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Surviving the holidays after divorce

By Leanne Townsend

The holiday season is always a tough time during a divorce and for the first few years after. It serves as a reminder of happier family times and also puts enormous stress on divorcing parents who feel pressure to maintain the status quo while their whole world may be falling apart. While there is no magical solution to cure the holiday blues, here are some tips to make the season a little bit easier:

  1. Take care of yourself. You are no good to anyone else, including your children, if you let yourself get run down. Take time for yourself doing things you enjoy so that you can recharge your own battery and be better able to cope with the additional stress brought on at this time of year.
  2. Create new traditions and rituals. While holding onto some old traditions is fine, create some new ones with your children and friends to mark a positive new beginning. Seek your children’s input on devising new rituals so they feel included in the plans.
  3. Reassure your children that while things may be different, the holidays are still a special family time. Take the time to brainstorm with your children some new ideas for family traditions and holiday activities. Listen and support them.
  4. Seek help from supportive family and friends. Going through a divorce is stressful enough and the holiday season will add to the stress. Surround yourself with a good support network and let them assist you.
  5. Be realistic. Things will not be perfect and that is ok. Be gentle with yourself and it will be much easier.
  6. Put your children first. If their holiday time is going to be split between both parents, do your best to ensure that they will have a positive experience in both homes. If you are feeling lonely while they are with their other parent, reach out to your friends, and do not tell this to your children. They should not have to feel guilty about spending time with each parent.

The holidays will undoubtedly be difficult, but find joy where you can and share it.

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