The holiday season after a divorce can seem strange, even if it was an amicable parting. You may be feeling a bit alone. If you have children, it can be just as emotional for them as it is for you. Having to balance their emotions and yours is another added stress. But holidays after a divorce can still be fun and full of joy, it just takes a little extra effort.
Don't Shut Yourself Inside
The holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends. If you're feeling lonely or overwhelmed after a divorce, staying home alone can exacerbate those feelings. Make plans with loved ones, friends, and co-workers. Consider finding a support group of people going through similar life changes. Even without the added difficulty of a divorce, the holidays can be notoriously emotional. Spending time with others and concentrating on gratitude can help transform your focus.
Make New Traditions with Loved Ones
You and your former spouse probably had a few holiday traditions with your family. Since you've parted ways, start making new traditions. Creating new traditions is a fun way to celebrate the holidays while embracing life changes. Get creative and try something new - anything can become a tradition. Go to dinner and a movie with a group of friends. Build a gingerbread house with your family. Have a party and make office decorations with your coworkers. Most importantly, enjoy the moment you are in instead of thinking about the past. You may end up creating a tradition which becomes a beloved holiday event.
Plan How You Will Divide the Holidays Before They Arrive
Plan ahead how to divide the child visitation hours and times during the holidays with your ex spouse. Let your ex-spouse enjoy time with the kids, as well. Reassure your children that the holidays can still be fun; they're just different. Your kids need just as much support through the holidays as you do, so try to keep stress to a minimum. They are likely watching you for confirmation of their own anxieties.
Make the time to relax and pamper yourself. If you find yourself with lots of extra free time, catch up on some much needed relaxation. Maybe it's simply curling up on the couch with a good book, going for a run, or spending a night in with friends. It's rare to have a moment to breathe, especially during the holidays, so relish it when you can. Using your free time like this will make it more enjoyable, instead of feeling empty or lonely.
Create a Support Network
Have a support system available for those inevitable tough days. There will come a time where you feel overwhelmed with emotion. Don't worry, it will get easier. The most productive thing you can do right now it to build a network of family and friends you can call on during those times. Or, have the phone number of a counselor or support group manager on hand. Divorce is hard, but you're not alone.