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Global Guide to Divorce

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Holidays

Divorce Or Break Up After the Holidays

People who are only staying together for the sake of the kids may find holidays extra challenging. A parent who was trying to stay married until at least her youngest daughter was close to going to college planned a cruise over Christmas. Yes, she only had to be with her spouse in a festive group setting, but the cruise only slightly delayed the inevitable. She filed for divorce the following February long before her target date. The holiday cruise was merely a distraction from her toxic marriage, not a solution.

The holidays can shine a spotlight on problems which are bubbling up just under the surface. Busy day to day activities with a packed schedule can mask issues that are not being addressed. When one or both have long job commutes or kids with jammed agendas, this enables a couple to pretend that everything is okay. When interacting with each other (or attempting to avoid it) during holiday time off from work, spouses can feel empty inside.  When holidays are lonelier being married than they ever were when single, this is a warning that something needs to be done. Holidays can be the big wakeup call that you really do not want to be with your partner for the next set of holidays the following December.

After a few excruciating New Year’s Eves with her husband, a woman thought over their relationship.  Coming to the realization that she did not ever want to be alone with him, pushed her into ending her marriage. Although now divorced, her solo New Year’s Eves are something she anticipates rather than dreads.

The holidays are over and people are thinking about New Year resolutions or changes that they want to make in their lives. This introspection is one reason that divorce solicitors and mediators are extra busy in January and February. Feeling hollow and that the holidays were lacking something, can point that all is not well with an area in life. If things are going fine at work, with kids and so forth, then look at your marriage. Some spouses do not see that they are avoiding each other by participating in a whirlwind of holiday events.

The holidays may have highlighted some hidden issues, so see if your relationship can be salvaged. Talk to your spouse about your relationship to determine if they are also having questions or issues. Some do this when walking which makes it easier to open up without having to make eye contact. Others may choose to discuss their relationship at the pub or over a glass of wine. If things are not resolved, consider marital counselling.  If your spouse refuses to do so, then go alone.

Valentine’s Day When Single

Valentine’s Day can be like rubbing salt into a raw wound when going through divorce. People are coupled up and you may be the odd man out on this holiday. Others who are exiting a toxic marriage, may feel relief not spending it with a nasty person. There are different facets to Valentine’s Day besides romance.  One is platonic friendships, and many of us exchange cards with our pals.  Instead of mourning the void that comes with a loss of a partner, focus on celebrating Valentine’s Day in a new way with different people.

Flip the holiday around. Change the evening celebration to one at the beginning of the day, as there are less people in pairs. Get together with friends for a morning cappuccino with a pastry or for lunch. If your social circle is comprised mainly of married folks, catching up at a bakery is doable since it would not interfere with their dinner plans. When celebrating Valentine’s Day mid-morning, there is less pressure to feel one needs a date for this occasion.

Extroverts may want to be around others, yet not be ready to start dating. This can be accomplished by sitting at the communal table in coffee shops and cafes. One man claims he turns down holiday invitations because he has so much fun at these communal tables which are like “one big party.” MeetUp.com has groups for various interests and some of these gatherings are scheduled on holidays. Singles can participate in activities or dine with interesting companions. My divorced friend enjoys spending Valentine’s evening with the singles group at her church. They have events on some holidays and sponsor Friday Movie Night. Check around to see if you can join others on this night.

Do your celebrating on the job. Organize a pot luck, or bring in a fabulous treat to make the day more festive. I work part-time at an elementary school and it is party time on Valentine’s Day. The children’s excitement is contagious. Volunteering at their Valentine’s dances is a fun evening without a date. Some people request to work on holidays and enjoy spending it with co-workers instead of being alone.

Children can be a great distraction from thoughts of no longer having a spouse on this holiday. After my divorce, my sons and I would go to an Indian restaurant for dinner. One divorced friend gave a Valentine’s Day party for her young son and his classmates. She said it was the best time that she ever had on that holiday. The kids were hilarious, food was great and she was kept extremely busy. Consider planning some distractions on Valentine’s Day.

