Hi everyone! Beth Levine here today, and when first deciding to write a how to guide on surviving the holidays…too much family time, not enough time period, too much food, too many cocktails…it was just a cut and dry survival guide. Little did I know at the time we would be adding another element to my survival guide on how to survive your first holiday season post-divorce. While I won’t bore you with the messy details (we have Lifetime for that), let’s just say infidelity is not an easy pill to swallow any time of the year, but especially during the holidays (can we talk about how everything is so geared towards couples geesh!). So with my wounded, but still beating, heart and trusty pen in hand, here’s my guide to surviving the season, not just intact, but better than ever.
To make things easier, as there is a lot of ground to cover in the 1,2,3 punch of the season (and because I like bullet points) I decided to break out the holiday trifecta into a pro & con list, followed by my helpful (I hope) tips.
First up to bat…Thanksgiving. Ah yes the day of thanks…also the day of 5,000 calories. Of all the holidays on my list, I have a feeling this one’s going to be the most difficult, as it would’ve been my second wedding anniversary and the first one we would’ve spent together (Side note to self, chin up Beth, remember this is supposed to be an inspirational piece!).
- For most of us it’s a 4 day weekend!
- Turkey has tryptophan and come on who doesn’t like post dinner comas
- There is usually a HUGE sporting event of some kind
- Spending time with friends & family
- So much food. Like almost too much food. This is the start of the holiday 15 or what my BFF Itzy jokingly refers to as her ‘winter weight.’
- Spending time with friends and family. Yep, this is on both the pro & con list as honestly it can go either way depending on how much or how little you like your family.
- The pressure of the holiday season has officially started.
The traditional Thanksgiving dinner has some serious calorie pitfalls that make maintaining your weight over the holidays tricky. To help minimize over eating, try not to hold out until the meal is served. Don’t be afraid to snack so that you aren’t so famished when the main course hits the table you gobble everything in sight. Managing your time with family and friends can also be tricky. Make sure you don’t over commit and realize that if you don’t see someone on the actual holiday, the whole weekend is technically still holiday time. For those of you like me, spending your first holiday solo after a long relationship (whether it be a marriage or any other type of serious commitment) can be a very emotional trigger point. Try to take the holiday one step at a time and realize that it is ok to not be ok and try to surround yourself with positive people and good energy to help you get over the hump.
Second up…Christmas. I’m a Jersey Jewish girl. That said I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I remember begging my dad for a Hanukah bush growing up (yeah I realize what that sounds like now, but I was a kid!).
- Everything looks SO amazing. Seriously, Highland Village is full of bows and lights.
- Everyone is or rather appears to be ridiculously happy.
- Everyone is or rather appears to be ridiculously happy. Yep this is another double list item. I love happy people. That said, it can be a little overwhelming when everyone acts like a sugar plum fairy.
- Traffic (Houstonians make sure to be prepared braving the Galleria area. VERY PREPARED).
- The holiday pressure is now officially in full force.
If you’re following my guide hopefully you successfully navigated Turkey day, meaning Christmas is just another rung on the ladder. If you aren’t feeling like a bundle of joy try not to let other people’s ‘Happy Happy Joy Joy’ overwhelm you (personally I find having a BIG glass of wine helps). If you can’t handle traffic or shopping, be an online shopper and if you’re strapped financially just remember that not everyone expects a gift and not every gift has to be tangible, so think outside the box. The same goes with holiday party invites. No one expects you to say yes to everything (well except maybe yourself), so just be honest from the get go and let people know what you can and cannot do. And if you’re flying solo again for the first time like me, take a deep breath as Christmas can be really hard as it’s a very couples-oriented holiday (I blame Zale’s for that), so try to find some constructive ways to channel those emotions: tackle a new project, revisit an old one or even write a very cathartic blog piece:).
And finally here we go…New Year’s Eve. We all know the drill: when you’re young, New Year’s Eve is all about partying. Then you grow up and start going man NYE is amateur night so I just want to stay home and when you’re coupled, well don’t get me started on that or I might need some tissues. Here’s to eventually leveling out and finding yourself somewhere in the middle.
- You’re in the home stretch, you almost made it!
- Every new year is a fresh start
- Nobody expects you to accomplish anything on New Year’s Day so make it worth your while
- It just hit you…crap you have a long time to wait for another day off work
- Shit how did another year go by again so fast?
- Deciding how to spend NYE (bonus tip: if you’re flying solo, you can always enlist your best gay friend for that obligatory NYE kiss)
I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. NYE can either be amazingly wonderful or a giant sucker punch. To hopefully ensure you do not get sucker punched, think wisely about how YOU best want to spend what is essentially your own way of saying goodbye (whether good or bad) to the previous year and embracing the new one. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut and do what’s best for you both celebration wise, company wise and remember, a new year is simply that…A NEW YEAR and take it from this woman, a chance to make it YOUR YEAR.