Well, it appears that we’re nearing the holiday season business, and that frustration may be creeping up on you. You know—that feeling when your head starts to pound, and you feel so stressed that you could just scream and jump out the window, or throw someone—your ex, your boss, your kids, the dude who won’t stop texting in the middle of the damn movie—out the window. Ah, don’t you just love it when things aren’t going as planned, and it seems that the whole world is against you?
It’s natural to feel like this when you’re going through the shit-show that is divorce, or when you’re trying to pick up the pieces of the life you thought you knew after it’s over.
Making it through another day of the divorce mess sucks when it’s any other time of the year. But when you add in the holiday stress—the cooking, the shopping, the insane expectations shoved down our throats, the finances being stretched to the point of breaking—it’s completely normal to feel like the whole damn world is against you.
Is this how you feel right now? Keep reading! Here are a few things for you to remember.
What You Feel is Temporary
Chew on that for a second. All this shit that you’re going through is temporary. It may not feel like it right now, especially during the holidays when emotions are amplified, but I promise you, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. Hell, it may not be three months from now. But the nightmare you feel will pass.
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, I want you to stop, take a breath, and tell yourself the same thing that medical professionals tell folks who are going through rehab.
This too shall pass.
That may sound trite and cliché, but dammit, it’s true.
Imagine your life and your future as a giant beach, with millions of grains of sand stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s vast and beautiful.
Now, imagine what you’re going through right now as just one tiny grain of sand—out of trillions (trillions!) of grains that make up that beautiful beach.
Your life and your future and what happens after the holidays is that big beautiful beach. Look at that beach, recognizing its beauty and what it can do for you. Step over that one grain and move on to the amazing things that await you.
Exercise: Letting Go of this Holiday/Divorce Madness
During the rest of the month, if you still feel like you’re struggling with getting through the season, I would invite you to do the following…
When you’re feeling crappy, stop and identify what exactly it is you’re feeling crappy about.
You’ll want to dig deep and be specific. Oftentimes, we carry this burden of feeling shitty and just let it be this unidentified gray weight that hangs over us. It’s like this unwelcome house guest that we know is there, but can never seem to find.
Instead of the general and unidentifiable emotion: I’m really hating this time of year right now.
Try being more specific with that uneasiness and dread you have: I’m really struggling because I thought I would have the kids this Christmas, and I won’t. I’m going to feel so lonely, and it just won’t be like the Christmases that I used to love.
Now that you’ve identified the exact thing that you don’t like, and the exact thing that you feel is not going your way this holiday season, how can you flip the script to change your outlook on what’s bugging you? To put in the most productive way possible…
How can you direct that emotion and energy into something that heals you?
It won’t be easy, and it will take practice and persistence. But when nothing seems to be going the way you wanted, or expected it to, you have two choices. You can continue to fret and stress and spend your energy lamenting about your current situation, or you can direct that energy and change the course.
“That sounds like a bunch of moonbeam hippie shit to me, Martha. I’m really hurting here.”
Fair enough. So let me show you how. Let’s take a look at our previous example.
I’m really struggling because I thought I would have the kids this Christmas, and I won’t. I’m going to feel so lonely, and it just won’t be like the Christmases that I used to love.
Okay, so things aren’t going our way in this example because we won’t be spending Christmas with the kids. So, how do we direct that emotion and energy of not spending time holidays with the kids into something healing?
What Are Your Ideas?
Take a look at some of my own. I’m feeling lonely, so instead, I can spend my energy on creating an alternate community. Instead of using that energy to feel bad that I’m not with my kids this Christmas, I am going to channel that energy into creating community. I will see if the local soup kitchen needs volunteers during Christmas.
Things aren’t going my way because I expected this Christmas to be with my spouse. We’re separated, so that’s not happening. This year, I will divert that lonely energy into taking a short getaway—to someplace I’ve always wanted to go that didn’t have the chance to while I was with my spouse.
So, how about you? Do you feel like things aren’t going the way you want them to this holiday season?