The blues ain’t nothin’ but a pain in your heart
When you get a bad start, you and your man have to part
I ain’t gonna just sit around and cry
Lady Sings the Blues, Billie Holiday
It’s Labor Day on Monday – not a religious or sentimental holiday – and yet, I’m wondering if I’ll have the holiday blues. What single person doesn’t know about this affliction?
Since my separation and divorce, I’ve lived through 32 major holidays — Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah, New Year’s Eve/Day and Valentine’s Day. This will be the 33rd.
And that’s the key, isn’t it? I lived through them.
Some may argue that Valentine’s Day isn’t a major holiday but when you’re separated, divorced, or frustrated by the single dating life, a lack of a Valentine honey can be depressing.
And Labor Day always seems to remind me of intact family and relationship celebrations.
But I’m not going to wallow here. I’m going to tell you about some good post separation/divorce holidays I HAVE had and give you an action plan to prevent or at least help you cope with the blues. While we discuss this plan, let’s have some of Tori Avey’s Black-eyed pea burgers.
Last Valentine’s Day was the first one since my divorce in which I had a date. It was a good thing since I had recently endured a breakup with Mr. L, a man I had been seeing.
I wasn’t head over heels in love with my Valentine’s date and we only went out once after that but on February 14 we were both in the mood for a romantic celebration. We went to dinner and a play. He brought me chocolates and wore a dapper suit. I wore a red dress. Despite the freezing cold and snow, we had a good time.
The Valentine’s date was preceded by Hanukah and New Year’s Eve celebrations with family and Mr. L (even though we were too new for a “family meet.”) So I got a taste of the type of celebration I had been craving – a mix of family and a romantic interest. And that was a good feeling – even if I couldn’t duplicate it on every holiday. It provided hope and a sense that there was a “turnaround” in the way life events could play out for me as a single woman.
So what can one do to prevent or lessen the holiday blues? It’s not DNA sequencing science and hopefully you will get some new ideas or start thinking of your own tactics. (Side note: Since Labor Day is the day after tomorrow, some of these tips will be more useful to you for future holidays.)
12 Tips to Prevent the Holiday Blues:
- Make plans. In advance. At least a week before the holiday, reach out to friends or any family living locally to see if they can get together for an evening out, unless you are planning to entertain. See Tip #2.
- Host a gathering – whether dinner or a game night (on TV or a board game). Make sure to invite your single friends who may also suffer from the holiday blues.
- If you’re feeling brave, plan to get out of town on a solo travel adventure. Check out these resources for ideas and possible companions:
- Sign up for a Meetup event. The closer it gets to a holiday, the more Meetup activities are scheduled. You’re not the only one at risk of the holiday blues.
- Commit to an engrossing project:
- Organize your music downloads
- Create a new music mix file for the gym
- Purge and clean out your closet and pack up stuff to give away or sell
- Organize photos into albums
- If weather allows, plant or weed a garden
- If you enjoy arts and/or crafts, commit to a one or two-day project. Plan in advance and get any needed materials. Listen to music, have a glass of wine, and create!
- Plan a reading or TV series marathon. Make sure it’s a book or show that will transport you. Periodic escapism is healthy.
- If stores are open, shop. Retail therapy in moderation and within budget is therapeutic. You will be where people are even if you don’t know them and that might make you feel better.
- Work on improving or refreshing your dating profile. Join a new dating site or rejoin a site you cancelled because no one was on it. New guys are always joining. And holiday weekends are active times for online daters, perhaps because everyone has a touch of holiday blues. Consider joining a crazy niche dating site you haven’t tried such as Bristlr.
- Stay up late and watch old romantic movies. Throw caution to the wind and rent a pay per view film.
- Schedule a massage the day before a holiday (unless you can get one ON the holiday). A good massage = lovely.
- Go to the gym and exercise like crazy. You won’t be the only one there. Make those endorphins work overtime.
Whatever you do, don’t pay bills, organize old family photos (that include ones with your –ex), or do anything that is not fun and uplifting.
Let me know if you ever get the holiday blues and share ways you cope.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating,