By Clara Autumn
As I write to you now, I am sat in my front room surrounded by twinkling lights and all that comes with the usual charm of the season. However this year is different, this year I will be alone. The festive period is undoubtedly a horrific time to have negative life changes. People have a natural expectation that your woes will be neatly swept under the carpet in the name of ‘Christmas’. But what do you do when you are feeling considerably less festive cheer than what you see in everyone else? Because your life changed for the worst this Christmas, the same as mine.
Let others know what’s going on
Isolating yourself away from what you really feel isn’t going to help you address the pain you are feeling. And if others know what’s going on for you then hopefully you will feel less alone.
Ackowledge that this year is different
This may be your first Christmas alone without someone you care for. Your mind will naturally drift back to previous years where things were happier. However it is possible to make this year something different without self-destruction. Perhaps starting a new tradition that is just about you. And no, I’m not on about a festive meds increase (but hell, if it helps). Loss will come and go, but you are your constant. You may have to live this Christmas without them, however even loss can’t take away better times that you can see comfort in.
Maybe give the festive cheer a miss
I enjoy a drink as well as the rest of us, and Christmas Eve is usually my time to have a drink while wrapping the small person presents. However, getting arseholed this Christmas may push you over the edge to something you cannot handle as admirably as you are now. This will be the first Christmas in many years that I will not be drinking. However I’m happy to let that keep for a time where I feel less broken.
Make plans not to be alone on the day
If you would usually spend the day with someone who is no longer in your life, Christmas can be like the biggest slap in the face. Memories will undoubtedly be a big feature in the run up and on the day. If it is possible, invite a friend over who doesn’t have family, or volunteer in a local homeless project. If you aren’t alone then you have less chance of ruminating on better times, if that’s something you’re not yet strong enough to do.
Buy yourself a present
Granted this may sound a little self indulgent. However it serves a purpose. Self care is one of the biggest roads on the journey to recovering yourself from loss. You luckily don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to, get online and think about what you’ve been meaning to treat yourself with. Big or small, it is always good to treat yourself well.
Festive cheer on fucking Facebook
Firstly, I am a big advocate for being real with your social network. I am fortunate enough to only have those I call friends online. But there are still inevitably a few festive irritations we will encounter this year. On this day, if anyone is an arsehole, please do yourself a favour and disable it quicker than anything. Block, unfriend, delete. If like me you are going through a shitty break up then having the temptation to make contact will be highest Christmas day. And this, friends, is why I said no booze: loss of dignity and crying into dinner isn’t something you need to put yourself through.
Lastly, festive ‘I love you all so much’ posts. We all know the score, everyone will want to profess their love Christmas day. And you, like me, will not give less of a fuck. If you do go posting this Christmas make it real. Things are monumentally shit, however it isn’t forever.
I’m sorry you feel this way this Christmas. Not for sentiment or false season’s goodwill, but for you. One week ago today I was ready to drive my car off a cliff following a heartbreak like I’d never felt. So trust me reader, my advice comes from nothing but truth. We will get through this together, we always do.