The holidays are supposed to be a celebration with family and friends. However, once a divorce is finalized, it is extremely difficult to be joyful and merry about the season. On top of managing holiday demands such as buying gifts, holiday parties and school programs, you need to help your children cope because of the loss of the family unit. Although it may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, it is still possible to keep the holiday cheer alive after divorce.
The following are several ways you can survive the holidays during divorce:
- Plan ahead with your ex-spouse – To avoid any miscommunications and misunderstandings in regard to the holiday schedule, create a plan with your spouse. Be flexible and open to compromise, as long as the plan seems fair. For example, if your ex has the kids for Christmas, you can have them for New Year’s and perhaps Christmas next year. Additionally, you don’t have to celebrate only on that specific day, perhaps your kids will enjoy having double the holidays. If you and your ex-spouse are experiencing difficulties planning, ensure you avoid fighting in front of the children.
- Reach out to family and friends – If you need help making the holidays merrier after divorce, do not be afraid to ask for help. Rely on your support system of friends and family to pull you out of the doldrums of divorce and include them in your holiday celebration. You do not have to go through the season alone.
- Create new traditions – There may be certain holiday traditions that are not possible now that you’re divorced. Furthermore, old traditions that were once wonderful could stir up negative emotions. View this as an opportunity to tweak them or create new ones entirely. Allow your kids to brainstorm ideas for celebrating the holidays in a new way.
- Take a trip – If you just want to escape the constant reminders of the life you once knew, schedule a long vacation to visit distant family members or go to an exotic location.
- Allow your children to feel sad – Just because you are doing your best to keep the holiday spirit alive, doesn’t mean your children always be happy. If they feel sad, do not attempt to force them to feel better. Instead, allow them to express themselves and acknowledge that their voices are heard.
- Take care of yourself – The demand of the season, cold weather, and the sadness of divorce can take its toll physically and emotionally. Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and even workout in order to feel better. Drowning your sorrows by overeating or drinking too much alcohol can result in more problems. If your children see that you are taking care of yourself, they may be inspired to do the same.
- Be grateful – While it’s easy to be depressed, you can appreciate the fact that you have a new lease on life. Take this time to be thankful for your children, your support system, and a chance to start over.