Collaborative Family Law And Mediation Services

Surviving divorce during the holidays

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Collaborative Divorce, Divorce Mediation |

The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time, but for many people it isn’t. Feelings of sadness and loneliness are common if you experienced a loss or major life change over the past year, and the extra activity during the season can cause you to feel stressed, anxious and angry on top of it.

If the major change in your life is a divorce, you are not alone. Divorce statistics show that although the divorce rate has recently decreased, approximately half of all first marriages still end in divorce, with that rate increasing for additional marriages.

One reason the holidays may be so difficult during or after a divorce, especially the first year, is because you are constantly reminded of the way your life used to be and how different it is now. Here are some tips to help you get through this time.

Do not isolate yourself

You might want to be alone, but connecting with other people is one of the best ways to handle negative emotions. If you truly feel like being alone is what you need, do not feel guilty for turning down invitations to see friends or attend holiday gatherings.

However, if you find your mental health declining when you are alone over the holidays, contact a friend or family member. If no one is available, talk with a counselor or therapist with experience helping people through a divorce.

Consider volunteering your time to a non-profit organization or charity. This could include serving at a homeless shelter or helping prepare meals at a food bank.

Practice self-care

Make taking care of yourself a bigger priority over the holidays. Focus on getting enough sleep and exercise, eating healthy and avoiding too much alcohol.

The holidays are a tempting time to forget or minimize self-care because they are often seen as a time of indulgence, but overeating, drinking too much or engaging in other bad habits are only going to make your situation worse. Even shopping too much can cause you post-holiday financial problems, which you likely do not need during or after a divorce.

Stop thinking about your divorce, for now

If you are still in the midst of the divorce process, try to focus your thoughts away from the divorce until after the holidays. Most court proceedings and legal processes slow down around the holidays and pick back up in January.

Let yourself do the same. This will allow you to concentrate on your divorce in January with a clear mind.

When children are involved

If you have children with your ex, remember that your goal should be continuing to make good holiday memories for them. Learn healthy ways to communicate with your ex and put any lingering negative emotions aside for the sake of your children.

Do not take your emotions out on your children or let them get in the way of your children’s holidays. The divorce is between you and your spouse only. Foster a close relationship between your children and ex, so the children understand that even if you are no longer together, each parent still loves them.

Finally, use the New Year to set goals and make new plans. We do not always have control over what happens in our life, but we can control how we handle it.