Want to know your #1 response to our holiday blues survey?

Big thanks to everyone who has contributed responses to our Post-Divorce Holiday Blues-Busting Survey.

I thought you might like to know what women are most interested in when it comes to support over the holiday season.

I really love the way it's turning out -- because, based on your responses, you are very willing to learn to take time out for yourselves and are enthusiastic about using time this season to plan for a happier year to come!

So far, every single respondent to our survey wants:

1) a step-by-step process to help them use the holiday season to come up with a plan to totally transform their new year.  Or, as I like to say, to "turn the blues into a blueprint."

Then, two desires tied for second place:

2)  strategies to deal with loneliness during the season and to learn ways to nurture themselves this time of year instead of being overcome by stress and others' expectations.

So, how do you turn the blues into a blueprint, anyway?

The blueprint comes as the last step in our 5 *Very* Surprising Cures for the Post-Divorce Holiday Blues, and here's why.  The whole 5-step process takes you through a journey of honoring yourself, and experiencing what it's like to put yourself first so that you can give out of your own abundance and not out of your own exhaustion and sadness.

You might have noticed that giving what you don't have to give never quite works as well as you'd like it to.  Well, let's be honest.  It never really works at all.

Maybe you've already been living your entire life that way, but now the warning lights are flashing and sirens are going off because -- after having gone through the entire divorce process, and having lost so much of everything that meant most to you -- it feels impossible to keep putting a good face on it, and sacrificing even more heavily than you've done before.

So, the blueprint is the fourth of the five steps in my program.  You do it after you've taken specific (and fun) steps to remember who you are (or who you always meant to be), see exactly how you can scale back and remake the holiday season in a way that's fun for you, and even give yourself gifts (don't worry, you get to stay within your budget!).

I want you to have so much fun before you sit down to create your blueprint -- using nothing more than a journal, a pen, and maybe some fun art supplies.  The blueprint is fun, not work.  It's not about scheduling, outlines, flow charts . . . .    In other words, it bears no resemblance to the drudgery you usually do every day.

It's all about dreaming your life, the way you want it to be.  Not just where you want to be in your work, family, and financial lives, but how you want to feel every day.  Realizing that how you feel is the key to what makes life beautiful.  And, it's the key to what will allow your life to change in the ways you want it to.

Update: Special Pricing So Everyone Can Afford to Try It

We always want to ensure that every woman can have access to our Holiday Blues Cure Toolkit.

So, we're offering special pricing, (when you order by Saturday, December 15), discounting our $75 program to just $15.

And, we want you to feel secure that you’re not risking anything at all by trying it. So, we offer a full refund of your purchase price (within 15 days of purchase), when you show proof of completing all the worksheets, yet feel you did not receive value from it.

After you complete your purchase, Paypal will send you directly to the download page with the audios and ebook. You will not receive a confirmation email, so please save the page that Paypal sends you to, if you do not plan to download the program immediately.

The Blessings of the Post-Divorce Christmas: No really, please read.

It's Christmas morning here at The Dynamic Divorcee, and, in the midst of my coffee and baklava, I felt compelled to grab my laptop and write.

I know that you might not be having the kind of holiday season that you've wished for -- and I just don't want it to be that way for you, if I can help it.

I'm hoping it might make you feel a tiny bit better to think about what's good about all this.  So, here's just one little thing. (I *know*, but please give me a chance.)

It's not supposed to be perfect.  There is no perfect.  It's just a day on the calendar.  Some years it feels pretty wonderful, but other years, you just want to stay in bed (which I heartily recommend, if your situation allows it).

What makes us have such outsized expectations for this day?  It's the media and commercialism, ladies!  In your heart, you don't have to compare your holiday to what everyone else is doing.

This is about you, and about the people in your life who you love and who make you feel good about life.  Nothing else.

It's about finding those tiny moments of hope -- however that makes sense to you.  (More help on that below.)  Not about doing things that make you feel exhausted, depleted, depressed, and not enough.

Christmas is a time when the sun begins to come back to Earth, when the days begin to get a little longer, when we start to think about the possibilities of a new year.

It's really and truly not about pacifying people who bring you down, or about conspicuous consumption, or about boat loads of gifts -- and the letdown that accompanies all of this.

It is what it is, and that's okay.  It's more than okay, it's normal human life.  

You are the real Christmas.  The beautiful, the sad, the longing, the moments of unexpected generosity and thoughtfulness, the dreams that may have to wait until next year (there can be excitement in waiting and planning) -- all of it.

So what if, this Christmas, you let this be a reset of expectations -- a reset that you can keep with you for the rest of your life.  It's what you want it to be.  It's about what makes this day feel special to you -- and that might mean a holiday season that looks very different from what everyone else thinks it should be.

You are valuable.  You are precious.  You are the holiday spirit (and sometimes that holiday spirit has tears, or isn't in the mood, or needs a long winter's nap).  You are the gift of Christmas.  In being real instead of gift-wrapping ourselves, we give others permission to do the same:  Letting them know that it's okay to just be true to whatever they're feeling -- even at Christmas, girls!

