Getting Through Your First Holiday Season After a Divorce
Use these 9 tips to make this holiday season feel a little les overwhelming following your divorce.
Facing the holidays after a divorce can be difficult at best, regardless of who initiated the separation. It can be tempting to isolate yourself, but that is the worst thing you can do for your mental health. Here are some tips on getting through your first holiday season after a divorce.
1. Make self-care a priority.
While you don’t want to isolate yourself, you also need to be kind to yourself and be flexible in your activities. If you get to a Christmas party and it’s just too much, don’t be afraid to leave early. Take time for yourself and do something you’ve always wanted to do this time of year.
2. Set boundaries with friends and family.
Part of being kind to yourself is setting and sticking to boundaries. If you don’t want to see your ex at all, make sure your friends and family know that. They should be willing to at least let you know if your ex is invited to a party to give you the option to avoid an awkward situation. This is a good time to discover who is truly supportive in your efforts to move on.
3. Go on a vacation.
Going on a vacation is a great way to distract yourself from the holidays after you have been divorced. If you have custody or visitation of your children during the holidays, taking them on a vacation also gives them downtime to have fun and forget about worries for a few days. If you don’t have children, don’t be afraid to take a vacation by yourself.
4. Make the holidays special for the kids.
Divorce is every bit as hard on the kids as it is on you and your ex-spouse. The more “normal” you can keep the holiday season, the easier it will be to make sure the kids have great a holiday season after a divorce. Make new traditions surrounding their holiday visitation schedule to make things easier for everyone. When you don’t feel like celebrating, doing it for the kids is a good motivator and gives you focus on something other than your own grief.
5. Decide ahead of time who will visit whom and when.
The first holiday season after a divorce can be chaotic as you decide which friends to visit, when to visit, and how to shuffle kids from one family gathering to the next. Deciding this ahead of time is important for reducing stress during the holidays after divorce. Such details should be included in the parenting plan and visitation schedule created during the divorce process.
6. Have a mental health plan in place.
It is completely normal to become very upset and depressed during the holidays after a divorce. Anyone who is in danger of severe depression or mental health crisis should have a plan in place ahead of time. Make sure you have friends to call, a therapist to touch base with, or other support and resources if the situation becomes unbearable.
7. Work through the holidays as a distraction, then take time off after.
Most employers open during the holidays are ecstatic to come across an employee willing to work those holiday schedules. Schedule shifts in exchange for taking time off after the holidays are over. This way you don’t have to give up your winter break entirely, and you can enjoy the time instead of feeling pressured to engage in holiday activities with friends and family.
8. Volunteer in a shelter or soup kitchen.
Shelters and churches offering soup kitchens are always in need of volunteers throughout the year, but the holidays are a particularly difficult time to get enough volunteers to manage the volume of people taking advantage of these hot meals. Volunteering at these organizations helps them and the people they serve, but it also helps distract you from the holiday season and gain perspective on life.
9. Adopt a family for Christmas.
Most communities have at least one program that matches “angels” with families unable to afford a typical holiday season. Adopting a family in one of these programs gives you a lot to do, including shopping and preparing crafts. Helping kids have a better Christmas while distracting yourself from your own troubles is a win-win.
New Mexico Legal Group covers all the bases for better holidays after a divorce.
Having the right divorce attorney is important for getting through stressful times like the holidays, especially when children are involved. It is vital that the parenting plan includes details of how the holidays will be split throughout the year, including providing for time with all sides of the family each year. The divorce and family lawyers at New Mexico Legal Group are ready to make your divorce, and moving on from it, as painless as possible. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.