Healing After Divorce

Woman contentedly wrapping a present for the holidays despite dealing with divorce.

You don’t have to dread the holidays just because you’re dealing with divorce.

The first holidays after divorce are tough. This is the one time of year when family and spending time with family is emphasized. And this holiday season, instead of being able to celebrate the whole season with a spouse (and your kids), you’re stuck dealing with divorce and dreading the holidays.

Despite how dismal your divorce is making things seem, it is possible to find at least some glimpses of genuine joy this season.

Use these three tips for making it through the holidays while you’re dealing with divorce:

  1. Know that it’s OK for the holidays to be different. Different doesn’t mean bad or wrong or that your divorce has destroyed the holidays for your kids for the rest of their lives. Different just means not the same. And the wonderful thing about not being the same is that you can choose to make things even better than they were before.
  2. Focus on what’s good…or ignore what your ex is doing for the holidays. I know it's tough not comparing how your ex is celebrating the holidays (especially if you have kids) to how you're celebrating them, but all comparison buys you is misery. Yup, even if you believe your celebrations are superior. Focus instead on what's good about what you're doing - even if you have to dig deep to find the good.
  3. Avoid spending the holidays completely alone. I get it if you don’t feel very festive this year as you’re in the midst of dealing with divorce, but that doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to isolate yourself. (We both know the dark places your mind wanders when you’ve got too much time to ruminate about things.) So, make it a point to socialize some and connect with people who are important to you. You’ll be amazed at how spending time with loved ones and/or people who are having fun helps make dealing with divorce over the holidays just a bit easier.

The changes you’ve already made and survived this year as you’re coming to grips with the end of your marriage have been tremendous. The holidays are just another one of the traditions you had as a family that needs adjustment. And as challenging as this change is, you can find your way through the season by using these three tips.

Will they work miracles and make this holiday season the best ever? I truly hope they do, but chances are that you’ll need to remind yourself of these tips repeatedly as you begin to create your new (or at least revised) holiday traditions.

Making it through your first holidays after divorce will require compassion – for yourself. Being kind to yourself is necessary for dealing with divorce, but over the holidays you need to extend even more gentleness to yourself. And the best thing is that taking care of you is the most wonderful gift you can give yourself this year.

I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and personal life coach helping people just like you who are struggling with divorce and want to move forward with their lives. You can join my anonymous newsletter list for free weekly advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with me directly in my Time Trade calendar.

Looking for more support and ideas for feeling better after your divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Healing After Divorce.