Every time the holiday season comes around, I remember my first few Christmases and New Year's Eves 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.
Holidays alone after divorce
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 . . . or even just someone who was not too bad? Did I even want someone if he was just not too bad? Did I need someone just to keep me company?
Everything seemed frightening to think about. 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 7-step system I created to speed my own recovery, but that came later.
I needed something special
to get through the month of December.
It was one particular holiday season where I knew I had to do something. My mom had passed away after a long battle with leukemia just days before Christmas, I was struggling with my own cancer diagnosis -- and on top of everything, I was still blaming myself for my ex-husband's lying and cheating, still feeling pretty worthless.
I asked myself: "What would have to happen to take my focus off the past, deal with my grief, and have hope and strength to go it alone with my own health conditions and fears? How could I draw strength from this season of the year, and start to love and respect myself, even without the approval and emotional support of others?"
So . . . I tried a lot of different things (because that's how my mind works, and my burning belief about everything tough is that there must be a way, but I might not know what it is, yet). And, I came up with a system (because that's also how my mind works). And, it got better.
I had a wonderful holiday season, but it might not have looked very traditional to most people. I started to heal myself that Christmas and New Years' and I started to believe in myself again (or, maybe for the first time).
And then . . . I created an ebook and worksheets based on everything that had worked for me (well, actually, I call the printables "magic worksheets"), and recorded the ebook in five audios. I really believe in my little holiday rescue program, and why not share?
First holidays after divorce:
A plan always makes it better
It's called 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues and it offers five different "holiday blues cures" to help divorcees who need a holiday rescue plan. I boldly promise that you can turn your holiday blues into a blueprint for your new year.
Just some of what you'll learn, in the free ebook download:
How to minimize the parts of the holiday season that send you back to dark places where you don't want to be.
How 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.
How to figure out what you want from this time of year, and how to get it.
Specifically how you can give to yourself (as well as to others) and renew yourself, rather than drain yourself dry.
How 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.
And, I promise, the process will be easy, exciting, and fun -- because you choose how much or how little to do. Pick what you like from this little book, and feel free to ignore the rest.
Easy, not overwhelming — and you’ll learn so much about yourself
It's just 38 pages, which also include the magic worksheets (at the back of the book), so this is not just another overwhelming, time-consuming project to do this program.
I want you to 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 expect from you. 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.
Usually priced at $75, I’m doing a special Black Friday weekend offer. If you’re seeing this post before Monday, November 26, click here to learn more about the program and get it for just $5. Yup, 5 bucks. And, there’s a money-back guarantee. (I wanted to be sure that everyone could afford it, yet still have a small price tag so that you’ll be motivated to actually open it up and use it.)
If you’re viewing this on Monday, November 26 or later, the program is still a steal at $15, when you order by Saturday, December 15. Again, click here for details.
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.
And, if it helps you, it would make me so happy if you let me know!