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Surviving the Holidays During a Divorce

Mom and daughter spending the holidays together

Is the holiday season really the most wonderful time of the year? If you’re going through a divorce, it may not feel so wonderful. Learn what you can do to make the holidays joyful this year, even in the middle of a hard time.

Avoid Negative Emotional Triggers

Sometimes you just need a good cry, and that’s okay. But there’s a difference between having an emotional moment and torturing yourself all season long. Say goodbye to anything that will trigger loneliness or feelings of failure. Don’t watch romantic holiday movies if they are going to make you sad – there are plenty of wonderful Christmas films with no romantic plotlines! Temporarily delete social media if seeing families celebrating makes you compare yourself to others (and keep in mind that what you see online may not be the reality). Don’t go through old Christmas cards or photos that will make you long for another time. This season, focus on where you’re going, not where you’ve been.

Do Something Just for You

Think about how many years of your life you celebrated the holidays without a romantic partner. Were those holidays so terrible? Probably not. Christmas isn’t about being in a relationship, and you can still have a good time even while separating. You may even find you have opportunities that you didn’t have before. Do you love the Nutcracker, but your spouse never wanted to go? Enjoy a night at the ballet. Did you spend hundreds of dollars on gifts for your partner each year? Use some of that money to buy something special for yourself. Was spending the holidays with your in-laws a nightmare? Revel in releasing that burden. Christmas can be joyful on your own if you’re willing to embrace it.

Don’t Go It Alone

You may be tempted to hide away at home this season. And while spending the holidays with The Office reruns and a box of Christmas Tree Cakes may sound appealing, it’s not good for your mental health. Reach out to the people you love. You may find that your friends and family don’t know what to say, or they’re unsure if you even want to talk. Let them know that you would like to hear from them. Whatever you do, make sure that you keep in touch with the people that bring you life and make you feel loved.

Have Fun with Your Kids

It’s easy to worry that your children will have a terrible Christmas because of your divorce. But the truth is, most kids just want to have fun. Even though things may be different – and there may even be some sadness this season – there’s still so much you can do to make your kids’ holidays magical. And there’s no better balm for your soul than seeing your children’s joy. (For more insight and practical tips on how to have a good Christmas with kids, read our blog on having a fun holiday season after divorce.)

Going through a divorce is difficult, and doing it during the holidays can add an extra layer of pain. But try to remember how much joy Christmas has to offer that has nothing to do with your relationship status. Do what you want to do this year, be kind to yourself, and keep in mind that this is just one season of your life. You may find you can still have a merry Christmas after all.