The holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re like most people going through divorce, you’re not exactly looking forward to them.
But you can still enjoy this holiday season – and these seven tips can help take away the dread, even if you’re right in the middle of your divorce.
7 Tips for Surviving the Holidays During Divorce
For many people, part of the dread of divorce comes from no longer sharing tradition with a former spouse; for others, it’s just added stress during an already-tough time. No matter which camp you fall into – or if you’re in both, or another entirely – these seven tips for surviving the holidays during divorce can help you through.
1. Make new family traditions.
Everything changes during divorce, whether or not you have children. But if you do have children, it’s important that you try to blend the family traditions of yesteryear in with your new traditions. Even if it’s something small – like watching a special movie on Thanksgiving morning or creating family handprints on Christmas Eve – it’s important to create something that you and your children can share in the coming years.
2. Ditch the guilt.
A lot of parents feel guilty about changing the holidays for the kids – but don’t become one of them. Different isn’t wrong; it’s just different. If your kids see you lamenting what’s changed and not enjoying the holidays, they’ll take that on themselves. However, when they see you embracing the new traditions and enjoying yourself just by being with them, they won’t be able to help enjoying themselves, too.
3. Try to cooperate with your ex.
You and your ex both have the same goal for your children: You want them to enjoy the holidays, the time off school, and time with family and friends. If you can, try to cooperate as much as you can. If you plan on spending time with extended family, make time for both – that way, your kids get to see all the grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other family members they love, and they’ll get the most from every holiday. Maybe you’ll both spend time with the kids on Christmas, or you’ll alternate holidays; no matter what you decide, it’ll be the right thing as long as you both have your kids’ best interests in mind.
4. Don’t spend the holidays alone.
If you’re the ruminating type (and sometimes even if you’re not), one of the worst things you can do is spend the holidays alone. Don’t avoid your family and friends, especially during your first holidays during or after the divorce. Make plans with people you care about, whether or not you have children. You can invite family, friends and coworkers to your house or find a support group, or even better: You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, bring food to people who need it, or do something else to give back to the community. That way, you won’t be alone with your thoughts – and you’ll do some good for others, too.
5. Embrace what you love about the holidays.
Figure out what puts you in the mood to celebrate – Christmas music, decorating, planning menus – and dive into it with your whole heart. See what else you can do to squeeze all the enjoyment you can out of the holiday season!
7. Take one holiday at a time.
The holidays seem overwhelming in October, but realistically, they’re pretty spread out (other than Christmas and New Year’s Eve). Only think about one holiday at a time, even if it seems like a huge blur. Try not to multi-task; besides, if this is your first or second holiday during or after divorce, you’ll probably want to spread things out to occupy your time.
8. Keep the ghosts of holidays past where they belong: in the past.
Sure, we all reminisce during the holidays – but this year, avoid visiting places where you have holiday memories that involve your ex. Try to avoid getting sucked into your memories of what used to be and start making new memories for your even better future.
Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Lawyer?
If you’re contemplating divorce, you’re ready to file, or your ex has already filed, call us at (209) 989-4425 or get in touch with us online to talk to a lawyer who can help today. We’ll help you with every aspect of your divorce, from child custody and child support to alimony and property division.