It’s that time of year again where Christmas lights and decorations begin to illuminate and bring to life the most ordinary objects. The holidays are customarily tied to cherished childhood memories of magic and tradition. A time of year to take a step back and spend more time with family and friends. However, whenever we are emotionally processing the loss of a loved one, such as a breakup, it’s hard to find light in the darkness. It’s as if something is missing. A hole or gap that we cannot seem to fill.
Recently, my longtime boyfriend and I have decided to part ways after spending six years together. Though we are unsure of what the future holds for us, we know that we are not able to be together at this time. It has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in the 28 years around the sun. Letting go of love can be traumatic and gut-wrenching. Though I do not have a crystal ball to foresee how this whole situation will play out, I truly believe deep down in my heart, that the right person will find his way to me. But in the meantime, I must be patient while I figure out how to glue the pieces back together.
As I continue to move forward in this new norm, I have found it incredibly hard be excited about anything, let alone a time of year that highlights joy and cheer. As much as I would love to bury my head in the sand and count down the day’s until all of this is over, I have come to terms that it’s important to find as much normalcy during this transition as possible.
Below are a few suggestions that have helped thus far. In sharing this piece of my personal life with you, I hope to shed some light for others who may be also experiencing a loss this holiday season.
1. Continue On With Tradition.
Whether you find yourself lighting a candle for eight nights or stringing popcorn and hanging tinsel to a tree, know the importance of continuing on with tradition. For myself, the day after Thanksgiving, it’s “go time” for anything and everything Christmas related, including purchasing a tree. I almost opted out of buying one this year. I thought to myself “Who do I have to enjoy it with? Who will help me string lights and place ornaments?”. After throwing myself a pity party, I realized that tree is exactly what I needed! Just because you may have done things differently in years past doesn’t mean that you strip yourself of something that makes you happy. Traditions are meant to be passed down from generation to generation. However, this idea of passing down tradition also reflects moving forward. Keep moving forward!
2. Stop Comparing
The holidays are also known as engagement season. Last year, six out of the ten most popular dates to get engaged landed in the month of December. From Thanksgiving until Valentines Day, our Instagram pages and Facebook feeds will be flooded with beautifully cut diamond rings and heartfelt announcements. Instead of allowing yourself to feel sadness or even jealousy, find a way to implement gratitude. Be happy for those who are celebrating a special moment in their lives. Their happiness has nothing to do with yours. It’s up to you to find your own happiness within.
There is a Sanskrit word “Mudita” which translates to taking delight in the happiness of others or experiencing vicarious joy. It’s reflected when we can truly be happy for the joys of others. Find a practice of Mudita.
3. Take A Break From Social Media
If you are struggling to find Mudita, try taking a break from all social media outlets. Easier said than done. I think we all, as a society, could benefit from this practice of letting go. I am just as guilty as the next, but we tend to share only the good things that reflect in our lives. Perhaps we even exaggerate the good to create a certain image or perception that deflects from our reality. We have to take a step back and remember that most social media content is a clouded or overemphasized. Not to discredit other people’s happiness or good fortune but it helps to put a closer lens on reality.
4. The Practice of Gratitude
Since my break up, I have made more of conscious effort to count my blessings each and every day. In past relationships, I always viewed my break up as my world was crumbling around me partly due to my age and lack of life experience. Yes, I have had my moments in the past few weeks of hopelessness. Yet, knowing how truly blessed I am, gives me a good reality check.
A few ways I have been practicing gratitude is through meditation and journaling. Manifesting and writing down everything you find gratitude in your day-to-day, creates a visual and a great tool to reference back to especially when darkness begins to set in. Gratitude can be as simple as a warm cup of coffee or a pair of fuzzy socks. When we really stop to think about all of the ways we are blessed, it allows us to feel a sense of fulfillment, a way to fill that gap that is missing.
5. Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
Nothing helps a grieving heart more than the company of your closest friends and family. I consider myself to be very lucky to have access to some of the most amazing support groups anyone could offer, starting with the love of my family, my people, my tribe. The ones who are there for me no matter what because at the end of the day, they have no choice, they are stuck with me! I don’t know where I would be without them.
Secondly, my yoga community. I’m one of the lucky ones where I don’t view my job as “work” and acknowledge that this concept is a unique one. The amount of love and compassion I have received from not just my colleagues but my friends has been outstanding. I am forever grateful to have a community, like Yoga Six, to lean on.
Also, don’t forget to personally thank those who have helped keep you afloat during a hard time. We sometimes tend to forget that a simple “thank you” or acknowledgment can go along way.