Creating picture-perfect holiday family memories is no doubt stressful. But what happens when your picture-perfect family has split apart?
While this time of year is already met with immense anxiety, the added pressures of going through a divorce can be downright excruciating. We get it.
The holidays may indeed look a little different for those going through a separation or divorce, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make lasting memories. Our advice is to take a break from your marital woes this holiday season.
Below are top-rated tips for helping you not only survive the holidays while divorcing but make the best of this time!
Plan Shared Time
First up, make a plan early on. When kids are involved, creating a plan far in advance can help minimize stress and set expectations. No matter what your ex has done in the past, make it your goal to create a happy holiday.
This might mean giving in a little even when you don’t want to (even if your ex doesn’t deserve it). Deciding to put down your weapons and giving a bit more than you want will ultimately give you the gift of peace.
Adopt a Flexible Mindset
Next, try to be flexible. Plans don’t always pan out the way you intend. While frustrating, keep in mind the big picture, which is to find a little joy. This may require you to be flexible regarding last-minute changes or even when holidays are celebrated.
Thanksgiving dinner, for example, doesn’t have to take place on the fourth Thursday of November. If celebrating with your family is what matters, but you’re splitting your time with the kids, maybe you can celebrate the Saturday before.
If we’ve learned anything from the last year, it’s that traditions are important. Still, flexibility can turn bad situations into manageable ones (many of us never imagined having Thanksgiving over a zoom call, but we did what we could).
A little patience can go a long way. Celebrating the holidays on your own for the first time in years can be overwhelming. Whether this means facing family members on your own or preparing the family dinner by yourself, a little patience will go a long way toward making this time of year more enjoyable than you might believe.
Let Happiness Happen
Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster for many, as are the holidays. When combined, you may be looking at one heck of a ride! Permit yourself to feel what comes your way. And in the moments you can find happiness, enjoy the feeling.
Open up to Loved Ones
While you may feel what you’re going through is apparent to everyone around you, people aren’t mindreaders. And that’s ok. But that means you may have to open up to those around you and share what you need from them. It may be a little space or less judgment. Whatever it is, simply make your needs known so your loved ones can help.
Simplify Old Traditions
This probably isn’t the year to go all out when it comes to traditions. Pick a few of your favorite holiday activities and think of ways to simplify them. Love decorating the tree? Get a small one this year. Not only might your budget be tighter than usual, living up to ideals can create unnecessary stress.
Make New Traditions
This is the perfect time to start a brand new tradition. Maybe the kids will be with your ex on a day you’d typically all be together. Treat yourself to a special day, or plan something new to do with the kids on a different day.
Don’t Spend the Holidays Alone
It can be tempting to bundle up and hide under the covers during your first holiday solo but resist the urge. There’s no reason to punish yourself. Alone time can be a gift, but it can also lead to loneliness and depression. If you find yourself alone more than you want to be, reach out to friends. Organize a holiday get-together, volunteer at a shelter, do whatever you can to take yourself out of your situation.
If you’re dreading this holiday season, take things one day at a time. All too often, divorcing couples get caught up in issues like who is buying what or dividing up the holidays. Instead, remind yourself that change can be good, and you can find joy even in the darkest times.
We understand the holidays can highlight already tense situations. We’re here to help you understand the divorce process from start to finish as you navigate the challenging emotions divorcing during the holidays can bring. Allow our team of experienced divorce attorneys to help lighten your load this holiday season. Call us if you would like help establishing a parenting plan that will serve your family well over the holidays and beyond.