If you are divorced or goinf through a divorce the upcoming holidays can be an unsettling and frustrating time. In working with families dealing with divorce for over fifteen years, I’d like to offer some observations to helpd make this time easier for you and your children.
Divorce changes everything. And nothing.
Navigating the holidays and all of the related expectations alone for the first time can be daunting. Most likley, even during the difficult times of the marriage, there was a division of labor. Now it feels like it’s all an your shoudlers. Rather than feeling overwhelemed, seize the opportunity to do the holidays your own way. Hold on to your favorite holiday traditions but feel free to make new ones.
If you have children, be sure to work out your holdiay parenting time. Work with your ex-spouse to coordinate gifts for the children. No need to double up on anything. Do what you can to keep the focus on the children. Afterall, that’s where it should be.
Althogh you may be dealing with new stresses, this is nothign new. If you think back, the holidays were always a stressful time. Things are not worse “this year” because of the divorce. Don’t let it be an anchor that weighs you down. How you handle the stress and the changes will set the tone for your children and other family members.
Cut yourself some slack
There will be some tough times. No matter how hard you try, something will fall through the cracks. Don’t expect too much from yourself. Don’t try to hold it all together all the time. Set aside some time for yourself. Lean on family or a good friend.
Use the holidays to refocus your priorities
There is still much to enjoy: children, family, friends, a snowy afternoon. Focus your energy there. With the holidays comes a literal turning of the calendar page. Make the most of the new year and the opportunities that will undoubtedly present themselves. Learn something new. Travel. Challenge yourself. Taking these little steps can be rewarding a fulfilling.