How to Handle the Holidays after a Divorce

The holidays may have the reputation of being “the most wonderful time of the year,” but that isn’t true for everybody. Many people who have just gone through a divorce find this time of year particularly challenging, as they either confront holiday parties and family get-togethers alone or find themselves with nowhere to go, left out of celebrations that they once attended with their spouse.

If you have just separated or divorced and you’re dreading the approach of the celebratory season, there are steps you can take to help yourself. The first — and arguably most important — is to remember that this will likely be your most difficult year and that things will improve in the future. The second step builds on the first, and that’s understanding that your enjoyment of the season, both in the past and now, is all about your attitude and expectations. By understanding that and making adjustments ahead of time, you can set yourself on a path that will allow you to get through the holidays, and possibly even to enjoy them. Here are a few helpful hints on how to do that:

  • Remember that there is no hard and fast rule about the “right” way to celebrate the holidays. Think about what is most meaningful to you, and then do it. Now may be a good time to establish a new tradition or revive an old one that you haven’t been able to observe.
  • Spend some time contemplating the things you want to accomplish in the future rather than dwelling on what you no longer have.
  • Do not let other people’s opinions or attitudes about your divorce affect you.
  • Do not tell yourself that other people’s lives or marriages are perfect. Just as was the case with your relationship, you only see what people want you to see, and have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.
  • Pay attention to your own wellbeing. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, and get some exercise.
  • Let the people who love and care for you provide you with emotional support. There is no reason to shut yourself off or try to get through the holidays on your own.
  • Give yourself a break. If you aren’t sure that you’re up to attending a celebration that you’ve been invited to, explain to the host that you may not be up to it but that you appreciate the invitation and will try. That gives you the opportunity to make a decision based on how you feel in the moment rather than regretting saying that you will or won’t attend.

Divorce is emotionally challenging at all times, but especially at this time of year. If you need legal guidance, contact us today to set up an appointment to chat.