Going through a divorce is stressful enough, but when the holidays roll around the stress can be greatly intensified. Who will the children spend the holidays with? How will you cope with the emphasis on family during this time of year, when yours is broken up? If you are newly divorced or going through the process of divorce, you may wonder how you are going to survive the holidays this year. Feelings of loneliness, loss, and sadness are all too common in this situation.
At Divorce With Dignity, we understand going through a divorce can be difficult, especially during the holidays. We’ve been there. And we have some suggestions about how to survive the holidays with a positive outlook despite your divorce.
Celebrate with your children
Reassure your children that holiday celebrations will continue, but they will be different. They may be spending Thanksgiving Day with one parent, and a second Thanksgiving on Friday or Saturday with the other parent. Same with Hannukah, Christmas, or Kwanza. Holiday rituals and traditions may need to be updated for your new circumstances – brainstorm together for ideas to create new traditions.
Celebrate with other family members
Yes, you are going through a divorce, but you still have a family. Spend time with some relatives you enjoy and bask in their support and comfort.
Celebrate with your friends
Although you might feel like laying low because you’re not in a celebratory mood during or after a divorce, keep in mind that being with friends can boost your spirits and take your mind off negative aspects of life. Go ahead and accept that invitation to Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party, or invite people over to your house for a potluck.
Celebrate with others as a volunteer
Sometimes doing something to cheer up others can have the same effect on you. Volunteer to serve meals at a community Thanksgiving meal, or to help with a party at a senior center, hospital, or homeless shelter. Or, you might help with wrapping or distributing holiday presents for needy children.
Celebrate with yourself
Do something special for yourself – take time to do things that make you happy. Schedule a massage or a spa day. Take a walk in a beautiful nature area. Explore a good bookstore and spend some time reading in a cozy coffee house. Taking care of yourself and doing something that makes you feel nurtured is a great way to show love for yourself.
You can give yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just something you’ve been wanting for awhile – a new book, flowers for your table, or maybe a nap! Give yourself permission to pamper yourself during this stressful time – sleep more, relax more. Why not take a weekend getaway, or explore a local attraction you’ve always meant to see?
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that divorce does not mean no more happy holidays. Things will be different, certainly, but you can make a fresh start and establish new traditions to enjoy. Be kind to yourself. You will get through the holidays in spite of divorce, and they can still be merry and bright.
If you feel you need a little extra help in learning how to survive the holidays during or after a divorce, you may want to consider joining a divorce support group, or talking with a counselor. At Divorce With Dignity, we not only help you get through the process of divorce, we can refer you to a support group, to a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with the emotional effects of divorce, or to a life-after-divorce coach who can help you discover how to create a new and better life. Contact us today to see how we can help you on your journey through divorce – with peace and dignity.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.