Divorce & the holiday season: Survival tips to consider

A few weeks ago, we wrote about a difficult situation that many Americans face over the holidays. If you are currently going through or have recently gone through a divorce, child custody dispute, remarriage or any other family change, the holidays can be a painful and stressful reminder of the ways things used to be. They can also make the current holiday feel foreign by comparison.

Although our previous post discussed Thanksgiving, this is a problem that can easily continue through, Christmas, New Year’s and any other holidays you may celebrate around this time of year. Thankfully, there are ways to survive and even thrive during the holidays despite the family law issues you may have recently experienced. In today’s post, we’ll specifically discuss divorce stress around the holidays.

Perhaps the best way to get through the holiday season is to prepare in advance, including social, emotional and mental preparations. If you go into the holidays with dread and expecting the worst, this attitude will likely be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, if you are expecting things to be the way they have always been in the past, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Reasonable but positive expectations are likely the best way to ensure that you enjoy the holidays.

If your divorce means that you could end up spending the holidays alone, there’s still time to change your plans. Reach out to family and friends, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be invited to join the celebrations others are having. Isolating is definitely something you should avoid, especially if you are already feeling depressed and lonely.

Finally, you should change your holiday to-do list in whatever way is going to help you this year. Maybe you are known for being a generous gift giver but have neither the energy nor the extra money this year. It’s perfectly fine to scale back right now. You can do your shopping online and perhaps send gifts through the mail rather than hand-wrapping and delivering gifts personally. You can even skip gifts altogether if that’s what you need to do.

The holidays are a time for joy and celebration, but that might look and feel very different just after a divorce. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do this year to make peace with the holidays.

Source: The Huffington Post, “You Can Survive the Holidays During Your Divorce,” Honoree Corder, Nov. 25, 2014

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