Maybe leaving your marriage turns out to be the best thing, but still, spending your first holiday season post-divorce can be one of the loneliest experiences a heart can handle.
Divorce and life coach Karen Finn, who has personally been through the experience, tells Personal Space that first coming to an acceptance that you’re divorced now is a great start. (We know it’s easier said than done.)
“Different doesn’t have to mean bad,” Finn says. “The first set of holidays after divorce, or going through it, mark beginning of a new way of life. It’s definitely going to be different, that doesn’t mean bad.”
If you have kids
If you have them on the holiday, great, you’ll be feeling good. If you don’t, it’s OK to pick another day to celebrate, pick a new day and put as much effort into the day as you can. Most kids would love the idea of double the attention, double the presents, double the celebration, says Finn.
If you’re feeling blue
“This works tremendously. For me, I packed myself with pillows — tuck them tight all around you, they absorb your body heat and become warm ... you feel cozy, and not so alone. You don’t wake up in a panic all alone. Anything that helps you to feel good (wine, movie), but not overindulging in drink because most of us have a tendency to keep doing it and it stops the pain. Cut yourself off at a glass or two but get cozy,” Finn says.
Try not to spend it alone
Call friends, call other family members to spend time with. “If you decide to join a divorce support group, they will be a wealth of support, a meetup group may have a holiday event for singles, you’ll fit in right away,” Finn says.
You can’t control grief
“Accept that it is what it is,” Finn says. “Look for what is still good in your life. You may be healthy, have your kids, where there’s breath, there’s hope. As long as long as you’re breathing, there’s hope for a better life for you. You can’t go around it, you have to go through it, and by going through it you have to heal.”
Remember all the firsts after divorce suck
“You have to figure out how you have to live your new life. You don’t want to get stuck in the grieving forever.”
Read self-help and volunteer
No More Holiday Blues by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer is an inspirational holiday book that advises how to recapture some of the joy you experienced as a child during the holiday season. Also look for a local shelter or soup kitchen that may need some volunteers for the season.
Wish your ex well in a non-confrontational way (if that’s an option)
It’ll create some peace, and make you feel a little better.
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