Friday, December 14, 2012

Heartbreak at the holidays - Five ways to cope

Trust me - I know.

Heartbreak over the holidays is worse than a Lake Superior swim in October.

One big difference - a cold dunk in Gitchie Goomie numbs the senses.

Being dumped in December is a "feeling" frenzy. Hallmark commercials break your heart.  The question - "What are your plans for New Year's eve?" makes you tear-up.

And "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is enough to make you reach for the cyanide.

Even so, you can do this thing.

Here are the top five tactics for making it through the holiday with a broken heart.

1. Face up.  Grow up.  Man up.
Pain can make us misbehave.  Drink too much, drive too fast, fall asleep at work.

You might be tempted to inhale four dozen krum kakke in one sitting.  You might find yourself attracted to that awful woman in the cubicle next to you - the one who keeps asking you to go to a Scientology lecture.

Or, you might develop an addiction to Drambuie over vanilla ice cream.

None of those things will crack the case.  Truth be told, it takes a lot of courage to be sad.  But sadness helps us find out who we are; whom we love; who loves us.

 Listen to your misery.  Let it lead you to your truth.

2. Don't mess with your mind.
 This is not the time to "take stock" of your life - your past - your future.  Instead, this is a time to turn off all "evaluation" of your sweet, lovely life.  Don't let this awful moment be the focus of your holiday.  Remember - there are worse things than losing your honey.

 When you feel the blues coming at you with a sledge hammer, take a walk or call someone in trouble too - think of others rather than yourself.

Don't fall into the trap of believing you'll never love again, never be happy again, never find your mate.  Instead, accept your feelings of hopelessness, despair, fear - and take away the power they might otherwise have.  Draw no conclusions. Wait.  Everything looks better after January first.

3. Boogie on down to Broadway.
I don't know about you - but music lightens my life.  Crank up the tunes, and dance in the kitchen.  Sing at the top of your lungs. Rock on with your bad self, and let the endorphins have sway over this grim moment in time.  Music, dance and song lift your spirits - and fight back the nasty stress of loneliness.

4. Remember how normal all of this is. 
 True - sometimes a severe heartbreak can lead a person into full-blown depression.  That's not going to happen to you this holiday.

When a person is depressed, nothing matters - no one can help, nothing can save him or her.   But you?  Everything matters to you.  Your pain is your body's way of telling you you're a healthy, loving person.

Don't worry.  You're okay, and you'll get over all this.

5. Let yourself "love" the one you still love.
You might think it impossible - but the process of extending your heart to someone whom you have no intention of loving ever again builds your own stability.

Because the relationship is over does not mean life has ended.  Your loved one is still alive - you're still here.  You can love that person and let him (or her) go.

 You don't need to forgive or forget - - you don't need to stay in touch.

But there's nothing wrong with spending a few holiday minutes alone - remembering the one you lost - and wishing the two of you a happy New Year.  No matter how badly he or she treated you, you both deserve compassion.

And no matter how hard it is to move forward - take time to live in the "now," and to honor all these experiences.

Finally - breathe!

And remember the words of the old holiday tune; "Next year, all our troubles will be miles away."

Or - as my mother always used to say - "This too, shall pass."

Happy holidays! 

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