Maybe this black sheep doesn't look much like a holiday-season image, but it's how I felt the first Christmas season after my divorce.
During my separation, divorce, and for years following the divorce, the holiday season was just an awful time for me.
The agony started right after Halloween, as Christmas decorations started to appear in stores, and Christmas music began to blast everywhere I went.
I truly came to understand the expression "gut-wrenching." I felt physically ill, and had to resort to deep breathing and sunglasses to camouflage the tears.
I'd talk to myself, silently (and sometimes not so silently) in public. I'd say to myself, "It's okay, it's okay, hang in there. Breathe. Thank god for sunglasses: No one can see you crying. Just hang in there a few more minutes. You'll be back in the car soon and then you can let it all out . . . ."
Somehow, the season would have me rehashing all sorts of old memories:
What I should have done, how I should have known better, what wasn't my fault, what I couldn't possibly have known . . . on and on and on.
I'd reminisce about my lying, cheating ex. But in my memories, I couldn't remember all those horrible things he'd done. I remembered shopping for the Christmas tree together, putting up decorations, making our own playlists of Christmas songs.
And the holidays post-divorce back then? Showing up to family celebrations alone. Knowing that many in my family blamed me for divorcing him. Knowing that my parents believed that no matter how badly I was treated, it was the woman's job to sacrifice herself and endure. (Yes, even now that it's the 21st century.) Somehow, it was never the man's fault.
And I wondered: What were the odds I could ever be happy again?
What were the chances that I'd ever end up with someone better? It was frightening just to think about it. I couldn't imagine year after year of holiday seasons and special occasions pasting on a smile and feeling dead inside.
No one had an answer for me. There was simply no cure. Oh, yeah, the five stages of grief. Talk therapy that just made everything worse. Telling me that it was going to take a long time to feel better and that there were no short-cuts. The whole thing felt like a death sentence. A heart and soul death sentence. Made me feel as though I wasn't anything anymore. At least not anything or anyone I wanted to be.
When would this get better? And how would I survive this miserable holiday season? I wanted to go to sleep until it was over.
Of course, it did get better. Some of you know about the system I created to speed my own recovery, but that came later.
But what you don't know about, yet, is that I needed something special to get through the month of December.
I asked myself: "What would I have to create that could take the focus off the memories, the disappointment, the betrayal, and the shock, and turn this season into something completely new that could get me excited and pumped up again?"
So . . . last year, I created a home-study program called "5 Very Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues: Turn the Blues into a Blueprint." It's a way to minimize the parts of the holiday season that send you back to dark places where you don't want to be. And it's a way to put yourself back in charge of how you spend the holidays. That in itself is pretty great, because the program coaches you, step-by-step, in creating activities that will support you, and that you really love.
But, there's much more to the program than just that. It also gives you the opportunity (if you choose), to use this end-of-year time to completely create your vision for the new year, exactly the way you want it to be. You don't have to revisit the past. Instead, the process is easy, exciting, and fun.
UPDATE: This year, 2017, I'm offering the heart of the program, my 40-page holiday blues cures ebook, as a free gift to everyone. Back in 2014, the book was part of a complete program that included the book, 5 audio classes, and some other bells and whistles for $149 -- and it was very successful. Keep reading to learn more about my gift to you, Celebrate Yourself! 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues.
If you're someone who's dreading the month of December, why not make it a season of discovery and joy instead?
My top 5 strategies to beat the holiday blues after divorce have nothing to do with the "stages of grief" or the garden-variety advice you'll hear elsewhere at this time of year. .
I call my method the five "blues cures," and they're the same ones I developed and used myself the first year after my divorce, which was the same Christmas my mom passed away (her funeral was Dec. 23), and I was struggling at the same time with a cancer diagnosis myself.
If you decide to take a look and download my free ebook, you'll have a happier holiday season planned with things *you* want to do, instead of feeling picked apart by everyone else in your life and what they want from you.
Celebrate Yourself! 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues also includes templates that help you quickly and easily figure out how to apply each "cure" to your own life. You don't have to use them all. You can pick and choose which ones make you feel the happiest when you read about them.
My promise to you is that, if you try these "cures," you'll not only get through the holidays, but enjoy them in a new and powerful way. The templates will also help you to design a new year that you will love. Take a look and choose among surprising ideas that will make your season happy and bright -- and will help you to do it your way.
Click here to get instant access to the complete ebook. I truly hope -- and believe -- that this gift -- with love from me to you -- will make a big difference in how this holiday season unfolds for you.