For many, going through a divorce is a tough any time of the year. However, it is especially hard to deal with during the November-December-January holiday season. Until last year, recent divorcees knew where you were going to spend this time and who you were going to spend it with. Now, you don't know whose house you're going to for which holiday — Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Year's — and who's going to be there. And let's not forget about the kids — how are you to explain splitting the holiday season between two homes?
In the Huffington Post, Barbara McNally — Founder of Mother Lover Fighter Sage Foundation and author of Unbridled — gave some tips on how to make it through the holiday season when you're recently divorced.
Make The Holidays Your Own Trips to the Toys-R-US; hot chocolate at the skating rink; late night Christmas-eve runs to the store. These are things you'll think about when you're in the season because it's what you and your family (including your ex-spouse) did. These memories, while still cherished, are what give many the ammunition to say, "I hate the holidays!"
Now that you're divorced, it's time to give your own meaning to the holidays. According to McNally, "Focus on figuring out what holiday experiences are meaningful to you personally, instead of getting sucked into consumerism and superficial events that leave you feeling empty and depleted."
Make Your Own Plans Don't feel that you have to go certain places during the holidays because that's where you went last year, or have traditionally visited. McNally says, "Take control of your experience and embrace the spirit of the season in ways that are meaningful and fun to you. I pick three things I want to do and then make plans, like ice skating, a holiday play or sipping eggnog with friends. Pick your top three and let the rest go."
Separate Yourself From The Past While the other points allude to this, a main goal for this holiday season should be your first year of a new set of traditions. It's a new life you're experiencing, an almost blank slate.
"Change is the only constant," McNally says. "If there's a tradition from your past that you want to carry on, fabulous! But if it's not a priority, simplify your life and do only what brings you, and those very close to you, joy."
Surviving the Holidays After Divorce (Huffington Post)