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Being Single And Getting Through The Holiday
by Michele Germain, LCSW
You have forged ahead in your single life and made it through some of the rocky and difficult spots. Suddenly before you is a shaky ledge, called a holiday. You view the ledge deciding how to proceed so you will not fall.
Single mothers and fathers both can feel loneliness and incompleteness during the holidays. These feelings are normal and part of the grieving process. How then do you bring joy into the holidays when you may want to pretend these holidays do not exist?
How Do you use your Body, Mind and Soul to stay in a place of inner peace?
- Stay present and honor your feelings. Understand that these are difficult times, it is normal to feel what you feel. If you are out of touch with yourself, you will be out of touch with your children. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN to how you feel.
If you find yourself yelling at the dog, crying at a funny movie, making your TV your best friend, spending all your time working, you have more grief work to do.
Give yourself a day alone to feel sad and angry at what you have lost. Take time to honor all that your are, tell yourself you are doing the best you can. Praise yourself for all your efforts.
- Persist in creating new rituals & traditions Continue to rebuild your new life with your children. The creation of new activities and unique family rituals will keep you moving along your path. Have your children cook the holiday meal, create something artistic, decorate the house, or plan an outing with a friend. It is equally important to encourage your children to honor their other parent by helping them find a way to express their love. By helping them accept the uniqueness of their new life, you will be establishing new family sharing and traditions that express what you new life is about. If you persist in a loving way, your children will follow.
- Plan ahead and let go of wishing for what use to be - Plan, but do not force things to be a certain way. Your holidays NEED NOT LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE”S. Life becomes easier when you let go of how things use to be and keep an open mind about your plans.
- Avoid holiday overspending Spending can be a way to manage our pain and loneliness. Do not use that to get through the holidays. Plan on how much money you have to spend. Give yourself a budget. Shop at craft shows, make gifts along with your children. Give offerings of your time such as you will drive, cook a meal or clean a friend's home. Encourage your children to participate in this way of gift giving.
- Reach out and give to others - Avoid isolating and staying home alone. When we give to others we actually heal our loneliness. Selfless service is a wonderful quality to teach to your children. Volunteer at a seniors home, a food kitchen, collect toys for needy children. Do this activity with your children and they will develop an open giving heart.
- Stay in a place of gratefulness - When we are feeling our gratefulness we are in our heart and out of our pain and loneliness. Make a family sheet where everyone can add daily or weekly for what they are grateful for. Be sincere, even if it feels like a small thing. We take for granted so many things that when we stop and observe what good is in our life and how it shows itself, our pain can heal. We can feel grateful for someone who gave us a compliment, the mailman who smiled at us, the store clerk who helped us out, the neighbor for offering some help.
Michele Germain, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified bioenergetic analyst with over twenty-five years of experience. As a specialist in divorce recovery for the last decade, she has written articles and conducted workshops on the topic, and has been interviewed on television and radio programs. More information on her work can be found at www.michelegermain.com.