The holiday season often conjures up images of cozy romance around the fireplace, gift exchanges, and delicious family meals. Unfortunately, when you are recently divorced the holidays may prove to be sad reminders of what’s missing in your life. Surviving the holidays after divorce is a common struggle many people face, but with a little planning, you can learn to cope with those feelings of loneliness. Here are five ways to handle the holidays after your divorce.
- Make plans.
Don’t leave your weekends or holidays empty. If you receive an invitation to someone’s holiday celebration, accept it. It may feel strange to be with friends on the holidays when you are used to spending that time with an ex-spouse, but spending excessive amounts of time at home alone is not a good option. When you are alone it is easier for feelings of sadness to creep in.
- Create new traditions.
Annual holiday traditions are standard in most marriages, maybe you always used to take a ski vacation together or go to the ballet. It can be tempting to stick with what is familiar and make plans to keep up old traditions on your own. Unfortunately, that walk down memory lane that can be difficult to digest after a recent divorce. Seek opportunities to create new traditions. Instead of ice skating at the park, make plans to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Creating new traditions can help you solidify your independence in a fulfilling and memorable way.
- Take a vacation.
Depending on how recently you are divorced, it could be challenging to take a break from all of the mutual friends and traditions you shared. If you can’t make plans without running into memories of your past, make the ultimate new tradition and go on a vacation. You can’t escape the fact that your marriage did not work out, but removing yourself from what’s familiar and going somewhere exciting and new to think can help revive feelings of hope for a brighter future.
- Set new goals for yourself.
Don’t think of your new goals as New Year’s resolutions, think of your new goals as a journey you can take to a happier, more fulfilled life as a single person. There is something therapeutic about dreaming new dreams when a chapter in your life comes to a close. One of the best things about being single again, is you have an opportunity to become the person you always wanted to be without compromise. Take this time in your life to be a little selfish and pursue the things that make you happy.
- Make time to rest.
While it is important to stay busy on key days. You also need to be aware that you are still in recovery after your divorce. It is imperative that you take your time to rest and reflect on how far you have come and think about the exciting new life that is ahead of you. It is normal to feel sad and shed a few tears around the holidays after a divorce. Remember to be kind to yourself and allow plenty of time to recover at your own pace and next year you may be surprised to find the holiday season is much more pleasant.
Getting divorced is a journey and not a destination. When one era in your life ends it is normal to feel somewhat despondent. But when you plan carefully and recognize that your heart is still healing you can navigate the holidays with a little less grief. Often, your heart will begin to mend as you open yourself up to creating new, happy memories!
If you have any questions about divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen today at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation.