The holidays can be a tough time for anyone, but they can be especially difficult if you're going through a divorce. If you usually celebrate the holidays with family, you may now be facing the prospect of spending all or part of the holidays alone. If you have children, you may be dealing with custody arrangements that make it hard to get into the holiday spirit. Here are some tips for how to deal with the holidays and divorce.
1. Drop Perfection
Don't pressure yourself to have a perfect holiday. This is not the time to try and one-up your ex or prove that you can celebrate without them. Just do what you can to get through the holidays and know that next year will be better.
2. Spend time with people who make you feel good
Whether it's your friends, your family, or even your pet, surround yourself with people (or animals) who make you feel loved and supported. These are the people who will help you get through this tough time. Anticipate the times you will be on your own and make plans. If it is your first holiday by yourself, you may want to assure you won't be by yourself. For example, one of the Financial Sherpa and Divorce Coach, Sophie Helenek's clients found a way to budget a retreat for a couple of days for herself during the time her children are away and also has her mom come to visit for the other days.
3. Do something for someone else
One of the best ways to get out of your own head is to do something nice for someone else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate clothes to a local shelter, or simply buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making you feel better during the holiday season.
4. Don't forget about yourself
It's easy to get so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself during the holidays. But this is an important time to focus on self-care and give yourself permission to do things that make YOU happy—even if it's something as simple as taking an hour for yourself to read a book or take a bubble bath without interruption. One of Sophie's clients realized she got to stuff her own stocking with everything she wanted. Don't forget to give yourself a gift if that is part of your tradition.
The holidays can be tough when divorce is part of the picture, but it's important to remember that they're just one day (or several days) out of the year. Don't put pressure on yourself to have the perfect holiday season; just do what you can to get through it. Spend time with people who make you feel good and try to do something nice for someone else—it will make you feel better and maybe even help take your mind off of your own problems for a little while. Doing something nice for yourself will help as well.