A breakup almost always sucks, but this time of year it can be especially painful. The good news is the holidays can also serve as a wonderful distraction from your heartache—and you don’t have to worry about shelling out money for a gift (or acting delighted when he gives you socks again). Luckily, not only are there plenty of reasons to love being single at this time of year, there are lots of ways to ease your loneliness, process your feelings, and improve your mood, too.
1. Surround yourself with friends and family
Crowded, over-priced department stores aside, this is a joyous time. Don’t sit and sulk alone at home feeling sorry for yourself. If you’re going to drown your sorrows in eggnog, at least do it in the company of friends and family who can lift you up and remind you how loved you are. Sure, Mom’s incessant nagging is annoying, but it beats waking up alone, fully clothed on your bathroom floor, hugging a bottle of rum and hoping you remembered to take out your contacts before passing out, doesn’t it?
2. Engage in favorite traditions
Whether it’s watching “A Christmas Story” for the umpteenth time or making gingerbread houses with your cousins on Christmas Eve, be sure to take part in the traditions that have always been a part of your holidays. Even if you’re sick of the same old movies and don’t even like gingerbread (or your cousins, for that matter), there’s comfort in the familiar—a happy reminder that no matter how turbulent your personal life gets, there are some things in life that never change. Besides, that scene where Ralphie’s buddy gets his tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole is always good for a laugh.
3. Focus on what you’re thankful for
Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list. Sometimes just the act of writing it all down reminds us how much we have going for us. Forget a pros and cons list; this tally should be all positive. It’s amazing how much we have to be grateful for that we so often take for granted. Like a movie starring Brad Pitt opening on Christmas Day. “Hark, the herald angels sing,” indeed.
4. Give unto others
Taking time to focus on others may relieve some of your heartache and give you a renewed sense of community and human connection. Consider volunteering at a shelter or a soup kitchen, delivering meals to the elderly, or donating gifts to a toy drive. Even shopping for your loved ones takes the focus off your breakup and helps get you into the spirit of the season. And if you want to take the money you were going to spend on a gift for your ex and buy yourself something nice instead, we won’t tell.
5. Pamper yourself
Schedule a massage, treat yourself to a holiday mani-pedi, and hit the salon for a kick-ass, post-breakup hairstyle. Just make sure you don’t cut off too much of your locks—the last thing you want is a “bad hair holiday.”
6. Hit the holiday parties with gusto
This is the perfect time of year to bust out your hottest holiday outfits, do up your hair, break out your shimmery eye shadow, and go mingle and flirt with other sexy singles. Who knows? You might even meet your next boyfriend under the mistletoe. Just be sure to stay away from couples-only events (mainly because they’re boring).
7. Avoid your ex
Skip the parties where you know the ex will show up and avoid checking Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking place your ex has a presence. You might even consider deleting him from your network entirely. I mean, he’s deleted from your love life, right? And since you can’t very well survive the holidays without your phone, at least delete your ex’s number from it. The last thing you want is to drunk dial or text him on Christmas Eve with a message about how much you miss him. Maybe in the new year, you’ll be healed enough to add him back into your life—at least your virtual life, anyway.
Original by: Wendy Atterberry