It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Dickens- A Tale of Two Cities
The hardest part at Christmas when you are separated or divorced, especially when your children aren't with you, is the sense of loneliness. It is accentuated by it being Christmas- when all around you there are carols being sung, peace and joy being proclaimed, and underlying it all a message of love.
When you're alone, and feeling unloved, it can be a bit hard to take. The pain at times can feel overwhelming. It can be numbing, crushing, and make you question your inner beliefs. Like acid, it eats away at you, and you start to wonder whether you have done anything right to anybody in your life.
As a friend of mine said to me pithily the other day: "Snap out of it."
It is vitally important to stop wallowing in self-pity, especially at Christmas. You have a life to lead, a joyous productive life, where you can by your daily actions improve the lives of others, as well as yourself.
Beating the Christmas blues
- Think positively. Stop wallowing in self-pity.Even in the worst moments, you have lots to offer yourself and others, especially family and friends. It is much easier to look at a glass half full than one half empty.
- Be with people who love you, if possible, such as family and friends. Support networks are vital. If you don't have anyone, think about how you will get a support network in the new year. Join a club or association or go to church. Before you know it, you will have friends who love and accept you for who you are.
- Help others, if you can't be with people who love you. There are always people worse off at Christmas than you. The fact that you have been able to read this online means that you are ahead of many people already.
- Smell the roses. Remember that life moves a day at a time. Squeeze the joy out of every day. There may have been little things that you liked before that you have overlooked or not noticed. Get in touch with what brings you joy. Think of those interests that you gave away when you were in a relationship, but you have always wanted to do. Fishing, cooking, travel, watching the cricket, here we come.
- Get counselling. It is always good to talk to an objective, supportive counsellor. There is no shame in doing so. This may be hard on Christmas Day. Lifeline operates a free 24/7 counselling service: 13 11 14. It is always better to talk to someone than do something stupid.
- Make realistic goals. The year has almost ended, and the new year is about to start. What realistic goals do you need to make to help put your life on track? If you are not seeing your children, what do you need to do to ensure that you can see them? You may have to go through family dispute resolution, see a family lawyer like me, or even as a last resort go to court. Think it through.
- Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Your body and mind are your temples. Look after them and nurture them.
- Get fit. One of the key ways to turn your life around. There is nothing like fitness to dispel feelings of gloom. A rush of oxygen and endorphins, better self-image, and feeling better and stronger, is one of the best ways to beat the Christmas blues.