Surviving the holidays when you are newly separated or divorced can be challenging. Old traditions involving your ex-spouse may no longer be realistic, and if you have children, you may have to give up some of your holiday time with them while they share time with their other parent. It can make an already stressful time, even more challenging. Here are 7 tips to reduce holiday stress and keep the magic alive for your children following your divorce.
Helpful Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress.
1. Put Your Children First
Divorce is stressful enough for children without being put in the middle of warring parents during the holidays. Put your children’s interests at the forefront of your holiday celebrations and remember that they have a right to enjoy time with both of their parents and extended family. They are not responsible for solving your loneliness while they are with their other parent.
2. Plan Early
It is important to organize your holiday schedule with your ex partner in October or November. Do not wait until the last minute to sort out details as this can result in disappointment, arguments, and stress for everyone. The earlier you can decide upon your holiday parenting schedule, the better for everyone. Keep your children in the loop too so that you can minimize their anxiety about holiday plans.
3. Create New Traditions
It’s a new chapter, meaning now is the time for new, unique holiday traditions. Instead of decorating the Christmas tree, going caroling or hanging holiday lights (which you may have done with both parents in the past), begin a family game night, run a 5k or volunteer to feed the homeless with your children. Make some new traditions fun and involve your children in the planning.
4. Don’t Spend The Holidays Alone
It can be tempting to crawl into a cave and hibernate during your first holidays alone – especially if your ex has the kids. Try to resist the temptation. Instead of spending all of the holiday season alone, make an effort to go out and spend some time with others. You’ll get a different perspective of your first holidays as a re-singled person if you open yourself up to even a little fun celebrating the holidays with others.
5. Give Yourself A Gift:
Practice self-care and self-love by doing something special for yourself. By prioritizing your happiness, you will be more upbeat during the time you get to spend with your children for the holidays. Make this your new tradition for yourself.
6. Be Compassionate With Yourself:
Your first holiday season post-divorce will be challenging. Don’t put pressure on yourself to fake happiness and positivity. While it is okay to put up a brave front for your children, make sure you give yourself time to grieve the loss of past traditions and lean on your support network to process your feelings. It is normal to have feelings of sadness and anger during this time, so don’t beat up on yourself if you feel like you are going through the motions.
7. Practice Gratitude
No matter how challenging life becomes, there are always reasons to feel grateful. Practicing gratitude can reduce stress and help you appreciate the positive aspects of your life even though you may be feeling down.
While your first holiday season post-divorce may not be easy, with a little planning it can be the beginning of a positive next chapter with happier seasons to come.