Escape Valentine’s Day by having an adventure abroad. When my marriage was falling apart, my mother and I took a tour to Ireland in February. We had a wee bit of snow, but I was thankful to avoid that holiday by being away. Maybe lounging by the pool in the tropics is more your style. Talk to your travel agent or go online to find some great travel deals.

A variation on this travel theme is to volunteer in another part of the world. Organizations, such as Earth Watch, can arrange for one to assist researchers etc., in an exotic locale. There are also plenty of opportunities right at home to help others and boost your self-worth. I volunteer weekly for an animal rescue group and this year it falls on Valentine’s Day. I will be feeling great after cuddling homeless kitties and being the recipient of their unconditional love.  Consider helping out on that day with a charity that grabs your interest.

Determine if you would rather hide away or go out on the town. Either way is fine. For the first option, some individuals have gotten a boxed set of DVDs or enticing novels and stayed home. If cooking for one is depressing, then plan ahead and buy some delicious take away or a decadent dessert. Pamper yourself, such as having a spa night with a facial or doing a fitness routine. Find an enjoyable activity.

A millennial who is now single, told me of course he is going out on Valentine’s Day. Although he is no longer part of a couple, he states there is no way he would sit home. This fellow does not have any definite plans, but is confident he will find something going on in Boston. Other millennials were vague and said they would wait and see what their friends were up to on Valentine’s evening. The millennials were going to decide what to do at the last minute and the Baby Boomers were planning things way ahead of time, even if it is to stay home.

If you are feeling lonely around this holiday during divorce, consider adopting or fostering an animal. Having four feline housemates, helps make Valentine’s Day more lively, now that I have an Empty Nest.  Whether or not you decide to celebrated Valentine’s Day – it is only one day out of the year.

Originally published in Divorce Force  online magazine   www.divorceforce.com/

 

 

 

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Tips For Getting Through The Holidays During Divorce

The holiday season can be hard to face when going through proceedings or newly divorced. If you want a quiet season, then let people know. They may be trying to fix you up with a date or adding your name to guest lists. Be direct and state that you will sit this one out and not be on the party circuit this year. Some divorcing people want to escape the frivolities and this is fine.

Get out of town

One way to get out of your environment is to go away and rent a flat, as one acquaintance did in Rome. She gorged herself on pasta, wine and ancient ruins. Another divorced friend went to Asia over these holidays on a tour. She enjoyed the sunshine and fabulous temples. Post-divorce, my sons and I took a cruise around New Zealand and to Australia. We felt the stress and tension from my acrimonious divorce melt away. It was healing. There are some great last minute deals for those that want to take a break from divorce in an exotic locale.

Distractions

Others may want the distraction of throwing themselves into the frenzy of the season. Individuals might revel in attending office parties, neighbourhood potlucks, films and more. There are plenty of places that you can go solo, to enjoy the festivities. I go to concerts at St. Martin- in- the- Fields in London by myself. Weeks before my marriage was over, I went to a Christmas pantomime of Cinderella. It was hilarious and took my mind off my situation, plus many other singles were in in the audience. Post-divorce I have gone by myself to the lighting of Oxford Street, yet have been surrounded by thousands. You can have fun going to functions alone, when no longer part of a couple.

Family gatherings

One can concentrate on family gatherings and avoid the rest of the seasonal events. Borrow some nieces and nephews and do kid related activities. Release your inner child by going ice skating or pursuing other amusements.

Start new holiday traditions

If you are a parent, ask your youngsters what holiday rituals that they would like to continue and what new things can be added. Shake up your routines during divorce and adopt a few new holiday traditions. This helps one to let go of the past and to move on. My sons and I changed what we do on Christmas. We substituted a big brunch for Christmas dinner and go to a movie. Afterwards, we partake in a simple, but elegant supper. The bonus is I now have more fun and am not stuck in the kitchen.

