The Holiday Season: During and After Divorce

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The holiday season is stressful for many, often requiring so much time and energy we find ourselves enduring this time instead of enjoying the beauty of the season.  Add a recent divorce or going through the divorce process to this time of year, and it can become difficult to feel like celebrating at all. Especially when dealing with a divorce, it is important to hold on to some traditions and remember that the holidays are about peace, sharing, gratitude and love. All things that are most needed in times of distress. The way that you spend the holidays may change after divorce, but over time new traditions and memories will be created. 

Keep it Simple

Simplifying your holiday season in stressful times is an important goal. Start by accepting a friend or family member’s offer to prepare the holiday meal, narrowing down your gift-giving list, bringing out only your favorite holiday decorations, and using downtime for yourself instead of over scheduling.  After a divorce is a perfect time to consider what YOU want to prioritize during the holidays, and focus on only those things.

Many times, divorce means a tighter budget, which can lead to added anxiety during this time of year. However, your gifts of time and attention are the most valuable you can give. Make a budget for gifts you want to purchase, and don’t overspend. Remember what truly matters this holiday season.

Consistency for Children

If you have children, it’s even more important to focus on your emotional and physical health during this time of year. Children of divorced parents benefit from efforts made to keep their lives and schedules consistent. As hard as it can be in times of stress, maintaining familiar holiday traditions as well as creating new ones will benefit your entire family.

When divorced parents share parenting time during the holidays, it is necessary to be flexible and patient.  Inevitably, there will be a holiday when the children are scheduled to be with your ex-spouse. These changes take time to become accustomed to, but cooperating and avoiding conflict is best for everyone.

Reach Out to Others

Whether or not you have children, if you find yourself without plans for the holiday, that doesn’t mean you must spend it alone. It is in your best interest to accept an invitation from a good friend, or perhaps to seek out an opportunity to be of assistance to someone in need. Use your time to do something that brings joy to you.

When recently divorced or going through the divorce process, the holiday season can seem overwhelming. Divorce will bring change, but the true meaning of the holidays will not disappear. This season, focus your time and energy on things that are important to you.