How to Navigate Your First Holiday Season as a Divorcee

Your first holiday season as a divorcee is likely full of uncertainty, not to mention a mix of emotions. Regardless of how well (or not) you’re adjusting to life after divorce, memories of holidays past can rattle you. It’s understandable! As are the concerns you may have over the logistics of the holidays, the questions you’ll be asked, and whether it might be worth it to just skip the whole season. We can help with tips to navigate it all.

  • Plan your first holiday season as a divorcee – If worry over the season has you feeling like you’re suffocating, one way to take back control is to plan what the season will look like this year. Talk (text or email) with your ex if you have kids to confirm the dates you each will be spending with them. Then work from there to plan the rest. Similarly, divorcees without kids can plan the get togethers and events they want to attend (or not). Getting things on the calendar can often help bring some clarity and decrease the stress. 
  • Give yourself grace – If you and your ex had a lot of shared friends, if most of the folks you usually get together with around the holidays are couples, or if you’re just feeling more like Scrooge than Santa this year, it’s ok. Do what you feel comfortable with and decline the rest; you definitely have a pass right now. But at the same time, don’t hide away entirely. In trying to ignore all the holiday festivities as well as loved ones and friends, you may end up feeling worse!
  • Treat your divorcee self – If there’s ever a year to add self-care on your wish list, this is it! Take bubble baths, nap, read, journal, exercise, meditate, have a spa day (or days), shop for yourself in addition to everyone else, and/or simply enjoy some quiet time. Whatever it is that brings you happiness and helps you destress in a healthy way, make time to do it and then put it on your resolutions list to continue these self-care practices into the new year, too.
  • Be prepared for questions – Quite honestly, people are nosy, but even the most well-intentioned friends, loved ones and acquaintances may keep the topic of your divorce front and center when you see them. To avoid getting caught off guard or saying something you’ll regret after a few too many eggnogs, prepare what you do and don’t want to say ahead of time. Not that you have to stick to a script, but rather just having an idea in your head can make it easier to talk about and to be consistent with everyone.
  • Consider your traditions – Whether you have kids or not, you and your ex likely had holiday traditions you took part in each year. Think through what you’ve done in the past and how those traditions can evolve going forward. If you and your ex are on good enough terms, maybe you still go ice skating as a family or you still go Black Friday shopping with your former sister-in-law who is also a friend. Then consider new traditions you can create as well that will undoubtedly become just as meaningful.

Shift your focus – When going through something as traumatic as a divorce it’s all too easy for the emotions and loss to overwhelm you, especially your first holiday season as a divorcee. While you definitely need to process and express your feelings, it’s unhealthy to let them consume you. Instead, make a concerted effort to refocus some of your energy on helping others. Not only will it serve as a purposeful distraction, but making the holidays brighter for those in need can give you even more appreciation for the blessings you still have as well!

For additional support and guidance with your divorce and/or co-parenting this holiday season, we can help with fully virtual coaching and mediation services. Contact us today to learn more or for a free consultation.

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