With the holidays quickly approaching, going through a divorce can make the holidays difficult at best. Below are some tips to get through the holidays, and maybe enjoy yourself during the process.
Help Manage the Holidays during a Divorce
Not all of these are legal in nature, some of these are my personal tips having been through a divorce myself:
- Make Arrangments for Your Children with Your Former Spouse
If you have children and you do not have a formal agreement regarding holiday custody you need to discuss this NOW with either your attorney or the other parent. You cannot wait until the day before a transition to have this conversation.
Holidays are emotional for both parents, and for some this is the first Christmas morning (to use an example), that they will not see their children wake up to see what Santa brought them. It can be hard to put together an arrangement given the emotions involved.
Have this discussion now so everyone has time to process the decision.
- Be Careful What You Say about Your Former Spouse
Don’t speak negatively of the other party or allow others to do in front of your children, or even to you if you have no children. While you may not be your ex-spouse’s biggest fan, that person is still your child’s father or mother. Children are very hurt when they hear negative comments about their parents.
Remember, your child is a part of each of you, so when you are speaking negatively about their other parent, they feel it is a negative statement about them. You may want to privately remind friends and relatives too, if you have any that may be a bit “outspoken” about the negative qualities about the other parent. Even if there are no children involved, trust me on this, don’t spend time taking negatively about your ex-spouse. It will really bring you down emotionally.
Holidays are for spending time with friends and family, to appreciate the goodness they bring into your life. Take this time to enjoy the positive people in your life, and make that the focus.
- Do Something Different
For those parents who don’t have their children for the holiday or this is the first holiday without a spouse, one helpful thing you can do is change up your holiday traditions. There are many organizations who would love volunteers to help during this holiday season, so consider giving back to the community.
Reach out to friends and family to try new traditions – attend a church service with a friend, host a cookie exchange party, or organize any other activity that may be fun or interesting to you. This is a time to try new things so it will not remind you of holidays past. If money is tight, check out Groupon or living social deals so you can try a new activity at a discounted rate.
Also, check the internet and newspaper for free events. ‘Tis the season for holiday festivals that are free.
- Be with Friends and Family If You Need Support
If you feel lonely, pick up the phone and call someone. Not text or instant message. Hear a voice. It will make you feel so much better.
Also, see number 3 and plan an outing with a friend – a cup of coffee or trip to a new restaurant. Meetup.com has many support and social groups for divorced individuals and divorced parents, that is a great way support outlet to consider as well.
- Spend Some Time on Yourself
If you are more of an introvert and like your time at home, this can be a good time to pamper yourself or engage in “cinema therapy.” Cook yourself a great meal or try a new recipe.
Treat yourself to a new book to read. Not a reader? Try listening to an audiobook (if you have a significant commute to work or school, I cannot recommend audiobooks enough.)
Cinema therapy is one of my favorite ways to unwind – try watching a new movie or watch a movie you have not seen in years. Watching a movie you have not seen in years can be like watching a new one – you would be surprised how life events can influence what you experience when watching a movie.
- Allow Yourself to Feel
Don’t be afraid to “feel your feelings.” This tip comes from a wonderful life coach I had the opportunity to work with during one of my divorces (yes, I said one of my divorces…) This has always been a hard one for me. It is easy to push aside your feelings and keep going with life.
This is not conducive to healing during a divorce. It may be the holidays provide you that time to do some processing or having the good cry you have been needing for quite some time. If you need help processing your feelings, reach out to a therapist.
Your attorney can recommend a therapist if you are interested. Going to a therapist is a healthy thing to do, so don’t feel that it is a negative reflection on you. It is not. It is a sign you are taking care of yourself.
Make Sure You Take Care of Your Family
The overall point is to take care of you and your children – try new things, be proactive in ensuring your children have a low conflict holiday with the other parent, reach out to family and relatives for support, think of the good things that have happened in your life the past year and not the negative related to the divorce, give yourself the time you need to heal and reach out for help if you need it. Don’t forget to enjoy a good book or movie, and enjoy your holiday.
Contact a Family Law Attorney in Raleigh for Support
Speak to our Raleigh family attorneys for counsel on your situation. Our attorneys can guide you through decisions that can result in positive outcome for your case. Give our team a call at 919-301-8843 or complete the form below.
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