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Managing the Holidays After Divorce

6 Simple Ideas for Managing the Holidays After Divorce

Keeping the holiday spirit alive after a recent divorce can be trying to say the least. This time of the year is already busy, hurried and often times stressful. Holidays after divorce can leave you feeling utterly drained -physically and emotionally. Here are a few simple ideas to help you get through the season. 1. Focus on the now. Take it one day at a time. Some days you might not even feel like getting out of bed. Once you do, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Try not to dwell on the past or even think too far into the future. Just get what you have to get done today. 2. Make new traditions. Maybe you're used to the family being together during the entire holidays. This year will be different. It's possible your children will be split between two houses and families. Now is a good time to create some new traditions for yourself and your immediate family. Maybe this is the year you run or walk a Turkey Trot, eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, or serve a Christmas meal to the homeless. Pick something you never had time to do when you were busy planning, decorating, cooking, baking, wrapping and cleaning up - busy making the holiday "perfect" for the entire family. New experiences leave less time to dwell in the past. 3. It's OK to say no. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can't take on anything else, simply say no. You don't have to attend every party, participate in every cookie exchange, or generally live up to other people's expectations. You need to take care of yourself right now and that takes time. So keep some for yourself. 4. Help others. Research has proven that those who help others tend to be happier people in general.  You receive a boost to your self-esteem because you have lent a hand and made someone's day a little better. In turn, you're more receptive to good deeds yourself. It's a win-win. Serving a meal in a food kitchen over a holiday is a great way to give back and realize what's important. How about asking an older neighbor if they need a hand with their holiday chores? Reach out to a local community center or church for more ideas. They stay busy during the season. 5. Simplify. Most likely your budget will be a little tighter this season than it was last year. Now is not the time to prove your love by buying extravagant gifts for your entire family. This would be a great year to draw names for gifts, or set a budget that even the kids can get on board with. Finding a thoughtful gift in a lower price range often takes more effort. A favorite picture framed or a scrapbook will be more memorable than box-store tchotchkes that so often forgotten soon after the gift wrap is tossed.  Why lug each Christmas box out of the attic when every ornament reminds you of what used to be? Give yourself permission to skip the d├ęcor-extravaganza this year. They will still be there Christmas 2016. Check out Pinterest for fresh, simple and budget-friendly ideas. 6. Share Experiences Not Stuff.  Time is the greatest gift of all. Most children would rather spend some quality time with their mom or dad rather than receive a bounty of gifts. Simplifying the season can leave you with more quality family time.  Why not have a family holiday classic movie night where you actually sit down and watch the movie with your kids.  Add some stove-top popcorn and a hot chocolate and voila - Parent of the Year. Bust out the board games or get out of the house for a light tour in a neighborhood. Creating new memories is an important part of the process for everyone surviving the holidays after divorce.

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