, call a friend and talk about what’s bothering you. If you can’t get yourself to do that, jump in the shower and go outside for a walk, go to the mall, bookstore or a coffee house. Getting yourself moving and out will jumpstart the flow of happy chemicals in your brain, acting as a natural antidepressant.
Remain as consistent as possible. In a time where you are feeling torn and tattered, it is important that every other aspect of your life remain as intact and consistent as possible. It is normal for you to feel all over the place during a breakup, separation or divorce, and the holidays can make this even more complicated. Consistency breeds foundation for normalcy, which is what you want to begin assimilating back into.
While the flames of pain may still burn and the memories may flash across your mind, you will notice the time it lasts will be shorter and shorter. As time passes, you will forget all about the “I’m okay” mask and your brain will rewire itself into a new normalcy.