November 13, 2021

How to Survive the Holidays After a Breakup

Young woman who looks sad, scrolls on a tablet in front of holiday lights

Having a romantic relationship end is never enjoyable. Going through a breakup at Christmas can be especially painful. You’ll probably be seeing family and friends who are likely to ask you about your now-former significant other, so you’ll have to explain the situation repeatedly. And, of course, you’ll be seeing everything from social media posts to TV commercials featuring the joy of being in love during the holidays.

It doesn’t change your situation, but it’s helpful to remember that you’re not alone. Breakups before the holidays are common. So, try to encourage yourself that others will be surviving a breakup during the holidays, and you can, too. 

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6 Tips for Dealing with a Breakup During the Holidays

It’s uncomfortable to enter the holidays after a breakup, but there are steps you can take to ease your pain and find more joy. Below are helpful tips on how to survive the holidays after a breakup.  

1. Avoid things that remind you of your ex

Generally speaking, avoidance isn’t a good mental health strategy. But there will be plenty of time for coming to terms with your breakup after the holidays. For now, don’t look at pictures of your ex, don’t go to the restaurant you both loved, etc.   

2. Stay busy

You may feel like all you want to do is sit and stare out the window but doing that too much won’t help you heal. Yes, you need to mourn, but break up periods of experiencing your sadness with periods of doing other things. Take a yoga class, pick up a new hobby, read that book you keep meaning to get to. These activities may not initially make you as happy as they would’ve before the breakup, but slowly you’ll start to get more enjoyment from them. 

3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the state of being focused on the sights, sounds, and other sensations of the present moment. When you’re being mindful, you’re not thinking about other things — like your breakup. So, when you wash your hands, focus on the warm water, the bubbles, etc. When you chop vegetables, think only of their color, the sound the knife makes as it hits the cutting board, and so on. Being mindful even for a few moments at a time can provide some mental and emotional relief.

4. Make plans

Isolating isn’t healthy or helpful. You may not want to go to a big holiday party, but there are other ways to connect with people. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Go for a walk with a family member. Having some “events” of any size on your calendar helps remind you that life goes on.

5. Do something for others

It’s both very hard and extremely gratifying to perform a kind act that makes someone happy when you’re feeling sad. But with each act of kindness, you’ll find yourself feeling stronger and more independent.

6. Get help if you need it

There’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with reaching out to a friend, family member, or counselor when you’re grieving the loss of a relationship. Expressing your emotions is a great first step for working through them.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Breakups before the holidays are the worst but surviving a breakup during the holidays is possible. With help from your family and friends — or a Baptist Health behavioral health provider if needed — you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and develop some optimism for the year ahead. 

The end of a relationship is the start of a new chapter in your life, and that blank page contains endless possibilities.

Next Steps and Useful Resources

Find a Provider Near You
Supporting Mental Wellness During the Holidays
Overcoming Holiday Depression and Anxiety
Healthy Ways to Grieve

Learn More.