Surviving The Holidays Post Divorce


The holidays can often trigger memories, ones that may be remembered as being happier or less complicated. The holidays post-divorce is no exception. 

The important thing to remember is that many others experience this same feeling – especially during a pandemic that has changed so many people’s lives. 

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others, especially during this time of the year, when we are bombarded with media, greeting cards of smiling families, and parties filled with couples and 24/7 holiday movies playing all the time. But it is important to remember that appearances can be deceptive and that families or couples may be struggling, or less than picture perfect in private. Most adults are dealing with some sort of challenges during the holidays – whether that be missing a parent that passed away, family estrangements, impending divorces, or financial difficulties. 

If you are divorced with kids, you might not be spending the holidays with your children due to custodial agreements. You may miss spending time with your former spouse’s family and friends or be unsure of how or where to spend the holidays. 

There are ways to get through this challenging time…. 

  1. Take time for yourself – Make the best use of time away from the kids by making a to-do list or finishing that household or personal project you have been meaning to get around to. You do not have to dwell in the difficult emotions that this season might bring up. There is no reason not to take that painting class you have always wanted to or go on a date for the fun of it. That might include building some new furniture, or working on writing in peace and quiet, or a relaxing spa day. You might even decide to take a peaceful solo trip or plan a fun skiing excursion with your friends. Self-care is important and it can be hard to incorporate if you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or depression, but even doing small acts of care will help you feel exponentially better. Many parents sharing custody with their ex after divorce find that the child-free time gives them a new perspective on their lives and an opportunity to be better parents.
  2. Embrace former rituals – You do not need to let go of those familiar activities that you and your kids love so much. You can always do them on your weekend with the kids, whether that be cutting down a Christmas tree together, visiting Santa, or playing spin the Dreidel.
  3. Make room for new rituals! The holidays are the perfect opportunity to make new memories and even do seasonal activities or decorate your abode how you want to in a manner that your ex was not a fan of. You have the chance to create brand new memories that your kids can associate with just you.
  4. Do not isolate yourself – Try to embrace a kid’s free holiday time. Look for new traditions and reach out to other friends who may also be single or divorced. You can create a new community of people in a similar position or in transition. They can provide a much-needed distraction or emotional support. It is best to make sure that you have this distraction on the day of the holiday if your ex is with the kids. That could be the comfort of your own family, friends, new partner, or a relaxing holiday by yourself at a ski resort. Try to embrace the kid-free holiday time.
  5. Focus on the future. The end of the year is a perfect time to take stock of your life and to plan ahead. Your goals and ambitions can take priority. Reflect on the past year whether that be through meditation, journaling, processing with a therapist or trusted friend, and decide what worked and what did not, and how to move forward to make sure you and your children have a great new year. You may have had a challenging year, especially if your divorce was recent (the first year of a split is typically hardest for people) but you can still have a joyful and fulfilling life. 

At Amaral & Associates P.C. We know how difficult divorce can be, but our attorneys can make the process easier and less painful for you. Please contact us today to learn how we can help you get through your divorce and the surrounding holidays. 

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