Never do you feel the reality of divorce more than during the holiday season. While some people may experience relief to be away from an unhappy marriage, others will feel the sting of missed traditions, gatherings with in-laws, and even waking up without the patter of little feet and the accompanying excitement. So what can you do to make the most of your new life during the most festive time of the year?
Identify Your Biggest Holiday Season Concern
If you figure out what the scariest part of the upcoming holiday is, you have a better chance of addressing it and feeling like you are in control of your life. No, things will not be the same. Embrace that fact, and come up with a plan to alleviate the most critical issues. Be flexible, and adjust to the situation with grace.
Start New Holiday Season Traditions
What puts you in the holiday mood? Shopping? Watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on TV? Going to church? Spend some time doing the things that bring you joy and fill you with holiday spirit. If you can’t bear doing those things without your former spouse, its time to look at ways to move forward in new and fulfilling ways.
Letting go of the old traditions that you can not access anymore will go much easier if you create new traditions to replace them. If you are used to putting on a huge family dinner on Christmas Day, consider hosting a brunch in mid-morning instead. If particular music brings home the holidays for you, branch out into a new genre. If you simply cannot bear the thought of the changes in your life, maybe it would be good for you to do some volunteer work this holiday season. Serving dinner to the disadvantaged, delivering meals to housebound individuals, or sponsoring a family with economic challenges could brighten the lives of others while providing you a sense of satisfaction. In any way that makes sense for you, create rituals with friends and family that will signify a step in a new direction.
Take Care of Yourself
Despite the stresses you are facing, it is important that you take time to pamper yourself. Get enough exercise and rest, and avoid overindulging in holiday food and drink. Find time to unwind with a good book, relaxing music, meditation, or conversation with a trusted friend or family member.
Holiday Season Gratitude
Even though this may be the toughest holiday on record, you still have a lot to be grateful for, right? Pay attention to the little things. Notice the glory of a sunrise, the scent of goodies baking in the oven, the sounds of carolers at the mall. Instead of counting up all the things that make you miserable, start counting the things that you appreciate.
Do Not be too Hard on Yourself
The truth is, this may be a tough transition for you. Give yourself room to experience your feelings without letting negative emotions overwhelm you. It is OK to be sad, but realize that things will get better. You hold the reins on your life. Whatever else happens, you always have choices about how to respond. Make decisions that are in the best interests of your children, yourself, and your new situation.
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