While dealing with a breakup — whether you were the dumper, dumpee, or even if the split was mutual and decided on simply because you grew apart — is never easy, it tends to be particularly hard over the holidays.
Not only are the holidays a time for appreciating and relishing the company of loved ones, but they’re also a time when, for many people, their support networks are either away or busy, leaving you left to get through the split all on your own.
So, how do you get through this difficult time? According to Tara Hurster, psychologist and director of the TARA Clinic, the most important thing to have in mind is compassion, both for yourself and for others. “So, have a think of some activities and experiences you can do for yourself or with other people that give you compassion,” she says.
Ahead, Hurster shares four other ways you can best deal with a breakup this festive season.
Surround Yourself With Good People
“Being connected with good people helps to distract you when you are experiencing the waves of emotion that come with a breakup. They can help to guide you through the big feelings that arise and navigate the grieving process.
“Though I caution you on focussing on alcohol or other substances in the first 3-6 months after a breakup because this can keep you stuck in the heartbreak. It’s always more helpful to feel the feelings and allow them to teach you what you felt worked and what you would like different next time — so that the past isn’t repeated into your next relationship.”
Don’t Replay Everything in Your Relationship
“I came across Ted Talk How to Fix a Broken Heart by Guy Winch which I feel explains this point really well a few years back. Our brain wants to focus on the positives of things, even if there were only a few of them. This is mostly because if we give ourselves permission to focus on the things that weren’t right within the relationship (be that some traits in the other person or the way you were within the relationship), then it means you are acknowledging that you didn’t take action when it was needed.
“Often when people realise this, they judge themselves, which is also unhelpful. So, pop on your reality pants and allow yourself to see the factual story of the relationship, as a whole.
“Remember that though it is important to share your feelings with people, including a professional, however ruminating (getting stuck on the hamster wheel) doesn’t help anyone.”
Don’t Believe You Need to Start Dating Again Immediately
“We often hear the phrase ‘the way to get over someone is to get under someone else’, however, this is probably one of the worst ways of handling a breakup — for the same reason that drinking or using drugs to cope or distract yourself fully. It keeps you stuck within the grief (possibly the denial stage of grief) and results in repeating the same mistakes over and over. So, give yourself the gift of time this Christmas and allow yourself to healthily process.”
Delete Them on Social Media (If You Want)
“Ultimately, it is always your decision, though my recommendation is yes. Often a photo or a post will pop up right when you are enjoying yourself or finally laughing again and then they are on your feed. By removing them from your social media you no longer need to worry about it.”