Be kind to yourself

Buy yourself a present, such as something pampering like a luxurious skin serum or decadent chocolates. One guy is purchasing fitness equipment this year that he has been coveting. Take a pause this season to put your feet up with a good book, go on a hike or whatever is rejuvenating. Whether or not you are staying in, consider the short-cut of buying delicious take away and bakery items to savour over the holidays. When feeling overwhelmed during divorce, see what can be eliminated in your life.

Co-parenting

When children are in the picture, you may be splitting up the holidays with the other parent. This is hard, so have an activity planned for their absence. Perhaps go over to your parents’ or get together with other singles for a meal. Some meet up with friends at the pub. Have a distraction ready, so that you are not sitting around feeling blue. My sons would ask me what I was going to do when they were gone. I did not want them to worry about me, so this forced me to find something enjoyable. Celebrations do not have to happen on the actual day and if presents are opened before or after Christmas, then okay.

Have more quality time

Post-divorce, I make less types of cookies, do less decorating and entertaining. Instead I have gained so much more quality time with my sons and am relaxed. I enjoy the holidays now that I am divorced, instead of running around ticking things off my to-do-list as I did when married. If you are struggling, talk to friends about your feelings. They can be a source of support.

This article was originally published on Paradigm Family Law’s web site in York, England.

How to Navigate Celebrations After Divorce

Getting Through Valentine’s Day When Single Again

Valentine’s Day can be like rubbing salt into a raw wound when going through divorce. People are coupled up and you may be the odd man out on this holiday. Others who are exiting a toxic marriage, may feel relief not spending it with a nasty person. There are different facets to Valentine’s Day besides romance. One is platonic friendships, and many of us exchange cards with our pals. Instead of mourning the void that comes with a loss of a partner, focus on celebrating Valentine’s Day in a new way with different people.

Flip the holiday around. Change the evening celebration to one at the beginning of the day, as there are less people in pairs. Get together with friends for a morning cappuccino with a pastry or for lunch. If your social circle is comprised mainly of married folks, catching up at a bakery is doable since it would not interfere with their dinner plans. When celebrating Valentine’s Day mid-morning, there is less pressure to feel one needs a date for this occasion.

Extroverts may want to be around others, yet not be ready to start dating. This can be accomplished by sitting at the communal table in coffee shops and cafes. One man claims he turns down holiday invitations because he has so much fun at these communal tables which are like “one big party.” MeetUp.com has groups for various interests and some of these gatherings are scheduled on holidays. Singles can participate in activities or dine with interesting companions. My divorced friend enjoys spending Valentine’s evening with the singles group at her church. They have events on some holidays and sponsor Friday Movie Night. Check around to see if you can join others on this night.

Do your celebrating on the job. Organize a pot luck, or bring in a fabulous treat to make the day more festive. I work part-time at an elementary school and it is party time on Valentine’s Day. The children’s excitement is contagious. Volunteering at their Valentine’s dances is a fun evening without a date. Some people request to work on holidays and enjoy spending it with co-workers instead of being alone.

Children can be a great distraction from thoughts of no longer having a spouse on this holiday. After my divorce, my sons and I would go to an Indian restaurant for dinner. One divorced friend gave a Valentine’s Day party for her young son and his classmates. She said it was the best time that she ever had on that holiday. The kids were hilarious, food was great and she was kept extremely busy. Consider planning some distractions on Valentine’s Day.

Escape Valentine’s Day by having an adventure abroad. When my marriage was falling apart, my mother and I took a tour to Ireland in February. We had a wee bit of snow, but I was thankful to avoid that holiday by being away. Maybe lounging by the pool in the tropics is more your style. Talk to your travel agent or go online to find some great travel deals.

