- Focus on the positives. Even though there may be conflict and pain, keeping a positive outlook and good attitude can help the holidays feel less tense. Fake it if you need to – sometimes the “pretend” attitude will actually make things feel easier.
- Keep the children out of the conflict. If you have children try and make the holiday special for them by avoiding conflict. If you need to work with a counselor or child specialist in order to make it through the holiday, do so. Whatever you can do to make the children feel special will is important for their well-being.
- Take part in tradition if you can, otherwise, bow out gracefully. Take part in traditions and family events if you can comfortably. Sometimes, the discomfort is too great. Instead of fighting through it, you can avoid the conflict and let people know “I am not comfortable attending, but wish you all the best.”
- Remember how you spend this holiday does not need to be precedential for future holidays. Talk to your attorney or family specialist on parenting time schedules and holiday planning. While you are In the middle of the process, you may agree to temporary parenting schedules to try out certain arrangements to give the children consistency during the process. More permanent arrangements can be made later.
- Find comfort in your spiritual beliefs. If you are religious or have a faith-based practice, utilizing those resources and beliefs can be helpful in difficult times. Sometimes thinking about the meaning behind holidays can be more meaningful and enjoyable, than the celebrations.
- Set new traditions. The holidays during a divorce may be the first opportunity to try new things. Maybe it is the first year you cook the turkey or maybe you start a new Christmas Eve tradition if your parenting schedule allows for it. This may be an exciting opportunity.
- Be kind. Whatever your religious beliefs, holidays are often about love, kindness, and celebration. Spreading cheer may help you to feel better and may make the world around you a little brighter. Such positive energy may be just what you need to get a lift during the holidays.
This time of year (between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah) can bring extra challenges for couples going through divorce. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are in the middle of the process.