My wish for you is that you breathe, relax a little, and are open to let in the moments of happiness that occur today.  I promise that there will be at least one moment of feeling loved and understood -- and perhaps many moments.

I am thinking of you, and holding all of you in my heart this Christmas Day.  If you're home alone and want something to try that can make today and the rest of this year easier and more hopeful, please download my holiday blues cures book (it's free).  If you're reading this during Christmas week, you'll see a box to the right where you can request instant access.  I'm hoping it will bring some warmth to the rest of this holiday season for you, and will help turn this day into something meaningful, rather than sad.  I've put a lot of magic into this book to build you up and help you turn the blues into a blueprint for a beautiful new year.

Remember, it's okay to make today as non-Christmas-y as possible, if that helps.  Tomorrow, this day will have passed, and you'll have made it through!  You've already made it!

So what are you doing New Year's Eve?

Here's my take on New Year's Eve:  Don't put so much pressure on the actual date you celebrate.  You can have so much more fun if you ignore Dec. 31 itself.

I'm celebrating it on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28!

I really don't want to be in the middle of all the craziness on Dec. 31, and I'm not so enamored of any of the current men in my life (none of them is "the one") to undergo all the pressure that comes with being someone's date for New Year's Eve.  (More on my dating philosophy in my Prepare to Be Loved program.

So, I have two super-fun events coming up for the weekend after Christmas.  On Saturday, Dec. 27, I'm meeting some of my best women friends in the world (and they're also my ready-to-party aunt, cousin, and two ex-wives of my brothers -- the mothers of my nieces and nephews).  We'll be going out for margaritas and Mexican food, and out for line dancing after that.  And, probably sleeping it off at my aunt's house.  I love these women, and can't wait!

On Sunday, Dec. 28, it's the December meeting of the women's wine-tasting group I'm a part of, and we'll be meeting at the beautiful home of one of the members, with the theme of Winter Wines . . . (and celebrating my birthday, which was Dec. 24).

I find that it's so much easier to schedule wonderful time with women friends (both married, divorced, and single) when you do it between Christmas and New Year's -- so that's what I do!

These two events will be the highlight of my holiday season.  I find Christmas with the family just a little depressing and stressful, since there's hardly anything on which we see eye to eye.  Yet, they're family, and I do it.

So what should you do on the dread New Year's Eve itself?  If your kids are with you, order pizza, watch some movies and make noise at midnight.

If you're on your own?  Indulge yourself in any way that feels good to you -- especially by doing things that your ex didn't like or didn't approve of.

Of course, you can use this time to take a look at your year in review and decide how to make the new year different. 

But, for many of you, it's a much happier idea just to let it all go, and get to bed before midnight.  By the time you awaken, a beautiful new year will be here!

Before you turn in, you can make a little ritual of kissing the old year goodbye, or maybe exorcizing it from your life with a few rounds of lion's breath -- open your mouth wide, extend your tongue, and forcefully exhale everything that brought you to your knees in the past year.

You can take a cleansing bath or shower during which you symbolically wash away every disappointment, regret, and fear, and call in everything you want to be part of your life in 2015.  Use a wonderful scent that makes you feel protected, calm, and strong.  Whatever scent you like is a good one for you!

2015.  It's your year to make of it whatever you will.  Make a resolve that no one else will hijack your beautiful life for their own purposes.  I want to propose a new definition of selfishness.  It means that you are full of yourself, full of the person who you were always meant to be.  An example of beauty, strength, and happiness, who draws like-minded people to you.

I'm wishing you the very happiest new year ever!

What would you change? It's all written on your face.

What would you like to change about your past life when you look back 10 years?  What about looking back 20 years ago in your life?

And, more importantly, if you could see into the future, what would you be so shocked to see that you would make changes immediately to avoid that outcome?

Since it's December, it's natural to think about Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, in which the miserable Ebenezer Scrooge has the opportunity to revisit his past, gain insight into his present, and glimpse an unsavory end.

But, what if the average woman could see into the future?

My thoughts about this began as I read a wonderful article by Susan Minot about photographer Nicholas Nixon's 40-year (and counting) project of taking an annual photograph of his wife and her three sisters.  You can read the article and see all of the portraits here.

I couldn't help but wonder about the life stories of these four women as I saw their expressions and body language change from year to year.  I wondered whether, if they could have seen the 2014 portrait way bacn in 1975, they would have done anything differently.  Would they have been shocked?  Would they have been proud of the strength that shows in their faces, or would they think, "My god, I must have lived a hard life!"  Or perhaps they might feel a little bit of both emotions, and many more emotions in between.

Watching this video started me thinking:

What if you could have a time-lapse, four-minute encapsulation of your life -- see yourself 40 years from now?  In your face, you would be able to read so many things:  the struggle, the disappointment, the roads not taken.  Or, perhaps joy, the process of aging in contentment, with a satisfied heart and peaceful mind.

