At Stanley-Wallace Law, we know that family law cases of all kinds, and particularly divorce cases, can put a damper on anything — even the holidays.
The holiday season is all about spending time with loved ones. But when you’re going through a divorce, the season may leave you feeling less than jolly.
We want to take this opportunity to remind you that there is always hope, and always a reason to celebrate. Here are some helpful tips to get through the holidays while navigating a divorce.
One of the greatest parts about the holiday season is giving. Donate money to organizations you care about, or spend some time volunteering at a soup kitchen or passing out winter care packages for those in need. These actions will make you feel a little better about the world at large, and allow you to take your mind off your current troubles.
Allow yourself to feel:
Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way. It’s okay if you’re sad. Likewise, you don’t have to feel miserable all the time, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you have a good day. The holidays are a time of joy for so many; let happiness in when it comes knocking.
Instead of spending time alone when you feel down about everything going on, reach out to family and friends. Sure, everyone’s busy during the holidays, but do your gift shopping with a friend, or visit a relative and bake your favorite holiday treat together. If you’re avoiding people due to the pandemic, see who’s available for a phone call or even a Zoom session!
Reign in your expectations:
As much as you want the holidays to go smoothly during this time, you need to be realistic, too. There are going to be hard times, and you’ll have to deal with those feelings accordingly.
At the same time, let go of guilt:
It’s normal to feel some guilt during these types of situations, but this is not the time for guilt. Chances are, you’ve probably been dealing with these negative emotions for some time now, and the end of the year is the perfect time to put all that gloom to rest.
Simplify your traditions:
Your loved ones will probably be understanding if you want to tone down the holiday events and excursions. Take part in the most important parts of the traditions (i.e., Thanksgiving dinner), but don’t force yourself to take part in every single one.
In fact, change up the traditions:
Did you and your ex always watch their favorite holiday movie? Skip it this year (there are plenty of others to choose from). Did you always get a fake tree to avoid their allergies? Go for a real one this year. Do some things that will spice up the holiday season and give you something new to look forward to next year.
Don’t spend the holidays alone:
It may be tempting to curl up in a ball with some cocoa by the fire, alone with your thoughts, but that’s the easiest way to send yourself spiraling, too. Make plans with family and/or friends, and try to make sure both you and your ex will get to see your children for at least some portion of the holidays.
Speaking of… work with your ex for the kids’ sake:
If you’ve got kids, this one should be a given. Try to work with your former partner about visiting and making the switch to ensure your little ones still have a nice holiday season.
Make time for what you love about the holidays:
Make your favorite holiday meal or watch The Nutcracker on YouTube — whatever it is you enjoy about the holidays, be sure to schedule in some time for it for yourself.
In general, take care of yourself:
This might be the most difficult one of all, but try to take care of yourself this holiday season. Reach out to family and friends who put you in a good mood. Don’t spend the holidays alone. Take care of your health and buy yourself a gift you’ve been wanting. Whatever it is that will help you feel a little better, indulge yourself, at least a little bit, to get into the holiday spirit.
Forget the stuff:
Yes, we said get yourself something special, but remember that the holiday season isn’t about stuff. Whenever we spend too much time focusing on the stuff, we forget what really matters.
And that leads us to… Practice gratitude
This is certainly a lesson we could all learn from year-round, but remember what you do have: your family, your health, your job, your kids — whatever it is you love. Don’t let that thankfulness get away from you just because you’re dealing with loss elsewhere.
Be patient with strangers; you don’t know what they’re going through. Be patient with your family, who may ask intrusive questions. Be patient with your kids, who are also having a tough time with the new situation. Be patient with your ex – because you have to be. And be patient with yourself – because you deserve it.
Don’t forget: Things will get easier
It may feel like this is the end of the world, but we promise it isn’t. There are groups you can join, people you can reach out to, and life will go on, even if it feels slow at time. Try to take this time to enjoy the holidays to power-up so that you can dive back in to the next step of the process — or the next step of your life — at the start of the new year.
Contact Stanley-Wallace Law for all your family law needs
If there’s anything we can do to help you through this difficult process, do not hesitate to contact us. With over fifteen years of experience, our attorneys have learned that what worked for one is likely not going to work for another. For that reason, we strive to find creative client-centered solutions to your legal issues based on your wants and needs, every time. Get in touch today.