When you are getting divorced or separated, a torrent of mixed emotions, such as anger, relief, and worry are likely to overwhelm you. It gets harder when the holiday season is approaching. While everyone else around you is making grand plans for family gatherings and entertaining guests during this “most joyous time of the year,” you may be struggling to cope with the aftermath of a divorce. Here are some insightful tips that should help you handle the holiday season fairly well when you are getting divorced.
Keep Reasonable Expectations
The moment you lower your expectations from the holiday season and recognize that it’s not going to be easy for you, you will set yourself up for dealing with it boldly. Do not try to over-pamper yourself or your kids by buying expensive gifts or planning a luxury vacation that you cannot afford.
You don’t even need to invite dozens of friends and family members over for a lavish holiday dinner (unless you truly want to do it). It might make more sense to keep things simple, spend time with your loved ones, begin a new holiday tradition, and just do what you want without trying to have a “perfect” holiday.
Give Yourself Time to Process Your Emotions
Do not blame yourself if you are finding it hard to control your emotions or feeling melancholic as your mind goes through a roller-coaster of past holiday memories. It is perfectly normal to feel this way and experience loneliness during this time of the year when you are newly separated or divorced.
If necessary, consider sharing your feelings with a trusted spiritual leader in your community, or consult a professional therapist. Confide in your friends and family and enlist their support during this time. It is best not to isolate yourself or go into a shell, and rather engage positively with people who care for you while you cope with your split during the holidays.
Prioritize Your Kids’ Well-Being
Remember that it’s not just you who is having a hard time as the holidays approach. Your kids are most likely going through the same struggle as they try to shut their mind off from how wonderful their previous years’ holidays have been. Shift focus from yourself to your children, and this will give you renewed strength and energy.
Make sure the co-parenting schedule for holidays is thoroughly worked out well in advance. Put the logistics and details in writing regarding which parent will be with the kids on which days, and be on the same page with the co-parent on these issues.
Reach Out and Help Others in the Community
If children are not spending the holiday with you, you could turn your focus to people in the community who are less fortunate than you. Reach out to an elderly neighbor who needs company, or spend time with underprivileged kids to add meaningful value to your holiday season.
Explore the idea of helping out with the holiday celebrations at your local community organization or place of worship. A positive attitude will enable you to experience the holidays with courage and resolve.