The Stress of Divorce During the Holiday Season
Copyright © 2009 StraightDivorce.com
Divorce without question is always stressful, even under the most agreeable situation, but when it comes to the holiday season, the stress intensifies. Christmas and New Years in particular are usually days spent with family and when a family splits up, holidays are very difficult. Besides the stress of ending a marriage, establishing new traditions can be tricky. And since each parent wants to have the children during the holiday, there are often arguments about who will have the children during the Christmas holiday. Yes, it’s difficult on the parents, but harder still on the children.
Creating New Traditions
As a divorced parent, the holiday is challenging to say the least and painful when trying to navigate through the season without falling apart. If you’ve been married for a time and have created family traditions, it’s important to start developing fresh traditions that fit your new life style. It takes a little practice and some time to develop new habits and traditions, but it can be done.
Accept Your Feelings
During the holiday season in particular, most people expect to feel happy, but that isn’t always the case. Rather than being hard on yourself, if you’re feeling a little angry or lonely, try to accept your feelings. You’re starting a new life and so it’s perfectly normal to feel sad. After all, you’ve experienced a great loss, but I assure you the terrible pain will pass. For many people, life actually takes a turn for the better once they accept the divorce.
To start the New Year and your new life off positively consider the following as a way of making it through the holiday season:
- Make a commitment to yourself that you are not going to be a victim. You can actually become a stronger and more independent person after divorce.
- Don’t dwell on the Norman Rockwell type family Christmas; even families that appear happy have issues and drama during the holiday season.
- Take solace in the fact that you are not alone; 52% of first marriages and 62% of second marriages end in divorce.
- Keep in mind that no matter how you feel, you’re a special person, with special qualities; you can create a happy life for yourself.
- Do things to help you relax. Take the time to exercise, find a friend and take a walk, or have a day at the spa.
- Forgive yourself for any of your own errors; without them we wouldn’t learn.
- Do everything in your power to let go; it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
- Consider your options as a newly single person as well as a single parent.
- Give yourself permission to have some fun; spend time with people you really like.
- If you can hold off for a bit, don’t make any big decisions during the holiday season; an emotional situation sometimes causes us to make impulsive decisions.
- Make up your mind that you are going to keep the drama out of your children’s lives; allow Christmas to be a joyful time for the children.
- Remember the divorce is new and so lots of adjustments have to be made; next year will be better and easier.
- Don’t get mad at yourself if you feel sad and lonely; it’s natural. And don’t turn to alcohol to take the edge off of your feelings.
- Start thinking about all those things you wanted to do, but never did. Now is a good time to bring out those old plans and interests.
Yes, divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through, especially during the holiday season. So, be patient with yourself, your family, the process and the time it takes to heal. If you didn’t want the divorce, don’t think of yourself as having failed. You simply no longer were a good match. And if you did want the divorce, use the time to be grateful that you can now start anew. Allow the holiday season to help you make a deeper connection with and to yourself. As difficult as it may seem, when change occurs you can expect new experiences and very often sometimes far better experiences.