The holidays are upon us, and while they come every year, it may be different for you this time around if you are recently divorced. There is always a little stress around the holidays but there may be more so after a divorce as you try to navigate a new normal.
What do you do for the holidays now? This can be especially tricky if children are involved. Both parents likely want to spend time with their kids but creating the perfect schedule can be impossible. The kids will likely feel some anxiety as well as they try to figure out what they are doing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Worried about what to do this year? With some creativity and careful planning, you can make this year’s holiday season the best ever. Relieve some stress this holiday season by following these tips.
The time to think about the holidays is now. Do not be trying to plan a last-minute vacation on December 23. Know what you are doing for Thanksgiving by the weekend before. Start thinking about how you want your holidays to be. Do you want to be around friends and family? Do you just want to be alone? Go visit someone, plan a vacation, or just stay at home.
Make the Holidays Your Own
Yes, Thanksgiving is technically on the fourth Thursday of November and Christmas is on December 25. But if you have kids, you will likely need to share custody of them with the other parents. This may mean that you will not get to see your kids on the actual holidays. But so what? Celebrate these holidays on other days. You do not need to be tied to the actual days on which they are celebrated. You could celebrate Thanksgiving on the weekend if that is more convenient. You could have Christmas a week earlier. Or have it on New Year’s Eve for a joint celebration. There are many ways to celebrate the holidays.
Start Your Own Traditions
The nice thing about divorce is that you no longer have to comply with your ex-spouse’s wishes and do what they want to do. You no longer have to deal with annoying in-laws and weird holiday traditions. This year, do what you want to do. Have kids? Involve them as well. Do you not like eating turkey? Have tacos for Thanksgiving. Do you not like getting together with family at Christmas? Spend time with friends or just stay home alone and watch TV. There are about a million other things you could do instead of eating turkey and decorating a tree. So start your own traditions, no matter how weird they may seem.
Get the Kids Involved
If you have kids, they will likely want to be involved in the new traditions. It could be a lot of fun based on their ages, especially if they are teenagers and bored with the previous traditions. Let them share their input. If they want to go somewhere or do something, keep it in mind if it is feasible. Allowing them to do something special and fun can help strengthen your relationship.
Make a Schedule
Once you have an idea of what you are doing for the holidays, create a schedule. Make a list of the things that need to get done and by what date. If you are taking on too much, delegate tasks. By staying organized, you can accomplish your goals without getting overwhelmed.
Use Your Support System
If you are feeling down during the holidays, you do not have to suffer alone. Do not be afraid to lean on your support system. Tell your family and friends how you are feeling and what you need from them. A good friend will listen to you if you need to vent or provide you with companionship if you are feeling lonely.
Avoid Getting Emotional
Your kids are likely to mimic your reactions to the holidays. If you are feeling sad and upset, they are likely to feel the same way. Stay positive throughout the holidays, even if you are secretly feeling anxious or depressed. And avoid playing the victim. If you have nothing to do or nowhere to go, don’t expect your kids or the other parent to feel sorry for you. Do not use your kids as pawns or therapists. You need to be in control of your holiday plans now.
Take Care of Yourself
The holidays can be stressful. You likely have a lot on your mind. You may be overwhelmed, stressed out, or just feeling anxious about how the holidays will turn out this year. Be sure to get plenty of rest during this time. Above all, you need to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Avoid overeating and eating unhealthy foods. Be sure to stay active and get exercise as well. If you are having trouble coping with the holidays, avoid medicating yourself with alcohol. If you are struggling, schedule a visit with a counselor who can help you understand your emotions and find solutions to your problems.
Seek Legal Help
The holidays can be challenging after a divorce, especially if children are involved. With these tips, you can get through the rest of the year with minimal stress.
While dealing with the divorce process is hard, dealing with the effects afterward can also be difficult. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you deal with the effects of divorce. To schedule a consultation, call (954) 398-5712 or fill out the online form.