The holidays season can be difficult for anyone who recently divorced or is going through a divorce. If you stack divorce on top of the already stressful holiday season, it can become even more difficult for the entire family. There is also the emotional impact of not having your children with you during certain holidays because they're spending time with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
How do you manage these emotions? Here are 3 suggestions to help navigate the holidays during your divorce.
- Identify and Rely on Your Team
During the mediation or collaborative divorce, you may be using or using a team for your support. Continue to rely on that team during the holidays. One of the critical team members may be a Divorce Coach who helps folks work through the chronic stress that may continue due to the holiday season. If the coach is neutral, then both parents may use the neutral to address holiday stress.
Also, identify supportive family and friends. Ideally, supportive friends are those whom you can rely on for empathy and who will recognize the struggle you are experiencing. Remember that empathy is an ability to share the feelings of others rather than turning the issue back on themselves or someone else. The support you will need is someone who will hear you and acknowledge that you are in distress. It will not be beneficial to have someone who will direct venom toward your ex-spouse, as this means that the focus is on the ex-spouse and not on you.
Finally, if you do not have therapeutic support, you may want to consider finding a therapist – and not simply for the holiday season. A therapist will help you work through the stress of the divorce, compounded by the holidays, and may help you identify triggers for distress and give you tools to address those triggers.
- Be Kind to Yourself
Take a moment to practice self-congratulation and self-empathy. It is essential to recognize the difficult time you have already been through. We are inclined to be self-critical and to find divorce to be shameful at times. In this mindset, it is easy to start focusing on the mistakes that you have made and criticize yourself for perceived failures.
Getting a divorce is courageous. You have taken a step to be in a better place for yourself and your family. Take a moment and look at yourself as if you were looking at a friend and think about how you would support a friend during the divorce and the holidays and know that you can be a friend to yourself. Navigating a difficult transition, especially during the holidays, is very hard. Give yourself a break and be empathetic towards yourself. Give yourself space to be emotional, sad, or mad about the situation and do things that will be better for you in the long run.
- Find Ways to Extend Holiday Cheer
Kindness towards others during the holiday (and year-round) is another effective tool to help navigate the holiday season. Kindness towards others has a chemical benefit for your brain, which can benefit your mood. You may receive a feeling of satisfaction and well-being that can cause you to feel pleasure. Kindness may increase your self-esteem, your empathy, and your compassion toward others.
Acts of kindness do not need to be large; even small acts of kindness towards others can be helpful. You can provide support to neighbors in need, donate food to a food bank, volunteer. And, you can also offer an empathetic ear to someone else in need. All of these small acts of kindness toward others may help you have a significant improvement in your stress, distress, and experience.
The holiday times can be difficult. If you reach out to your support group and are kind to yourself and others, you'll make the holiday season that much brighter. If you are in Oregon, and seek a divorce, Clarity Law is here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.