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Here's How to Survive a Holiday Breakup-- and Thrive Instead
Holiday couple breakup

Here's How to Survive a Holiday Breakup-- and Thrive Instead

Breakups are an unfortunate part of life. When they happen around the holidays, they just hit harder. Here's how you can get through the pain.

It’s common knowledge that the holiday breakups are the most popular kind.

Known as the “turkey drop,” mid November to mid December tends to be when many couples decide to split. The holidays put people in a good mood, sure. But these extra jollies can make shaky couples even shakier.

But why during the holidays?

Life coach and certified sex therapist Jacqueline Mendez told OkCupid that “many couples break up during the holidays because the cracks that already exist in the relationship are magnified. There is a huge push for love, glee, and happy feelings and when a couple does not have the bandwidth to support this, it breaks.”

As well, many people observe their significant other up-close-and personal with their families, which can offer unflattering insight into problematic relationship dynamics.

Add to this the fact that loads of family time often removes the ability for couples who rely on sex for their bond, to well, bond. It ain’t an easy time of year.

How I handled it

Personally, I’ve found it’s easier to break up when the sky is blue and everyone’s showing a little more skin. But hey—who among us has a choice in the matter?

Truth be told, I too have been through a holiday heartbreak. It was crushing, sure, but also turned out to be a time for deep reflection, self-insight, and growing as a person. And, okay, you got me—maybe even kissing someone new at a drunken Christmas party.

Let’s face it: these are all the ingredients we need for moving onto bigger and better loves!

If you’re going through a holiday breakup, I feel you. Whether you’re the breaker or the breakee, it can be devastating. If you need a little help getting through it, consider the following.

Here 6 tips for surviving with your heart intact

1. Accept your state of mind

Nobody said it was easy, and you don’t need to put on a brave face. The sooner you accept that, the less stressful it will be, and the quicker you’ll start to heal.

If you can be kind to yourself, everything else will fall into place.

This means: making an effort to interact with loved ones, but it does not mean forcing yourself into doing things that make you want to puke.

Feel free to respect where you’re at, and bow out of any activities that are giving you the heebie jeebies (couples’ massages as a family, anyone?)

2. Know you’re not alone

During the holiday season, it can seem like everyone and their cocker spaniel has a fiancée or is swapping tongue under the mistletoe or by the menorah.

But in reality, close to half of all adults are single, and that includes just over half of those between 18-34.

So, remember: you're really, truly not alone!

3. Don’t delay damage control

Depending on the exact timing of your breakup, you may want (need) to take care of certain logistical matters.

For instance, save yourself the trouble of having the same breakup explanation conversation 2000 times at your family’s holiday party by having a friend or parent spread the news on your behalf.

And, unnatural as it may seem, if you have to return your ex's gifts, or cancel flights or reservations, get it over with immediately to avoid dragging out depressive feelings.

4. Be social (or at least stay active)

If you had a bunch of social plans with your ex, don't replace them all with melancholic solo time.

Though, of course, some nurturing solo time is a-okay.

Make plans for coffee/dinner/drinks with good friends, join a yoga class, take up running, or simply make a point of doing things that make you feel good, like seeing a play, going to the movies, or taking long walks. 

5. Do things for others

A holiday breakup may just be one of the best times to focus your energies on others rather than yourself.

Volunteering at a charity or shelter can be an amazing way to give back.

Not only will you be helping others, but you'll meet new people, and hey, your heart may even feel a bit more whole.

6. Stay off social media 

If you're away from your support network over the holidays: get off-- and stay off-- social media!

"If someone is struggling through a breakup and fixated on their ex, staying actively engaged in the relationship through social media will make it harder to move forward and the recovery will take longer," clinical psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren tells Bustle.

Go one step further and block or unfollow anyone who's going to make you feel bad.

The bottom line is this:

Breakups are never easy, but they can be especially brutal during the holidays. Try treating yourself the way you’d treat a close friend going through something similar.

And ultimately, never fear, ‘cause a fresh new year is almost here-- and with it comes new possibilities and even new love.

More proof you can get through your breakup:

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