Written by Michelle Ogborne

9 ways to cope with the holidays and divorce

Coping with divorce during special occasions can be an emotional deal-breaker for many. This is especially true when you’re dealing with the stress of holidays and divorce at the same time. Your emotional test could be any one of occasions; Rosh Hashana in September, Thanksgiving in November, Christmas and Kwanzaa in December, Chinese New Year in February, or the traditional family reunion on the Fourth of July.

Holidays and Divorce

The pressure to be happy during the holidays makes it seem even more difficult to cope. It feels like the entire planet has expectations of cheerful and loving family unity. While you, your children, your ex-partner, extended family, and close friends are feeling emotionally fragile and stressed about your divorce. Especially how it will impact holiday get-togethers. Here are some tips to help you cope with the holidays and divorce:

  1. Accept help – You may feel embarrassed about needing more assistance from family and friends. For the most part, they understand the combination of holidays and divorce puts added pressure on you. They may offer, but they aren’t mind-readers. Reach out for help when you need it!
  2. Be flexible – The joy of celebrating a holiday together is about love and unity as a family, not a calendar-driven event. Santa Claus can arrive on December 23, too.
  3. Be patient – Not all family members are on the same page during a divorce. Your ex-in-laws’ frustrations with your divorce will fade with time.
  4. Don’t spend holidays alone – It may be tempting to hibernate or “hideout” alone, but don’t give in to those feelings. Plan your alone time but also plan for togetherness.
  5. Go to The Happy Place – Feelings of guilt and loss are normal. But when the holiday spirit of goodwill and happiness is within your grasp, go for it. You deserve to be happy!
  6. Help others – Volunteering is a great way to take your mind off divorce during the holidays. When you get outside of yourself and focus on helping others, the result can be a better appreciation of your own good fortune and health.
  7. Make sure your younger children know the main advantage of parental divorce – Two days of gifting, two birthday parties, and perhaps even more, not less time with both parents! One or both divorced parents often work harder to have quality time with their children.
  8. Remember, you didn’t end your family – You changed your family. Don’t accept your child’s blame and continue to reinforce that she or he is loved by both parents.
  9. Stay within your financial safety zone – During or after a divorce, money matters may be unsettled or you may be living on less. Rather than go into debt to give your children the same or better holiday experience, stay within your budget. Invest in more time and attention; they’ll appreciate it much more!

New Year’s Resolutions Include Lifestyle Changes

Your new year doesn’t have to begin on January 1; your new life can begin today. Divorce can lead to a better lifestyle this year; not just for you, but it can also give your family relationships new dimensions. We may not be able to control how we feel. How we respond to the stressors that accompany the end of a marriage can drive this change in a more positive direction.

Changes to your family structure can lead to a happier year when you work together with a goal of family unity and respect for each other. Best Legal Choices of Arizona combines the guidance of some of our state’s best legal, financial, and communications professionals. All working together to help you find resolution in collaborative divorce.

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