I see you preparing for the holidays with your head down.

Your heart broken. Your tears frozen.

Your body in agony.

The holidays can have this effect.

There is no holiday cheer for the bereaved, the lonely and the broken hearted.

As a matter of fact, the holidays make death, divorce and all the losses much worse.

I remember how it was every time I heard the carolers.

I saw the perfect families with their shopping bags hanging out in the decorated streets and I wanted to scream.

I was invisible.

I was alone.

And I know millions of people around the world feel this way this week.

What I am about to ask of you next might come as a surprise.

You must start from that place of invisibility.

You must start from the bitterness and the loneliness.

You need to take the first step from that lonely and painful place, as this is where a second chance can take place, in the most difficult moment.

Some of the things I will suggest might be the complete opposite to what you have been told to do. But this list just might change your life this holiday season:

  1. Make this the most untraditional holiday you have ever had. If you normally celebrate Christmas with the tree, the big dinner and the works, try something completely different this year. Go to the beach instead or stay in bed all day if you need to. Choose your way for the holidays and don’t feel guilty. This is YOUR life. (Click to Tweet!)
  2. Speak the truth every day this week. Holding it in because it’s the holidays will not help you make space for what the future is waiting to gift you. Let it out. Scream it if you have to. It is your voice.
  3. Make a wish during the holidays, but don’t stop there! Take one small action to make that wish come true. Don’t wait for the New Year. That is when you will start seeing the impossible become possible. Time does not heal all wounds, action does.
  4. Change something inside your house instead of holiday decorations. It can be as big as painting the walls or as small as moving the couch to face the other way. Shift something.
  5. If you get invited to dinner and you don’t feel like going, say NO thank you and go and do whatever you want. This will make you feel more in control.
  6. Give something of yourself every day, even if you are the one who needs it the most. Give. Give. Give. You want to stay in and watch movies…give that to yourself. It starts from the smallest and simplest things.
  7. Say, “I love you,” when you look at yourself in the mirror every morning and smile, even if you do not feel like it. This can be the hardest thing on the list, but it is the most important. I even find it hard to do this one.
  8. Stop buying gifts for people you don’t care about. As a matter of fact, if you don’t feel like buying gifts don’t buy them. Don’t be trapped in that fake, polite space after loss. You don’t need this pressure. Free yourself from the gift expectations and send an email to the people in your life telling them you are going to do the holidays differently this year.
  9. Remember, it is just 10 days of craziness and you have survived much worse, you can do this.
  10. Buy something for yourself that is very unlike you. Building your new identity can start as a holiday gift to yourself.

Above all find a moment to say a prayer for yourself.

And in that prayer ask for what you need not just for the holidays but for every day after that.

Be yourself next week. Even if it means people won’t like that you did not show up to dinner with a perfect gift and a smile on your face.

I am walking with you during the holidays and beyond.