The holidays are a time to celebrate, but prioritizing your well-being is equally important. By incorporating these tips, you can navigate the season more easily and enjoy the festivities without excessive stress.
It can be even harder to navigate if this is your first holiday season since getting divorced. Sharing children for the holidays after a divorce can be challenging. Still, with thoughtful planning and effective communication, it is possible to navigate this time in a way that is positive for both you and your children. Creating new traditions after a divorce can be an empowering way to embrace change and build a fresh start.
Here are some ideas to help you prioritize your well-being, navigate sharing the holidays with your ex, and start new traditions.
- Set realistic expectations, prioritize self-care, and learn to say no. Understand that it won’t (and doesn’t need to be) perfect. Taking time for yourself recharges you and helps you to stay calm. Saying no to the parties and festivities that don’t interest you allows you to be present for the things you want to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust.
- Be gracious with your ex, planning how to share the holidays with the children. Here’s what we worked out, and it served us well while the children were younger.
When I married my husband, we both had two children. My ex never visited our girls and even refused to take them for Thanksgiving dinner when they asked! My hubby’s in-laws loved his boys and had set traditions we did not want to take from them and their Mom. So, we started having our celebrations the weekend before. We invited extended family and friends and had 24 people around our table. One Christmas, we went to his sister’s home for the day. When our daughter went through a divorce, this same tradition allowed our granddaughter to be with her dad’s family and still participate in our celebrations.
It’s critical to plan and communicate openly. We spoke with the boys’ grandmother to gather gift ideas, learn about favorite foods, and arrange for weekend pickups. Be flexible when needed, but try to set a tradition that will endure. Creating traditions for holidays helps children feel more secure.
Creating new traditions after divorce can be a positive and empowering way to embrace change.
It’s a fresh start, and you get to write your story. Here are other ways to help you acclimate and enjoy life.
- Host regular gatherings with friends who provide companionship—a monthly dinner, trying a new recipe, a restaurant, or a game night. Try a painting or wine class. Have a jigsaw puzzle night, and when it’s finished, glue and frame it.
- If you are alone on the holiday, volunteer at a soup kitchen, enjoy an at-home spa day or take a walk in nature or on the beach.
These new traditions aren’t just for the holidays; you can incorporate them into your new life. Add and subtract until you find what feels best for you.
After my divorce, I joined a choir and loved it. I took in exchange students (not a good fit) and bought an aquarium and a cat (kept them both.) You’ve lived your life for someone else; now is the time to find out who you are. I advise you not to get into addictive situations, new relationships, or expensive habits. None of these will be helpful to your healing. It’s natural to have mixed emotions during this time. You are facing new territory. You are strong, innovative, and resilient. Using these strengths will enable you to minimize stress and enjoy the festivities.