By Debbie Ceresa for Divorce Support Center

Does Christmas have you singing the blues? The holidays are supposed to be about good times with family, friends, and traditions. Yet, many of us dredge up old feelings from divorce, job loss, money, or even the death of a beloved pet. December has more stimuli than other times of the year, sparking memories that are both happy and sad. The many holiday sounds, traditions, and smells take us down memory lane, but often that road runs two ways, lined with both cherished and painful memories of what once was part of our lives.

Dating Advice for Rebounding From a Solo Holiday Season

While the sparkling lights, decorations, and songs may leave you with an emptiness that magnifies your new single status, here are three pieces of expert dating advice to help you avoid an unhealthy rebound relationship and love and bring the ring back into the holidays and throughout the coming New Year.

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1. Follow your heart: We all need a connection with someone. However, before beginning a new relationship, make sure your heart is telling you it’s right. If you can’t fully commit emotionally to moving forward, you may still be grieving over a previous loss. Resolving feelings following a failed partnership or divorce takes time.

Instead of getting involved with someone, step back and evaluate your unresolved grief. Many of us don’t give ourselves credit when it comes to our instincts. The pain of loss is sharp and lingering, but awareness of your feelings can help you avoid a rebound relationship that will surely complicate your ability to move forward and hurt the other person involved.

2. Take your life on a vacation: That’s right. Take a vacation. Instead of thinking and rethinking your new marital status, start planning a life vacation. Think about how motivated you are while planning a trip! Most of us have so many tasks to get done before leaving, so try looking at your life this way.

Social psychologist Erica B. Slotter, Ph.D. calls it looking for the silver lining. “Focus on the good things that may come out of the end of your relationship and love. Perhaps now you feel you can cook foods your partner never liked or finally take that pottery class,” she writes in the article, “3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself After a Breakup.” “Maybe you can simply feel grateful that a painful relationship is over, and in the future, look for a better one.”

Focus on a to-do list of how you can improve your situation, however small or large, and write it down. Look at your list daily, and promise to check off one item each day. Channel thoughts from past trips that improved your well-being and feel confident about taking this emotional vacation.

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3. Love yourself: You are a wonderful human being! Take a few minutes every day to remind yourself of the many good things you’ve done in your life. “When relationships end, people tend to be very hard on themselves,” writes Slotter. “Stop it. Self-compassion involves viewing yourself with kindness and acceptance, not being overly focused or identified with negative emotions, and acknowledging that many others in the world have likely been where you are now at some point in their lives.”

If you want to listen to my expert dating advice, you should add meditation to your to-do list. It works wonders for your well-being. Along with meditation, a great daily exercise is to tell yourself you’re a good person and deserve to be happy. Think about the many things that would make you feel whole again and concentrate on the positive.

By following your heart, using personal accomplishment and growth to help heal, and remembering to love ourselves, we can all have beautiful views in our lives, one needs only to step back and look.

Debbie is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® and the author to the #1 bestselling memoir A Beautiful View, available on amazon.com. A Beautiful View documents her journey through her husband’s battle with cancer, which ultimately ended with his death. She has experienced grief firsthand and is well equipped to aid others in the recovery process, whether with death or divorce. For more information about Debbie and how to recover from your loss, please visit debbieceresa.com.

For more information about and articles by our Divorce Support Center relationship experts, click here.