The holidays can be a challenging time of year for couples going through divorce. Especially for families with children, it can be tough to deal with the changes of holiday traditions. Finding ways to manage the difficulties of divorce during the holidays is crucial for your mental health and to make the most of the holiday season. 

Avoid Spending the Holidays Alone

Divorce is a difficult experience for any one to go through, regardless of the time of year. During the holidays especially, separating from your spouse can be an extremely emotional and lonely time. Making it a priority to spend time with family and close friends is the best way to find support through the challenges of going through a divorce during the holiday time. Leaning on family and friends can benefit your mental wellbeing and encourage you to take your mind off of the divorce process. Finding activities to do with family and friends during the holiday season can help you avoid ruminating on the negative aspects and challenges of your separation. 

Some people dealing with divorce may feel inclined to isolate themselves and shut off to others, however this can often lead to a negative spiral. Once you have taken time to yourself to accept the divorce and the life changes that are happening, it is important to try to move forward and spend time with the people in your life who care for you and want to support you. The holidays should be a fun and enjoyable time of year, and surrounding yourself with people who care about you is the best way to keep your spirits high.

Plan New Activities and Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is often filled with family traditions. However with the end of a marriage, past family traditions are bound to change. On one hand it can be challenging to hold onto traditions with an ex-spouse while on the other, it can also be saddening to let traditions go. Planning new holiday activities and starting new traditions is a good way for families with children to keep the holiday spirit and distract from the challenges of change. Since it may be the first time that your kids are spending the holidays with one parent rather than both, having new activities planned can make a new special tradition and help avoid thinking about past holiday times and what used to be. 

Take Care of the Legal Separation

The biggest tip for dealing with divorce during the holidays is to take care of as many of the legal aspects of separation before the holiday celebrations. While the holiday season and last few months of the year can be a busy time, it is important to try to get any legal obligations of divorce settled with the help of a divorce attorney. By planning ahead and working with an experienced divorce lawyer, you will thank yourself by having as much of the divorce handled before holiday gatherings. The divorce lawyers at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner understand the emotional elements of divorce, and keeping the legal aspects of your divorce separate from gatherings with family and friends will likely take some stress off and allow you to enjoy the holidays. 

If children are involved in your divorce, it is beneficial to make sure your child custody schedule is planned several weeks before each holiday during the end of the year. While it can be a difficult agreement to make, planning ahead is the best bet when it comes to finding a compromise with your ex-spouse on custody arrangements for big holidays. 

Keep the Past in the Past

While the holidays are often a time of reminiscing on the past, it is important to keep in mind that the past is in the past. It’s easy to get caught up in old memories with your spouse. Getting stuck in a spiral of thinking about what used to be can be draining and negatively impact your mental wellbeing while dealing with divorce during the holidays. Spending too much time and energy reminiscing on the past can spark feelings of guilt as a divorced parent for changes in holiday celebrations or traditions. By remembering to keep the past in the past can help you start making new traditions with your children and enjoy the present moment.