Part of the reason that we may look forward to the holiday season is because it is a time that symbolizes love, family, connection, relaxation, community. All of these aspects of the holiday can be what make it so enjoyable, but can also feel even more devastating in the wake of heartbreak. With hallmark movies all over TV, photos of friends and family gathering together with smiles, and talk of vacation, engagements and time with loved ones- it may feel overwhelming and even tougher to be dealing with hard feelings.

Below are a few things to keep in mind if you are working through the loss of a relationship during this holiday season.

  1. Connect, connect, connect!

During a time where it feels everyone else may be doing great, feeling good, and loving on one another, it may feel tempting to isolate and crawl into yourself. Although the appeal makes sense, it is in these moments when it is even more important to reach out for connection around you. Let yourself be loved on and let yourself be taken care of. If during the holidays you are with friends and family, let them know that you are needing more connection, and be open to the ways they may show you this love and support. During a season of heartbreak is when we most often need to feel the support and connection from those still in our lives, even though it may feel tougher to ask for.

  1. Set boundaries

You may not be feeling like yourself this holiday season if you are grieving the loss of a relationship. It is okay to not be running on a full tank. If this is the case for you, it is important to give yourself permission to leave a setting where you feel overwhelmed, to not have that drink if you feel it will make you more upset, and to let others know that you may be feeling less up to some of the things that you usually might enjoy. Instead of a night out at the bar with friends, it may be that staying in with a friend or a family member and watching a movie feels better. Reflect on what feels best and practice communicating those needs and boundaries to those around you.

  1. Be compassionate with yourself

Struggling with loss during the holidays is hard. The holidays seem like they ‘should’ be a happy, upbeat, enjoyable time, and that may not feel like the case this year for you. Being able to show yourself some kindness and feel the tough feelings is important.  If you cry at a holiday party, breakdown at dinner with your family, or are not engaging how you usually do- practice compassion! Breakups come with lots of feelings, and we are human beings who are feeling them at different moments. If something happens that is upsetting to you, be aware of how you may be talking to yourself, and if you are needing some love and comfort, it can be an important time to give that gift to yourself. Self-compassion is a powerful practice, and the holiday season is a good time to start this practice.

  1. Take breaks from negative thinking

Being able to acknowledge your feelings is important in any healing process. With that being said, be conscious and allow yourself to take breaks when you are feeling overwhelmed or consumed by tough feelings. If you are noticing lots of defeated and negative thinking going on, call awareness to it and engage in an activity, call a friend, or do something that engages your body in order to help you get out of your mind for a bit. The tough thoughts and feelings will come. Acknowledge them, feel them, but also continue to move on with things that bring you joy and with people whom you feel connected to.