Last year, my husband was deployed during the holidays. So this year we’ve tried to do every event and tradition we could to make up for lost time. Having your spouse around for those special moments is something that’s easy to take for granted. Like going to your local Starbucks for a holiday drink while blasting the Christmas tunes. I missed that so much last year–the little things.
Not only that, but my father had just died in a tragic accident a few months before and my family was across the country on the west coast. We exhausted traveling and savings funds from back and forth traveling associated with my dad’s passing, so traveling for the holidays with four kiddos and myself was just not feasible at that time.
Was it a bummer? Yes. But I knew I had to do what most forget about: remember my mindset. Everyone knows ‘mind over matter’ but most forget about it. We easily think about all the things going wrong in our lives, and get into a funk, but taking the time to think of all I was truly happy and grateful for really got me through what could’ve been a hard holiday season.
We hear it all the time, and it becomes cliché to us, but having a positive mindset really goes a long way. I kept busy with my kids doing holiday crafts, taking them out for some cocoa while I got in my caffeine, and keeping up with our holiday traditions. And while it was hard at times to think about my father’s passing, missing family, and my husband not being home, everytime I found my thoughts going astray, I redirected them to the highlights of my life–like being able to Skype my husband frequently, and other things I am grateful for. And I can’t emphasize enough what a difference it truly does make.
If you find yourself alone this holiday season, here are some tips that might make it easier:
Make a daily gratitude list. This doesn’t have to be extensive, just focus on some things you’re thankful for that day to your day off right.
Stick to some holiday traditions. Stay consistent with when you decorate, or what you do on Hannukah, Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve. Not only does it keep you busy, but it helps the days go by just a little bit quicker.
Facetime or video calls with your spouse or family. Getting to see loved ones face-to-face (even on video!) during key holidays, like on Christmas Day, helps make them feel close by. And it’s a fun way to see what they’re doing to celebrate!
Treat yourself to the little things. Do something that makes your day a little brighter during this festive season…like a holiday drink! Make some hot cocoa with the kids, mull some apple cider, or grab a Peppermint Latte at Starbucks to get in the holiday spirit.
Being without your spouse or loved ones can be hard enough at any time of the year. The holidays always seem a little more lonesome. These tips help me make it through the holidays last year without the hubby and away from family. Maybe some of these suggestions will help you, too!
Have you been alone on the holidays before? What did you do to make it through? Share your tips!
Posted by Amber Budzynski, military spouse and NMFA Volunteer