Surviving the Holidays After a Divorce
Holidays can be overwhelming even if you have not recently gone through a divorce. If you are newly divorced during the holidays, here are some tips to survive the season.
Divorce changes everything. The longer you were married, the more you would notice the change. However, change doesn’t have to be bad. Embracing change can sometimes make transitioning through a divorce an easier task.
Realizing that divorce means change can be especially difficult during the holidays. So many of our activities are wrapped up in spending time with certain people, that we dread the idea of spending the holidays differently. Sometimes, the stress of the holiday combined with the stress of divorce makes the holidays worse, even if we don’t think we will miss our usual activities.
Here are some tips for surviving the holidays following a divorce.
Make New Family Traditions
Making new traditions is especially important if you have children. You can keep some of the old traditions, but create new ones so the children see that while you are no longer married to their other parent, you still value special time with them. If it’s important to them to watch a specific movie during the holidays, do it with something new, like baking cookies to eat while you watch.
Cooperate With Your Ex as Much as Possible
Both of you want your children to have a happy holiday season. As much as possible, cooperate with your ex to create a joyful holiday. Work together to create a holiday plan within your parenting plan, so you both know how to schedule your time with the children. Ensure that the children still see the people they love so they don’t feel they’ve missed out on something important to them.
Let Go of the Guilt
Parents often allow themselves to feel guilty because their choice to divorce changes the holidays for their children. Different activities and new traditions aren’t wrong or bad, just new and different. If your children see you upset about the changes, they could start blaming themselves for everything, including the divorce.
Don’t Be Alone for the Holidays
You don’t want to dwell on the what-ifs and if-onlys regarding how you would have spent the holiday season. Instead, make plans with people you care about the most, regardless of whether you have children or live alone. This could be the year to have coworkers over for a movie marathon and a finger food tasting. Another good way to avoid being alone is to volunteer, perhaps by donating time and energy to a soup kitchen or other charitable event.
Remember What You Love About the Holidays
Whether it’s listening to Christmas music or baking sugar cookies and trimming the tree, decide what is your favorite part of the holidays. Then, embrace that element wholeheartedly and enjoy yourself while you do the activity. Even if you have to start slowly, finding new ways to make memories and enjoy various things will help you learn to move forward on your own.
Enjoy One Holiday at a Time
You can feel quite overwhelmed if you think of all the holidays together. However, if you think of one holiday at a time, they become easier to manage. Don’t multitask, at least not yet. You might be able to do that when you have been divorced for years, but when the divorce is brand-new, spreading the tasks out will help you occupy your time without dwelling on what’s missing.
Leave the Ghosts of Holidays Past Behind
Reminiscing is often a large part of holiday celebrations. However, reminiscing can bring more pain than happiness in the first few years after a divorce. It’s easy to get sucked into the memories of bygone days. After all, old habits die hard, and when you’ve created traditions around specific places or activities, it’s hard to let go.
Letting go is exactly what you need to do, though. Avoid the Christmas tree farm that was a favorite place for you and your ex. Instead, find new places and new activities to try. Even if you want to do some of the same activities—like searching for the perfect tree on a farm—try doing it at a new place.
Facing a divorce isn’t an easy task. It somehow seems worse when the divorce occurs close to the holidays. However, following a few tips can help you find your holiday spirit. If your divorce is still in process, or you’re struggling to find an appropriate holiday parenting schedule, and you need legal advice, you want to consult with a qualified attorney. Contact the Colorado Legal Group at 720-594-7360.