Navigating Your Way Through the Holidays During or Right After a Divorce

The holidays beginning from Thanksgiving through the New Year can often be fraught with loneliness, depression and stress if you are in the midst of a divorce. For most this season is a time for family gatherings, carrying on annual traditions, making the children happy, and giving. During or right after a divorce, one can feel terrified of change, fearful of how the children are coping, worried about new finances and going solo through the holidays either with the children or without if you are the non-custodial parent.

It is important to start new traditions, to reach out to your own extended family and close friends if you have been spending most holidays with your spouse’s family, to ensure the children can spend time with the other parent as well, and to re-think your budgeting for gifts if you are faced with a new financial situation as a single person.

Focusing on the idea of giving during this season is a way to help those around you with less and can serve as a reminder to be grateful for what you have in your life. There are always ways to give back in the community by participating at a local soup kitchen, assisting with toy drives or canned food drives.

If you are coping with severe depression, loss of appetite, inability to get a good night’s rest, a feeling of despair, seek out counseling and let your primary care physician know how you are feeling.   

Finally, if your divorce is pending ask your attorney to set court dates for after the holiday season in order to minimize conflict. See if you can work with the other parent to work out a schedule for the children during this time. Do not take out your frustration or feelings of sadness on the other parent or the children.