Home Alone This Holiday
By Colette Fortin, Owner, Fairway Divorce Solutions Waterloo-Wellington
The holidays can be stressful at the best of times. Shopping, decorating, baking, year-end work deadlines, work parties, scheduling, gift-wrapping, family obligations! Are you exhausted yet? It’s a wonder we don’t all do what Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon did in the movie Four Christmases and just bail out of the whole thing. So how do you manage through the holidays when you add divorce to the equation?
The first holiday post separation can be particularly stressful and filled with a wide range of emotions. Below are some tips for helping cope with the first holiday season.
- Acknowledge how you feel. Recognize that is it completely understandable you may feel sad, lonely or missing your former spouse and extended family. If you had nieces or nephews on your spouse’s side of the family, that can feel like an even bigger loss. With the healing of time, you might even be able to continue a relationship with your former spouse’s family. If the two of you have an open dialogue, talk about what that might look like.
- Give yourself permission not to attend all those holiday/work parties if you don’t feel like it. While sometimes being out with others can be a great distraction, if you just don’t feel like it or don’t want to go out alone, then it’s ok to take a pass. Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to please others and we forget to think about ourselves. It’s ok to put you first.
- Pamper yourself. Our lives are full of obligations, have-tos, should-dos, deadlines and responsibilities. We rarely take time to do what WE want. When was the last time someone said you have 2 days with no one to be accountable to or for? No emails, no deadlines, no obligations! Rent movies and have a PJ day, buy a good book and read all day, go to the movies. Buy yourself that gift you always wanted!
- Establish your own new traditions. Your former spouse never wanted a real tree but you always did. Now you can decorate, plan new traditions, meals just the way you want it.
- If you have the budget and time for it, check out last minute deals to warm destinations. Nobody usually flies on Christmas Day and there can be some pretty good deals out there. After the last month of crisp weather, a couple of days on a warm beach could be pretty inviting.
- If you don’t have family nearby, lean on your friends. You’ve been there for them many times; just be honest and tell them you don’t want to be alone. Chances are they’ve been thinking about you but don’t want to invade your space.
Holidays are stressful enough. This year make a plan to consciously take the stress out of the holidays. Take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who bring you joy.