The thing is:  We can do this without the time travel!  Imagine:  If life continues as is, what face will greet you in the mirror in 40 years?  We can live each day for a better outcome now.  (And enjoy each day along the way, in the process.)  A sort of Picture of Dorian Gray in reverse.  Every day, we can become stronger and more beautiful.  It is a choice -- but it takes mindfulness, and sometimes it takes minute-by-minute shifts from habitual patterns of thinking.

Passionate desires and a picture of your life as you want it to be really help and make the practice of mindfulness fun.

I am choosing as my mantra for 2015 this quote:  I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.  I am changing the things I cannot accept.

Divorce is the wake-up call to give each of us valuable clues about what we've been missing in the past, and how we'd like to change it.  And, this is just the time of year to consider how to make this happen, using fun and self-nourishing ideas to give birth to your life as you want it to be.

And, this is the time of year when I offer a holiday gift to everyone, my 40-page ebook, 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues.  Get hold of it here, and start trying some of the secrets inside:

 

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There's still time to make big shifts in 2014. Here's how:

It's September, a time when many people give up on getting accomplished those life changes we hoped to set in motion at the beginning of the year. 

Pretty soon, it's the big wind-down (or mad dash, depending on how you see it) through the holiday season, and then the let-down of another year behind us. 

And, hmmm, are you stuck in the same place you were last year?  Or -- gasp -- has it gotten even worse?

Get some key life goals off your to-do list before harvest season! 
It's much much easier than you may think.  Baby steps.  Here's my suggestion for accomplishing something personally meaningful with what's left of the year:  Just focus on setting your infrastructure in place for 2015.

Let me give you a quick idea of how I did this (and am still putting on the final touches) in 2014.

It all started with a new virtual learning program that I rolled out at the end of 2013.  I'll be offering it again, soon, but here's the incredible offer that I made for the program last year in the last two days before Christmas.

The program is called 5 Surprising Cures for the Holiday Blues, and one of the cures involves using the holiday season to create a blueprint for your new life as you want to live it in the new year.

I had developed my program based on my own experiences in recovering from a terrible betrayal and healing from the total destruction of my life as I had known it.  Although my life was back on track, and I was happy again, I ended up loving my new blues-busting program so much that, just for fun, I decided to work my own program, step by step, during the holiday season.

The results have been amazing.
I created a theme for my year:  Most gain for least pain.  With that theme in mind, I kept testing ways to improve my life in five key areas important to me:  money, diet, exercise, leisure, and love.  Various practices and techniques received test periods of at least 28 days, and I assessed the results after each experiment.

The assessment for every practice or technique I tried?  Simple:
1.  How much work did it take?
2.  What results did I get?

So far:  Best year ever.  Here are a few of the things I'll have to look back on with pride from 2014:
  • Not only did I lose 15 pounds, but I documented exactly what worked for me best.  And the modified form of this diet -- my maintenance diet -- is completely livable and enjoyable for the long term.
  • My "new normal" diet feels great and I have lots of energy.
  • I've come up with the bedtime and sleep schedule that's the best compromise between my natural night-owl proclivities and my optimum productivity.
  • I've tested numerous techniques to look and feel ten years younger -- and, once again, I've documented what works.  I look terrific, which helps me feel incredible, too.
  • I'm holding myself accountable for getting at least two hours of leisure per day (that means leisure that is restorative and fun for me, not just watching what someone else wants to watch on tv).
  • I'm keeping my work week pretty close to 40 hours (rather than 60-80 hours per week) for the first time in years.
  • In the friendship and love arena, I feel more supported than ever, and although I'm still holding out for someone really special (settling just isn't fun), I have no lack of men in my life.
  • And the year's not over yet!
Spend the rest of 2014 finding out what works for you.
The key to all of this is that my life hacks are unique to me.  It's all about setting up an experiment in any given area of your life, trying a new technique, and assessing how it worked (or didn't).  I've been inspired by diets, exercise programs, and a host of techniques that others have developed, but the personal tweaking is the big secret.

You still have four months left in 2014!  Start experimenting so you'll have a great plan for how to achieve the goals most dear to you in 2015.
  1. Define four or five broad areas in which you'd like to see improvement or change  (eliciting help from your kids around the house, strengthening key friendships, improving the quality of your leisure time, finding ways to indulge yourself and feel more beautiful) -- just the process of coming up with your list can be very revealing.
  2. Look at each area, and see if you can spend 10 minutes a day exploring a way to improve that part of your life.  Start with one area and one experiment.  What can you do that will be easy, but has the potential to give you the biggest reward.
  3. Conduct your experiment for 7 days, 2 weeks, 28 days . . . and reassess.
  4. Write down your findings.  This is super-important.  You want to be able to remember, in January, what worked, and what didn't, as you put together your game plan for 2015.

And, if you'd like a little help, I'm always here.