A variation on this travel theme is to volunteer in another part of the world. Organizations, such as Earth Watch, can arrange for one to assist researchers etc., in an exotic locale. There are also plenty of opportunities right at home to help others and boost your self-worth. I volunteer weekly for an animal rescue group and this year it falls on Valentine’s Day. I will be feeling great after cuddling homeless kitties and being the recipient of their unconditional love. Consider helping out on that day with a charity that grabs your interest.

Determine if you would rather hide away or go out on the town. Either way is fine. For the first option, some individuals have gotten a boxed set of DVDs or enticing novels and stayed home. If cooking for one is depressing, then plan ahead and buy some delicious take away or a decadent dessert. Pamper yourself, such as having a spa night with a facial or doing a fitness routine. Find an enjoyable activity.

A millennial who is now single, told me of course he is going out on Valentine’s Day. Although he is no longer part of a couple, he states there is no way he would sit home. This fellow does not have any definite plans, but is confident he will find something going on in Boston. Other millennials were vague and said they would wait and see what their friends were up to on Valentine’s evening. The millennials were going to decide what to do at the last minute and the Baby Boomers were planning things way ahead of time, even if it is to stay home.

If you are feeling lonely around this holiday during divorce, consider adopting or fostering an animal. Having four feline housemates, helps make Valentine’s Day more lively, now that I have an Empty Nest. Whether or not you decide to celebrated Valentine’s Day – it is only one day out of the year.

Originally published on Divorce Force which is a resource or information, plus has a forum

 

 

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Dealing with Holidays When Going Through Divorce

The holiday season is right around the corner and this can be a challenging period during divorce. It is hard to celebrate when one’s world is crumbling. Experiencing intense anger, fear or hurt, stops one from bubbling over with Christmas cheer.   Keeping busy is a way to avoid dwelling on one’s situation. There are plenty of fun distractions during the holiday season to help take one’s mind off divorce and to reduce stress.

Perhaps this is the year that you sit out the frenetic round of parties. People understand when an individual is facing trauma and not up to participating in festivities. Pick what is most meaningful for you and let go of the rest.   When invited to events, feel free to say that you are unavailable and cannot attend. Explanations are not required. One may want to curl up on the couch and catch up with reading or watching classic television specials. It is fine to have downtime and get ready for what lies ahead in divorce proceedings. Do what is best for you.

It can feel lonely not being paired up anymore. One may be tempted to forego going out altogether. Some newly single people felt more comfortable being in places where it was not apparent they were by themselves. There are various ways to feel connected to others when attending events alone. One is enjoying concerts (often free) in different settings, such as churches. Another is being part of a crowd awaiting the lighting of a town square or tree. When in London, it was thrilling seeing a dark Oxford Street spring to life with thousands of Christmas lights and live music. Sharing this exciting experience with so many others kept me from feeling lonely.

See what your single friends are doing and accompany them to holiday gatherings. My divorced friend and I are willing to go to each other’s events. My married pals will meet up during the day and are happy to indulge in decant Christmas desserts and lattes.  When married, one may not have paid much attention to socializing with colleagues. Let them know that you would like to join their get-togethers.

During divorce and beyond, many people I talked with, said that they spend holidays with family who may live nearby or across the country. They feast a large part of the day and partake in other activities. These now singles, said how their families fill a gap on holidays left by a departing spouse. After my divorce, my two sons and I went away for several Christmases. I am an only child and my parents are deceased. Getting away helped my family of three start new traditions post-divorce and end the ones which no longer fit. Consider doing the same action, especially if you have children. Ask your children which traditions are the most meaningful or fun and then continue them. Ditch the other ones.

Go to Divorce Magazine for this article and many other ones  www.divorcemag.com/home/

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Enjoy a Sober St. Patrick’s Day

Feel like everybody but you is going to drink alcohol this St. Patrick’s Day? It may seem like you’re the only sober person left in your city – or heck, even your country – but that’s simply not the case. In fact, just 20% of adults of adults plan to consume alcoholic beverages on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if your entire family or group of friends typically down brewskies on March 17th, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy this holiday while remaining sober. From documenting the night for pals to transporting folks around town, here are 4 ways to have a blast this St. Patrick’s Day without consuming adult beverages.

