Annie Allen, Certified Divorce and Life Transition Coach®
Well, here we go again…. Ready or not, it’s holiday season once more.
The words Thanksgiving… Christmas…. Holidays… all conjure up many different images and feelings for each of us. For some of us, the holidays are a time of celebration and friends and family and fun. There is joy and laughter and memory making. And even if this is true for most of us, most of the time, when you’re facing a divorce, new parenting arrangements, perhaps loss of extended family and other grievances as part of a major life transition, having hope and joy and making merry during the holidays is hard.
Today, I want to share a little bit of my holiday divorce story and some encouragement for you to get through this season well.
Remember that the pain you are feeling right now is temporary. I do not want to minimize what you feel or be insensitive because I know this pain is real! I was experiencing (and frankly still do sometimes still feel) extreme physical and emotional pain from the fallout of my divorce, but what I know now that I don’t think I grasped then, that I want you to grasp now, is that this came to pass not to stay. Pain has a purpose. You may feel like you are under attack, like you are a victim, and like nothing will ever be okay, but I am here to make you a PROMISE. It will be.
If you find yourself in this place now, during the holiday season, facing solitude you thought you wanted but now wonder how you will survive, here are 10 TIPS to find your holiday hope:
1. Don’t isolate yourself all the time.
2. Another avenue to hope is to help and comfort someone else. Focusing on others is a sure way to stop feeling the sadness of loss during a holiday divorce.
3. Develop new friendships and embrace the old friends that are good for you.
4. Let yourself be happy. It’s easy to think that happiness is not appropriate or possible because of the divorce and it can feel strange frankly to feel anything other than negative emotion. If happiness comes, let it flow. You deserve to be happy and enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else does!
5. You may have to reach out to family and friends. Reach out and get the support and care you need, even if you have to ask for it.
6. Release the guilt.
7. Be creative in bringing fun into the changes.
8. Take care to contribute to your good health. Take the walk. Take the stairs. Read a book. Sit at the park. Call a friend. Eat the salad and if you can spare the cash, go get a massage.
9. Be realistic. This is not going to be your most picturesque holiday season – and that’s okay, and who knows, it could turn out even better than you think.
10. See if leaning into your faith a little more feels good.
Last but not least, give yourself a gift.
Chances are you won’t be receiving a gift from your ex, and you won’t be buying them a gift either. So, since your gift giving list has decreased by at least one, why not add yourself to that list?
Buy yourself something that you won’t have to return because you know what you like—maybe unlike your ex. Just make sure it’s not something that you’ll regret purchasing when the credit card statement comes in January.
Tune in now to hear some of my holiday divorce stories and more about these encouraging and hope-filled ideas for making your holidays as bright as can be.