No matter when it happens, divorce is stressful and challenging. All the busyness and commitments of the holidays can make things even more difficult, especially if you have kids. Not to mention that so much of holiday advertising, marketing, and social events tend to focus on family and togetherness. And while radio stations are blasting “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” you might be feeling angry, confused, and bitter. But there is still hope for actually enjoying the holidays. Keep reading for 8 tips suggested by experts to help you thrive and not just survive this season.
- Focus On What Really Matters. Maybe you feel like you’re short on cash after your divorce, or maybe you feel that you need to make things up to your kids? Remember that when you’re giving gifts this season that money isn’t what matters. Give the gift of quality time and love to your kids and family and they will be forever grateful.
- Avoid Competing with Your Ex. Trying to outdo each other when it comes to holiday celebrations and gifts for your kids won’t help anything or anyone in the long run. It definitely won’t help your kids learn what’s really important in life. While it’s natural to still be feeling bitter about your divorce, remember that your kids still deserve to celebrate the holidays with your ex. Support them in spending time with your ex, and try to share in their excitement.
- Communicate Sooner Rather Than Later with Your Ex. Even though talking with your ex might not be the first thing on your wishlist, a quick text or call can solve a lot of frustration later! When it comes to choosing presents for your kids, scheduling holiday events or meals, or planning travel, it’s always better to be on the same page. Clear expectations can help everyone enjoy the season! Not only can communication solve issues like back-to-back holiday dinners and repeat gifts, but it can also help kids feel more calm and secure and help everyone make the most of their time and energy, suggests Psychology Today.
- Plan Ahead with Other Family Members. Are you going to celebrate with your parents, siblings, or other family members? Whether it means saying “yes” or “no,” go ahead and make plans now so that expectations are clear. If spending time with extended family is a holiday tradition, it might help your kids feel less anxious if they know some things are going on as normal. Planning ahead can help you avoid stress in a time of your life when everything might tend to feel overwhelming, says Divorce Magazine.
- Take This Opportunity to Create New Traditions with Your Kids! While it can be helpful and healthy to try to carry on old traditions that make your kids feel secure and comfortable, no one can deny that life does change after divorce. You might try taking this season to start some new traditions with you and your kids, says divorce psychologist Robert D. Emery.
- Have Healthy Expectations. Perhaps the most hurtful thing you can do to yourself this season is to tell yourself that everything has to be perfect or that everything will be the same as years prior. You might feel hurt, lonely, confused, or bitter. Those are normal feelings after or during a divorce. But remember that you can manage your emotional health by choosing a positive outlook. If it looks like you might be spending certain big holidays alone, experts at Divorce Magazine suggest taking the opportunity to take a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
- Manage Stress with Diet and Exercise! Expert Dr. Susan Clark suggests that stress can be reduced even during significant life changes by avoiding certain anxiety-inducing foods such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, food additives, dairy products, red meat and poultry, and wheat and gluten-containing grains. That being said, have realistic goals and remember to enjoy yourself over the holidays too!
- Remember the Spirit of the Season. Why not make this year a time for forgiveness and fresh starts? Life changes dramatically with divorce, and embracing that change with a spirit of positivity and joy will be the best gift you can give to yourself and those around you – including your kids! Remember to treasure what you have, instead of dwelling on the past.
Are you going through a divorce or revisiting agreements regarding custody, visitation, and child support in Baton Rouge this season? As a dedicated, experienced, and compassionate family law firm, we are here to answer your questions and concerns. When life feels overwhelming, we are the legal team you can count on! Call 225-343-2205 or send us a message online.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806