Become a Designated Driver

Approximately 1 out of 3 driving-related deaths involve alcohol. If you don’t want your loved ones to become part of that statistic, offer to drive them to and from their St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. You don’t have to actually attend the events with them unless you’re comfortable doing so; you can bring a book or electronic device and wait in the vehicle until they’re ready to leave.

Want to make some extra cash while you transport intoxicated passengers? Apply to drive for services such as Lyft or Uber.

Photograph Pals

Stay busy during St. Patty’s Day festivities if you want to avoid the urge to drink alcoholic beverages. One way to do this is by grabbing your camera or smartphone and following your friends around as they engage in drunken adventures. Avoid taking photos of anything that may embarrass them or make them uncomfortable the next day, like if they’re throwing up in a potted plant or falling down drunk in the street.

Arrive Prepared

You may find it easier to decline offers for alcoholic drinks if you bring your own beverage with you. Some restaurants don’t allow outside drinks, but you can probably show up with soda, juice, or water if you attend a house party or St. Patrick’s Day parade.

You may also want to bring some healthy snacks with you. Sometimes people mistake hunger for thirst, so you may find it easier to resist beer or whiskey if your belly is full.

Chill With Other Sober People

If you’ve battled  alcohol addiction or abuse in the past, you’re not alone. More than 15 million American adults  have experienced an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and approximately 1.3 million of them have sought treatment from a facility that specializes in addressing this condition. Depending on how well you’re doing with the long-term treatment of your condition, you may find it stressful to mingle with intoxicated people or attend events where alcohol is present. Luckily, there are tons of people who are also in recovery for AUD, as well as people who have never consumed alcohol in the first place.

Not sure where to find sober folks? Start your search at Alcoholics Anonymous. This well-known association offers meetings  around the world for people struggling with alcohol dependence. Meetings are held 7 days a week, even on holidays, so you can easily find a group of like-minded people to spend time with on March 17th. The organization also offers events for members, such as bowling or swimming, so that may be an option if you don’t want to sit at a meeting.

If you’re religious or don’t mind attending a Christ-based treatment program, you can find sober friends at Celebrate Recovery meetings. Meetings aren’t held as often as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but you can request for your local church to launch the program if you don’t already have one in your area.

You don’t have to spend St. Patrick’s Day cuddled up on the couch with your pets – unless you want to, of course. Follow the tips above to have a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day without consuming a single drop of alcohol.

Author Sarah Lockwood put together The Prevention Coalition after watching her daughter struggle with addiction for years. With The Prevention Coalition, Sarah provides an online forum where loved ones of people dealing with substance abuse can meet and get support.
 

Holiday European River Cruise to Christmas Markets

img_3143Holiday River Cruise to European Christmas Markets

Take a European river cruise to enchanting Christmas markets to get you in the holiday spirit. My sons and I had wanted to do this for a decade and finally went on a Viking River Cruise last December originating in Budapest and terminating in Munich. Although we had been to most of the places before, these cities are very different at this time of year with the incredible wooden stalls decked out in Christmas finery. Pack for both Artic and spring like conditions as weather can be a bit unpredictable. Throw in a few smart outfits for the evenings, but nothing formal. The beauty of river cruises as opposed to ocean ones, is that they are docked in the centre of the city in the midst of the festivities. The Christmas markets are usually about a ten minute walk from the ship, which is lovely for quick strolls after dinner. The wooden stalls full of toys, ornaments, food and much more are lit up like a fairyland in the evenings. What is nice about these markets is that one is buying directly from the artists, bakers and toymakers. The markets are often in the heart of the city near the shops, which makes ticking items off your holiday gift list quite easy.

