5 Ways to Survive this Time of the Year

Prelude — Is it me or are there also a gazillion engagements this month? I can name a handful of couples I know that got engaged during this time of the year and I can understand why. I am sure the Kay and Zales commercials that start right after Thanksgiving have something to do with it. Oh and of course, Love.
 No, but seriously. For a lot of people, this is a happy time.
 A time focused on family, friendship and giving. A time for gathering, laughing and cherishing. A time focused on looking back and reflecting.
 But if you’re trying to move on after a divorce, the last thing you feel is joy. Because you’ve probably had a year from hell. A year that has felt lonely and you have felt misunderstood and overwhelmed.
 This time of the year only reminds you of what you’re still searching for.
 You look around and it seems like everyone is complete, or at least close to it. Like everyone else is happy and relishing as they socially share it. Yet you feel stuck and struggle to see the day where you’ll feel anything different. Anything that feels like the person you once were.
 And deep down, you feel Envy.
 Stop feeling guilty about it. Instead, acknowledge it. Embrace it. Recognize that you feel this emotion and specifically notice what you feel it towards. Envy voices what we want but also what we fear most. Use this emotion to learn, as you take baby steps towards your future.
 And the truth is: This time will be as tough as you let it be.
 So here are some options:
 1. You’re dreading seeing that Aunt or Uncle that you know is going to ask you “Are you okay??” — and look at you numbly with googly eyes. You know it’ll feel gut wrenching because you don’t want anyone to feel pity for you. You know you’re better off in life, but it just doesn’t feel that way — just yet. So don’t go to the family event that you go to every single year. It’s okay to say “no, thanks” this year. If there’s a party that you go to every year and this time around, you just don’t want to go — then don’t. Politely decline, because I promise you that you’ll feel better once you do.
 2. Dare yourself to experience something new. Maybe a quick getaway? What the hell, why not a vacation? Make this time of the year your b**** and check one more item off your bucket list. Whatever it is, it’ll mean a few days away and it will help you kick off the new year by maybe even creating your own tradition.
 3. Take a step back and pamper yourself. Maybe a facial or a massage? There’s no excuse, you have plenty of deals with Groupon or LivingSocial.
 4. Volunteer, spend your time with people that appreciate you and allow you to feel like you’re contributing to their lives — whether it’s a homeless shelter, a charity or an elderly home. Love your furry friends the way I do? Then why not volunteer at an animal shelter?
 5. Avoid social media, as much as possible during this time. Try not to let commercials get to you, they’re meant to.
 You know yourself best, so observe how you’re feeling and don’t fight it. Instead, embrace it and leverage it to do bigger and greater things during this time.
 You’ve got this.

Originally published at Vanessa G.