Tag Archives: single

Your First Christmas Alone? Read This.

 

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

My friend reached out to me for advice on spending her first Christmas alone.   “Heather – I am dreading Christmas alone – how do you cope?”  This is her first Christmas following her separation and – as a long term single blogger – she reached out for my advice on best of it. She is not alone, as statistics show that the run up to Christmas is a peak time for break-ups.  

That is cold comfort when you are left out in the cold, whilst your neighbours homes seem to embody the warm and loving spirit of Christmas. I have been there. So when my friend reached out to me I looked back over how I turned what use to be a miserable time of year into an amazing period of fun, love and happiness even though I am single.  I promise you can have a very happy Single-mas.

The first Christmas alone is the hardest. But it does get better.

Breaking up leaves you conflicted.  There is anger, shame, guilt, depression, and confusion to deal with.  All of which are perfectly normal. Christmas brings that home more than any other time of year especially when once close friends seem to distance themselves.  For those of you in long term relationships it can feel like you have lost half your family.

So needless to say.  It is painful.

Firstly, accept that grief is part of the process. But it is temporary.  Do what you need to do to process your emotions in a healthy way.

For me, my first Christmas was spent asleep in my beautiful apartment. I was totally alone.  It was the first time I felt safe for a long time. I wasn’t ready to deal with people – and if you feel that way too – it’s OK.  

As those fluffy millennial memes will tell you. Self-Care is important.

However, note the advice to deal with things healthily.  This does not mean exacting revenge on your ex or asking friends to take sides. It should not mean a war over the kids or pets.  It does not drinking/eating/spending your way into oblivion. If you feel this way then do not be ashamed to seek professional help.

Over time I came to accept  the fundamental truth. There is no changing the past. You cannot see the future.  

But you are here now and you can make choices that enrich your life and for your longer term happiness.  You can decide to have a very merry Christmas – whether single or not.

#1 Define what it means to have a Happy Christmas.

The truth is – we often compromise with our loved ones at Christmas.  Perhaps you always went to ‘hers’, Maybe he always insisted on putting the star on the tree. Perhaps you always had to cook and entertain the same people. Maybe she always mocked the need to spend the entire day in a Christmas jumper.

Well, here is the good news.

You can have exactly the Christmas you want.

I suggest starting by making your own list.  First, write all the things you will miss about Christmas with your ex.  Yes, this is painful but bear with me. Secondly, write all the things that you wanted to do – but never did.

Go through your list and do your best to give yourself everything on that list.

Buy yourself an advent calendar. Decorate the tree how you want. Take yourself to a beach if you want to.  Sing your heart out at a carol concert.

Just indulge that little boy or girl inside who is really in need of a lot of love right now.

Define what makes you happy - then go do it!

Define what makes you happy – then go do it!

#2 Find your own way to give to those you love

Separation does not just impact on your emotions, but your finances too.  Having to find a new place, pay childcare etc, often means you cannot be as generous with gifts as you once were.  

Now is the perfect time to let any creative talents shine.

Maybe you have taken beautiful photos on your phone – in which case give them to your friends as a gift.  Maybe you have green fingers and can give home-grown flowers to your nearest and dearest. Make cakes, or layer cake ingredients in jars for a pretty gift.  Perhaps write a thoughtful letter to those who have supported you. Make decorations for those you love. Perhaps give a second hand book or movie you loved to someone you know you will enjoy it.

True friends will understand this, and unleashing your creative side will give you a happy glow.

#3 Get that Christmas Connection.

It can be easy to get grinch-like if you are feeling lonely – but here is the newsflash.  You are not the only person who is single at Christmas.

Firstly, you may find that a flurry of invites come through your door.  

No one likes the idea of someone spending Christmas alone. Over the last few years my friends have ignored my protests and bundled me into the back of a fiesta.  Thereafter I spend the day being force-fed amazing food whilst my friends children let you play with their toys.  I am eternally grateful for my friends. 

Other single friends may suggest a Christmas dinner together.

Go to a fancy restaurant or take a dish round to your friends.  Get merry and laugh. Distance is not an issue either! I have skyped friends in the USA whilst they are preparing dinner.