A Christmas river cruise is on a ship of around 100 to 150 passengers. There is much mixing and interactions among the passengers. Meals are open seating with dinner at a specified time with beer and wine included. Activities take place in the lounge and this is a time to mingle with others. One night we had a German Children’s Choir who sang carols in either German or English. They were adorable. There are a variety of lectures, concerts, folkloric dances, a cooking demonstration and so much more.

There is an on board library with reference books and games. There are shelves of books that others can take and replace with one that they have read. I really like the cappuccino/hot chocolate machine that is available round the clock. In the afternoons, local cookies and pastries are provided. The young European staff are amazing and the concierge will arrange for tickets, taxis, reservations or whatever is desired on shore. The holiday décor on the ship is exquisite.

The itinerary includes city excursions which may very slightly during the winter. In the summer we went to a marvellous organ concert in Passau, Germany. On this cruise we went to a gingerbread store that had been in the same family for generations instead. It was interesting learning about the different types of gingerbread and nibbling on the samples. One Christmas market was a bit of a drive, and that was in lovely Salzburg. Fun to see where “The Sound of Music” was filmed. They had quite an extensive market and a very walkable city

The markets in various cities have specialities. We got the potato dish in Bratislava and the cheese recolette in Salzburg, and Munich. Bratwurst was prevalent everywhere.  Hot mulled wine was available in all of the markets and even in the gingerbread shop in Passau. Budapest had unique baked goods as did the other markets. Viking gives handouts on what to buy, both in crafts and food at each market. They explain what is unique in the markets and cities being visited. Their history of the regions and maps are helpful.

This trip was my Christmas present to my sons and we arrived home on December 21st. I bought a few treats on the trip for Christmas morning. This river cruise to the Christmas markets was magical and is a worthwhile addition to anyone’s Bucket list.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Vacations for Single Parents, NZ and Australia

When one is newly divorced, there is the dilemma of where to go on vacation. Do you repeat family trips that you did while still married, or start different types of adventures with the kids? Is it sad or reassuring to follow vacation rituals from pre-divorce?

A little over a year after my divorce, my healthy mother had a quick series of vascular events and ended up in Hospice. My two sons and I already had a week cruise to Alaska scheduled and Hospice insisted that we go on it, since we were on the verge of breakdowns. This time was so special and we bonded over having normal conversations again that did not involve death. The incredible scenery and other passengers were just the tonic we needed at this point.

Before she had her medical crisis, my mother had demanded that we go on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise to Australia and New Zealand (I am an only child). While on board the ship in Alaska, it seemed like she was whispering in my ear to book the holiday trip for my two sons and me. Holland America kept saying that there was availability, but the pricing was not correct. They had to give the cruise to us at the price on their computer, which was three for the price of one passenger! The day this happened turned out to be the very day my mother passed away. That was her parting gift to us. My travel agent later said that this nominal cost was unbelievable.

What a special adventure this turned out to be and a more pleasant way of spending our first Christmas without her company. We flew into Auckland, NZ, checked into our ship, and threw our luggage into our cabin. Several people told us before we left, that Waiheke,  a magical island caught in the fifties, was a short ferry ride from Auckland. Indeed it was a fantasy of laid back people in a breath taking environment. The coffee shop, beach, and plethora of flowers just banished any blues. This was our second Christmas since my divorce and we decided to start new rituals.

Distraction is a way to divert energy from worrying about troubles, into having positive experiences. There were plenty of diversions in New Zealand, such as going to a wildlife center, a farm to watch sheep shearing, and learning about Maori culture and that was just the first port of call. New Zealand has warm people, stunning fiords, and Napier which is an Art Deco city. We went from a horrible divorce, my mother’s death, to laughing and viewing life in a more light-hearted way. Steward Island, NZ is mainly a nature preserve with citizens that came for a holiday and have stayed for a decade or so, such as the barista in the coffee shop. Bring medicine for sea sickness if you sail from there through the Southern Seas to beautiful Tasmania. After Melbourne, we ended this journey in breath-taking Sydney. Kids will love Sydney as there is so much to do, such as the aquarium and going to Bondi Beach.

