Divorce is never easy. If you’re preparing for your first holiday season after ending your marriage, you’re not alone. While it can be daunting and stressful to consider your first Christmas as a newly single individual, there are ways to make the holiday season more tolerable and even enjoyable post-divorce.
7 Tips to Survive Your First Christmas After Divorce
How can newly single people deal with the discomfort and loneliness of upcoming festivities? If it’s your first Christmas after divorce, it’s important to cut yourself some slack and know where to turn when you need support.
Below are 7 tips to survive your first holiday season as a recent divorcee:
1. Know you’re not alone.
Although it’s easy to feel alone during the holiday season, it’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t alone. Many people are going through a similar experience and understand the struggles of navigating the holidays after a divorce. While it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture, reaching out to friends, family, or support groups for comfort and understanding can help you navigate the emotional hurdles of your first Christmas as a divorcee.
2. Embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Like any major life event, divorce can result in unpredictable emotions and hardships that vary from person to person. It's important to acknowledge and embrace your feelings, whether they entail grief, anger, or sadness. Suppressing emotions isn’t healthy and can make the holiday season even more difficult.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever you need to feel, even if it doesn’t make sense to you in the moment. Don’t fault yourself for mood swings or confusion about contradictory feelings, and remind yourself that it’s completely possible to feel and acknowledge multiple thoughts and feelings at once.
3. Practice self-compassion.
No one is perfect. While it can be easy to beat yourself up for your role in your recent hardships, it's important not to wallow in guilt or self-imposed blame. Accepting yourself as you are is crucial to healing and making the holiday season bearable.
While it's okay to feel lonely during your first Christmas as a new single, make sure you also take time to practice self-compassion, whether that involves journaling, learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, or simply developing new self-care routines to prioritize your well-being and rebuild your self-esteem.
Remember, you have value and worth, no matter your marital status or life history. While it can be easy to feel like life will never get better, remind yourself that it will. Consider making the most of your time by using it to rebuild your relationship with yourself.
4. Plan ahead.
While it's important to acknowledge your feelings and give yourself time to heal, it can also be helpful to have a plan in place for the holiday season. This could mean spending time with family or friends, volunteering at a local charity, or taking a trip somewhere new. Having activities and plans scheduled can make the holiday season feel less daunting and provide you with a sense of control and purpose, especially in times that feel chaotic and unprecedented.
5. Establish new traditions.
One of the best ways to cope with your first Christmas after divorce is by creating new traditions that reflect your current life situation. This can be as simple as trying out new recipes, decorating your home in a different way, or going on a trip instead of hosting a traditional family gathering. These new traditions can help you create new memories and bring a sense of joy and excitement to the holiday season.
6. Be willing to leave your comfort zone sometimes.
While it’s okay to give yourself space and time to grieve, it’s also important to acknowledge that every person needs support and companionship. Whether it’s grabbing a quick bite with a colleague, reconnecting with an old friend, or reaching out to extended family to inquire about their holiday plans, it’s critical to surround yourself with other human beings to lean on, relate to, and enjoy quality time with. Although it can be awkward to consider seeing friends and family for the first time since your divorce, it’s important to branch out and be willing to leave your comfort zone to ensure your personal needs are met.
7. Communicate what you need from others.
If you're dreading the elephant in the room, be sure to set clear expectations with friends, family, and loved ones right off the bat. Whether you feel the need to discuss the divorce with a trusted confidante to get things off your chest or have no desire to say or think the word "divorce" at all during the holidays, be sure to communicate your needs clearly and honestly to others around you.
Remember, everyone needs support sometimes, and your support system can't truly help you until they understand what you need from them. By reflecting on your needs, you can prioritize your well-being and determine the best way to spend your time, whether that's enjoying a quiet Christmas with close friends, planning a solo Christmas vacation to an anticipated destination, or losing yourself in the holiday cheer of big family get-togethers.
Compassionate Counsel for Couples & Families
At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., our compassionate Chesterfield lawyers have over 40 years of combined experience representing couples in family law cases, from child custody to spousal maintenance. Our team is familiar with the emotional and financial hardships that come with family law matters, which is why our family lawyers are committed to delivering honest counsel and skilled representation to families in times of need. With a proven track record of case results and testimonials, you can count on our firm to prioritize your unique legal needs while guiding your steps with wisdom and care.
Our firm provides award-winning representation to St. Louis families. Call (636) 552-4841 to schedule a free consultation.