Handling the Holidays After Divorce – 5 Counseling Tips

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When you have recently gone through a divorce, or even when divorce is years in the past, enjoying the holidays can be challenging. A time that is known for family, friends, laughter, reminiscing, and love, can be void of all of these things when you are having trouble dealing with divorce. It is best to have a plan in place for how to deal with the many emotions that will arise during the busy, and often lonely, holiday season.

Here are some tips that can make your life less emotionally stressful:

  1. Be kind to yourself. You should expect to feel a wide range of emotions during this season of life. The holiday season can intensify these feelings a great deal. If you are relieved to be away from your ex, you may feel happy about your newfound freedom. But the next second, you may feel guilty for feeling happy. This is the rollercoaster of emotions that can be expected after divorce. Understand that it takes time to heal in this situation, and for your emotions to stabilize. Be patient and kind to yourself.
  2. Communicate your feelings. If others do not know that you are struggling, they cannot help you. Let your family and friends know that you are worried about being left out, that you would like to be with others, and that you would like to be intentional about keeping in touch. You may feel hesitant about letting others know that you are struggling, but it is an important step in maintaining a positive state of mind.
  3. Practice your faith. If you have any spiritual beliefs, rely on these during the holidays. You may have more time to devote to your faith, and put it into practice on a deeper level. If you do not participate in religion, take the time to exercise, eat in a healthy way, and be outside. Staying healthy physically helps you stay healthy psychologically.
  4. Create new traditions. After a divorce, your life is full of new beginnings. You have the opportunity to make the holidays into whatever you want. The options are endless. Is there a tradition that you had always wanted to try? Is there a new food you always wanted to make? Is there a holiday vacation destination you always wanted to visit? Now is the time! When you are not tied down to your spouse, you have the freedom to create the life you really want and need.
  5. Enlist professional help when needed. If you are struggling to complete daily tasks, you may want to reach out to a professional counselor or therapist. This person can help you sort out your feelings, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and make a plan for success. They can be a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a light in the tunnel.

The holidays can be stressful for someone that is recovering from a divorce, but with these tips, you can overcome the challenges. Focus on yourself, on your emotional and psychological health, and putting these tips into practice. Happy Holidays!

This article is contributed by Thriveworks editorial and outreach team. Offering Counselors in Cambridge MA and the Greater Boston area.

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