Consider going on a cruise to break away from past rituals when starting your life anew post-divorce. A single divorced pal did a similar Christmas/New Year’s cruise and loved the festivities and not needing dates for dances. The ship’s décor and live holiday musical performances was exactly the pampering I required.   Please read more   divorcedmoms.com/articles/how-did-i-handle-divorce-and-the-death-of-my-mother-i-went-on-a-dream-vacation

Spending Father’s Day Alone

It can be difficult when Father’s Day does not fall during one’s time with the children. Perhaps a holiday swap is feasible, with trading Mother’s Day or another one for Father’s Day. With my parents’ divorce, I spent the holiday with whoever’s turn it was to have me. Decide if you want to be around others or by yourself on your special day. Sorting out your feelings will be a guide for what to do on Father’s Day.

  1. Do something enjoyable. I was on my own for Mother’s Day, so bought a book and went to a coffee shop with comfy chairs where I could linger. Some of my male friends can happily spend a chunk of the day wandering around a large hardware store. Check with the Chamber of Commerce to see what events and activities are happening in your community. Think about taking a guided walk in your own city. One divorced fellow told me he had a great time going on a “Ghost Tour” when living in London.
  2. Volunteer on Father’s Day. Charities are particularly short staffed on holidays and can use an extra pair of hands. Shelter dogs have to be walked and the homeless have to eat. Think about what gives meaning to your life and consider volunteering for a non-profit in that area. Divorced friends have volunteered at lively festivals, and ushered at concerts and plays.
  3. Find out if your family is having a get-together on Father’s Day. Give your dad special attention and take your folks out to lunch. Perhaps you can go over to a sibling’s house and have some fun with nieces and nephews. This can be family time even though your kids are not there.
  4. Distraction works great for taking one’s mind off troubles and missing the youngsters. Is there a film you have been longing to see, but is not kid friendly? Are there some projects that you have been meaning to finish? This could be the day to visit an exhibit or museum that has been on your to-do-list.

Do something physical to let off steam and release angry or sad emotions.  Please read more www.divorcemag.com/blog/ways-to-handle-father-s-day-without-the-kids

How to Spend Mother’s Day Post-Divorce

When Mother’s Day comes in the midst of divorce proceedings, it can be upsetting if your children are not scheduled to be with you. Some parents have put in their parenting plans that the kids spend Mother’s or Father’s Days with the parent that is being honored. Others do an informal trade for the day.

Post-divorce, my sons and I started new traditions to make the day seem more like it belonged to us. We exorcised the ghosts of Mother’s Day past, and did not do anything like we did when I was still married. We shook up our routine and had a simple meal out followed by an anticipated movie. Celebrate in a new way, whether or not you have the kids with you.  My mother was happy to go along with our changes.

Here are some ideas for embarking on new traditions for this day. Have a brunch at your place and invite other women, whether or not they are mothers. Make it extra festive with some champagne or Bloody Marys.  If you have family nearby, get together with them and the kids will have fun with cousins.

Ask your children for suggestions on how to celebrate this occasion in other ways.  When I was little, I treated my divorced mother at a reasonably priced restaurant in a nearby town. The scenic drive was half  of the fun. Give your kids the chance to do something nice for you.

What to do if you are alone on Mother’s Day? See what your single friends are doing, or be the social director and plan an outing with them.  Distraction is the key when feeling lonely or melancholy. Going to a cinema or watching a boxed set at home can help.  My mother would get a great mystery to read on Mother’s Day when I was not home, or she would work. Sitting around moping makes things worse.  Consider getting away on a vacation. You can be with others on a tour, or check off something from your Bucket List. Then you are not around happy families on this day, when you are alone.  Pamper yourself with some new spa products. Whatever I do on Mother’s Day, high quality chocolate will be part of it.