Holidays

Getting Through Valentine’s Day When Single Again

Valentine’s Day can be like rubbing salt into a raw wound when going through divorce. People are coupled up and you may be the odd man out on this holiday. Others who are exiting a toxic marriage, may feel relief not spending it with a nasty person. There are different facets to Valentine’s Day besides romance. One is platonic friendships, and many of us exchange cards with our pals. Instead of mourning the void that comes with a loss of a partner, focus on celebrating Valentine’s Day in a new way with different people.

Flip the holiday around. Change the evening celebration to one at the beginning of the day, as there are less people in pairs. Get together with friends for a morning cappuccino with a pastry or for lunch. If your social circle is comprised mainly of married folks, catching up at a bakery is doable since it would not interfere with their dinner plans. When celebrating Valentine’s Day mid-morning, there is less pressure to feel one needs a date for this occasion.

Extroverts may want to be around others, yet not be ready to start dating. This can be accomplished by sitting at the communal table in coffee shops and cafes. One man claims he turns down holiday invitations because he has so much fun at these communal tables which are like “one big party.” MeetUp.com has groups for various interests and some of these gatherings are scheduled on holidays. Singles can participate in activities or dine with interesting companions. My divorced friend enjoys spending Valentine’s evening with the singles group at her church. They have events on some holidays and sponsor Friday Movie Night. Check around to see if you can join others on this night.

Do your celebrating on the job. Organize a pot luck, or bring in a fabulous treat to make the day more festive. I work part-time at an elementary school and it is party time on Valentine’s Day. The children’s excitement is contagious. Volunteering at their Valentine’s dances is a fun evening without a date. Some people request to work on holidays and enjoy spending it with co-workers instead of being alone.

Children can be a great distraction from thoughts of no longer having a spouse on this holiday. After my divorce, my sons and I would go to an Indian restaurant for dinner. One divorced friend gave a Valentine’s Day party for her young son and his classmates. She said it was the best time that she ever had on that holiday. The kids were hilarious, food was great and she was kept extremely busy. Consider planning some distractions on Valentine’s Day.

Escape Valentine’s Day by having an adventure abroad. When my marriage was falling apart, my mother and I took a tour to Ireland in February. We had a wee bit of snow, but I was thankful to avoid that holiday by being away. Maybe lounging by the pool in the tropics is more your style. Talk to your travel agent or go online to find some great travel deals.

A variation on this travel theme is to volunteer in another part of the world. Organizations, such as Earth Watch, can arrange for one to assist researchers etc., in an exotic locale. There are also plenty of opportunities right at home to help others and boost your self-worth. I volunteer weekly for an animal rescue group and this year it falls on Valentine’s Day. I will be feeling great after cuddling homeless kitties and being the recipient of their unconditional love. Consider helping out on that day with a charity that grabs your interest.

Determine if you would rather hide away or go out on the town. Either way is fine. For the first option, some individuals have gotten a boxed set of DVDs or enticing novels and stayed home. If cooking for one is depressing, then plan ahead and buy some delicious take away or a decadent dessert. Pamper yourself, such as having a spa night with a facial or doing a fitness routine. Find an enjoyable activity.

A millennial who is now single, told me of course he is going out on Valentine’s Day. Although he is no longer part of a couple, he states there is no way he would sit home. This fellow does not have any definite plans, but is confident he will find something going on in Boston. Other millennials were vague and said they would wait and see what their friends were up to on Valentine’s evening. The millennials were going to decide what to do at the last minute and the Baby Boomers were planning things way ahead of time, even if it is to stay home.

If you are feeling lonely around this holiday during divorce, consider adopting or fostering an animal. Having four feline housemates, helps make Valentine’s Day more lively, now that I have an Empty Nest. Whether or not you decide to celebrated Valentine’s Day – it is only one day out of the year.

Originally published on Divorce Force which is a resource or information, plus has a forum

 

 

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Dealing with Holidays When Going Through Divorce

The holiday season is right around the corner and this can be a challenging period during divorce. It is hard to celebrate when one’s world is crumbling. Experiencing intense anger, fear or hurt, stops one from bubbling over with Christmas cheer.   Keeping busy is a way to avoid dwelling on one’s situation. There are plenty of fun distractions during the holiday season to help take one’s mind off divorce and to reduce stress.

Perhaps this is the year that you sit out the frenetic round of parties. People understand when an individual is facing trauma and not up to participating in festivities. Pick what is most meaningful for you and let go of the rest.   When invited to events, feel free to say that you are unavailable and cannot attend. Explanations are not required. One may want to curl up on the couch and catch up with reading or watching classic television specials. It is fine to have downtime and get ready for what lies ahead in divorce proceedings. Do what is best for you.

It can feel lonely not being paired up anymore. One may be tempted to forego going out altogether. Some newly single people felt more comfortable being in places where it was not apparent they were by themselves. There are various ways to feel connected to others when attending events alone. One is enjoying concerts (often free) in different settings, such as churches. Another is being part of a crowd awaiting the lighting of a town square or tree. When in London, it was thrilling seeing a dark Oxford Street spring to life with thousands of Christmas lights and live music. Sharing this exciting experience with so many others kept me from feeling lonely.

See what your single friends are doing and accompany them to holiday gatherings. My divorced friend and I are willing to go to each other’s events. My married pals will meet up during the day and are happy to indulge in decant Christmas desserts and lattes.  When married, one may not have paid much attention to socializing with colleagues. Let them know that you would like to join their get-togethers.

During divorce and beyond, many people I talked with, said that they spend holidays with family who may live nearby or across the country. They feast a large part of the day and partake in other activities. These now singles, said how their families fill a gap on holidays left by a departing spouse. After my divorce, my two sons and I went away for several Christmases. I am an only child and my parents are deceased. Getting away helped my family of three start new traditions post-divorce and end the ones which no longer fit. Consider doing the same action, especially if you have children. Ask your children which traditions are the most meaningful or fun and then continue them. Ditch the other ones.

Go to Divorce Magazine for this article and many other ones  https://www.divorcemag.com/home/

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/