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.

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