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How to Navigate a Divorce During the Holidays

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Divorce

With Thanksgiving already behind us, we’re officially in the throes of the holiday season, and while this time of year is often associated with joy, love, and togetherness, that’s unfortunately not always the case for some families. Sometimes life can get in the way of your holiday cheer, and that’s especially true when going through or considering a divorce.

Most divorces already carry with them sadness and uncertainty, and with the added stress of things like shopping for gifts, decorating the house, or hosting extended family, it’s easy for those negative feelings to be amplified.

Navigating a divorce during the holidays requires a unique set of coping strategies to help you and your family make it through what’s often a turbulent, disruptive time. In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips and emotional support strategies to help you make the most out of the season while doing what’s best for you, your family, and your case.

Focus on the holiday:

We’ll start off with something that may seem obvious, but is incredibly easy to forget if you’re wrapped up in a divorce case: make an effort to celebrate the holiday!

While we’ve already mentioned the different stressors that are unique to the holidays, don’t let them discourage you from celebrating with your loved ones. If you’re stressed out, then avoiding the hubbub of the holidays may seem like a good idea at first, but what you’re really doing is depriving you (and your family) of any chance at bonding or making new memories that may offset the negative emotions associated with your divorce.

So put that tree up, light the menorah, hang your stockings, do whatever it is you’d normally do to celebrate the holidays, and give yourself the chance to feel merry.

Emphasize family traditions:

Traditions often carry a significant emotional weight, especially during the holidays, and making an effort to uphold family traditions can go a long way in maintaining a sense of normalcy in spite of the divorce.

This is especially true if you have children, as the familiarity can lend emotional stability to a naturally transitional period in their lives, as well as your own.

However, the very nature of a divorce means that not every holiday tradition can be maintained with both parents going their separate ways. While it’s natural to mourn the loss of past traditions, consider creating new ones that reflect your current circumstances. This could include starting fresh with your own holiday decorations, trying out new recipes, or planning activities that bring you joy.

Just because you can’t perfectly recreate past holidays with your spouse, doesn’t mean that you can’t form your own, new traditions that you and your loved ones will come to treasure down the line.

Communication and realistic expectations are key:

As with any other time of year, open and honest communication with your ex-spouse is essential, particularly when children are involved. Discuss holiday plans well in advance to avoid last-minute stress, and be flexible and considerate of each other’s needs, focusing on creating a positive experience for the children. Keeping lines of communication open helps minimize misunderstandings and ensures a smoother holiday season.

With that in mind, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations for yourself and the holiday season. As we mentioned when talking about traditions; things may be different this year, and that’s okay. Give yourself permission to scale back on commitments and focus on self-care. This might involve saying no to certain events or activities to prioritize your well-being.

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family:

Divorce can be isolating, especially during the holidays. Reach out to friends, family, or a support group to share your feelings and experiences. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network can provide comfort and remind you that you’re not alone. If the emotional burden becomes overwhelming, seeking professional help can be transformative. A therapist or counselor specializing in divorce can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to explore your emotions year round, not just during the holidays. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

However, you don’t need to rely exclusively on others for support, as prioritizing self-care by getting enough rest, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you joy is vital to making it through the holidays, divorce or not. Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or practicing mindfulness, make time for activities that nourish your mind and body.

Navigating a divorce during the holidays is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for growth, resilience, and the beginning of a new chapter. By acknowledging your emotions, fostering open communication, setting realistic expectations, and seeking help when needed, you can navigate this season with grace and emerge stronger on the other side. Remember that healing is a process, and each step forward is a victory in itself.

Dealing with a divorce this holiday season? JC Law is here to help.

As a firm with over 30 years of experience in family law, we fully understand how difficult the holidays can be when dealing with something like a divorce or custody battle. However, as we’ve already mentioned, you’re never alone on this journey regardless of how isolated you may feel.

If you or a loved one need help with navigating a divorce during the holidays, give us a call right away at (888) JCLAW-10 or click here to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.

Remember, at JC Law, we aren’t just your lawyer. We’re your legal ally, any time of the year.