It’s that time of year (again)… the holiday season. For most, this is a happy time of year with lots to celebrate, but for those going through a divorce, it can be sad, lonely and full of uncertainty. Here are some tips to help make things a little easier.
- Put your kids first. It can be hard to think that your divorce is impacting others as much as it is you, but it likely will be very difficult on your children, and even more so during the holidays. Listen to what they are saying and tune into how they are feeling. Try to create new holiday traditions that will remain special to them in years to come.
- Agree on a set plan with regards to your custody arrangements. Make sure that you and your spouse have a clear understanding of who gets custody when during the holidays. This agreement can be modified if there are changes in your life.
- Always keep your lawyer informed of any issues, changes, or situations so they can help prevent any unnecessary arguments or visits to court.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the holidays perfect. Even if your family has had a sit-down dinner, with a specific menu for years, it is okay to create new traditions and reinvent the holidays based on your current situation. If you are currently separated from your partner, try not to get into a scheduling war with your ex… the kids may like celebrating twice. Further, try and remain patient with yourself, your children and other loved ones no matter how much stress you have been under.
- Gifts aren’t everything. Divorce can be costly, and you no longer have the comfort of a second salary to help purchase gifts for your kids. It’s okay to create memories rather than shower everyone with gifts that they will likely outgrow, and tire of quickly.
- Don’t crawl into a black hole. We are human and often feel sorry for ourselves. This is when depression sets in and we would rather stay in bed November-December. But putting on a happy face and finding happiness will be good for you and everyone around you. A positive attitude usually brings on positive outcomes.
- That being said…try to count your own blessings. Be thankful for what you have and realize just because your marriage may be breaking up, you still have so much going for you in life otherwise.
- Stay busy and ask for help. This could be anything from calling friends/family and asking to be included in their holiday plans, to asking someone (you trust) to watch your kids so you can go out with friends or do something for you. Don’t wait for invites, ask for what it is you need.
- Find common ground with your ex. Put emotions aside and focus on how the two of you can make the holidays better for everyone else around you. It doesn’t need to be uncomfortable for friends and family, and people don’t need to feel like they must choose sides.
- Are there activities and traditions that make you happy—go out and do them. Do you love to look at holiday lights? Listen to carolers? Decorate your home? Throw holiday parties? Whatever it is, do it and enjoy it.
- Get organized and plan. Staying on top of the holiday season and being prepared can alleviate stress. Don’t wait until the last minute for your plans, shopping, decorating or cooking…this can spiral out of control, especially without the help from a partner.
- Give yourself a gift! Make yourself feel special and get that one item you have been eyeing for a while, or have spa day? Or maybe there is an electronic you have been putting off getting. Do it-think of YOU.
If you are going through a divorce, or know someone that is, please keep these tips in mind. SRDD Law wishes you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about how you can prepare for the holidays, please contact us at any time.