3 Survival Tips for Separation and Divorce During the Holidays

By: Pat Lissade, LCSW
Last Update: December 07, 2016

The holidays are a time for loved ones, family, and friends. If you are presently experiencing marriage separation or divorce, this time of year can be especially difficult. Adjusting to the changes associated with separation or divorce can prove to be challenging. Establishing new holiday traditions, managing relationships with in-laws, and dealing with your children’s feelings can all lead to your own feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, or anxiety. Identifying and addressing your feelings becomes critical to managing them successfully.

Providing an environment of wellness for yourself becomes essential during stressful times such as separation and divorce. Learning ways to set boundaries, decrease stress, and manage the needs of others while addressing your own mental health requires effort and a concerted plan to invest in your mental wellness. Here are three tips to help create an environment of self-care when going through a divorce during the holidays:

1. Talk about it

Whether you are newly separated or divorced, your feelings about the experience need to be heard and processed. Find a psychotherapist or relationship coach to work through your feelings. A psychotherapist or trained professional will create a safe space for you to discuss your feelings as you transition into the new relationship status. Therapy also allows for the process of change to occur within the individual. Are there things that you would want to do differently? Therapy is a safe place to explore those feelings. Are you angry about the end of the relationship? Therapy is the place to work through the anger in a healthy manner.

2. Socialize

Although you may feel like staying home alone, don't. Take this time to establish new friendships and engage in fun activities. Try something you have always wanted to try. Now is the time. Isolation may increase feelings of sadness and anxiety. Being around friends and family may be difficult at this time. If so, grab a book and get a cup of coffee and sit at your favorite coffee shop. By being in a public space you benefit by being around others without having to directly engage.

3. Take care of yourself

During stressful periods, caring for one's self may fall by the waist side. Make sure to get the proper amount of sleep and exercise, and eat healthy meals. Participate in stress reducing activities such as meditation or yoga. Increase exercise by taking a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking your car a little further from your destination and walking briskly. Listen to music, write in a journal, or do artwork to manage stress.

While the transition of a relationship is not simple, there are ways to make the process less taxing. Remember that you will get through it and caring for yourself is the first step towards healing.


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