Don’t forget that there are charities that work all year round – and are desperate for volunteers.  Helping out at a soup kitchen or visiting lonely pensioners can be rewarding for all involved. It also is extremely humbling so hear how much hope and gratitude  people living in the worse possible circumstances have.

#4 Just remember – It is just one day.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

I am not going to pretend it’s not tough at times, even years later.  But it is just one day. Wipe your tears-and the slate – clean. Think ahead to what you want your future to look like.  

Do you want to relieve the pain of what may have passed, or do you want to give yourself a gift of a bright and happy life?

Do you want to laugh more?  Have more fun? Try new activities?  Maybe meet new people? There is nothing to stop you.

You can commit now to making each and every day special.

You never know – it may mean you get to kiss that special someone under the Mistletoe.

But in the meantime. Have a Happy Single-Mas!!

P.s You are still loved, and will be fine I promise. You just need to realise that. 

An Open Letter to Britain’s Loneliest Woman

Emily Fox, 32, describes herself as Britain's Loneliest Woman. (c) Caters

Emily Fox, 32, describes herself as Britain’s Loneliest Woman. (c) Caters

Yesterday I read about Emily Fox, a 32 year old single mum who has dubbed herself Britain’s Loneliest Woman.  The message that it is not just the elderly that suffer from loneliness resonated with many people across the world.  My heart broke when I read her story, so I wanted to write an open letter to her, and anyone else who may feel exactly the same.

Dear Emily.

It takes great courage to admit that you are lonely, and to reach out to people in order to make friends.

I know this, because I have been there too.

Just over 10 years ago, my marriage broke down and I moved halfway across the world from Australia to the UK.  A  father of two and in my thirties,  I didn’t know a single soul in Manchester. 

I could have easily isolated myself and simply gone about my routine.  

Get up, work, watch TV, have a drink, go to bed. Repeat.

Emily says shopping is the only chance she gets to interact with others. But it need not be that way  (c) Caters.

Emily says shopping is the only chance she gets to interact with others. But it need not be that way (c) Caters.

I know many people that shut out their loneliness by doing the same thing.

But I didn’t.  Instead I decided that I was being given a clean slate to find myself and build a dream life.

I know it can be difficult socialising when you have children.

Family comes first in my book. You have three beautiful children, and dedicate your time to them, but there are still lots of things you can do.

You are not the first parent to crave adult conversation, and you will not be the last.

 Family fun days, inviting other parents out for a coffee, or organising a walk in the park with dogs and children will enhance your life and theirs. Even when you are doing the weekly shop, go with someone and chat over the groceries.

Reaching out is the first step.

I know since sharing your story, lots of people have reached out to connect with you.  So your courage in speaking up is already leading you down the path to fulfilling friendships.

Social Media is great for finding like-minded individuals.  Personally, I find that fulfilling friendships are formed from meeting in person. There is something really special when you find a connection with someone who laughs with you and shares your passion in life.

I found great friends  (and my dream career) by reaching out to others.

I found great friends (and my dream career) by reaching out to others.

I put an advert up inviting other professionals to join me for a drink.

“What if no one showed up?”  But they did.  Men. Women. Every single one of them just like you and I.  Craving connection and friendship with others.

My new friends and I went from our weekly Friday night at the pub, to going abseiling in wales to going on holiday together.  I loved every minute.

It was how I founded Social Circle.  Now I have my dream career helping people, just like you, meet new people and find new friends.  I even found the love of my life this way.

Finding friends need not be difficult.  You just have to know where to look.

Finding friends need not be difficult. You just have to know where to look.

It is important to carve out time in your diary for you.

I know you say you don’t have much support, but it is out there. Whether it is an hour or two, use your family, willing friends or a childminder to give you a much-needed couple of hours break from the kids.  Use that time to try out new activities and do the things you have always wanted to do. Don’t feel guilty (or let anyone make you feel that way). Taking time for you is important and benefits the whole family.

Always wanted to paint? Look for art workshops and PopUp painting in your area.

Want to travel?  Learn a language of a country you want to visit.

I promise you will inevitably start making friends with people who share your passion.   

Do you fancy letting your hair down and going out for a drink with a few adults?   There are plenty of ways you can achieve. Start looking for groups like Social Circle – or do what I did. Start your own.

I wish you the best of luck Emily, now is the time for a glorious new beginning filled with friendship and fun.

Lots of Love.

Steve x