The first holiday season — the first everything, actually — after you separate from your spouse can be tough to handle, but there are ways to get through it. Making the transition is a lot easier, however, when you have a plan.
Whether you have children with your spouse or not, there are bound to be some moments during the December festivities that you’re dreading — whether it’s the first time you have to show up to a holiday party alone or the first significant date that you won’t be with your children. Here are the best ways to cope:
1. Acknowledge your feelings
The holidays are emotional for a lot of people. All the cheeriness and goodwill can feel oppressive if you simply aren’t in the mood. Journaling or talking to a therapist can help you deal with the fact that you just aren’t feeling merry. You have a right to feel any way you want right now, so don’t force yourself to act like you’re enjoying something when you aren’t.
2. Change your plans
How many holiday events are you planning on going to just because you’ve been going to them for the last 10 years or so? If there’s ever a good time to take a fresh look at what you’re doing and what you really enjoy, this is it. If you don’t genuinely want to go somewhere or do something this holiday season, don’t! You should be looking for new traditions to celebrate — instead of dwelling on the past.
3. Keep the discord to a minimum
You don’t need any negativity in your life right now. Stop talking about your divorce to your friends and ask them to drop the subject for a while so you can think about other things during the holidays. If you have kids, try to make any agreements regarding the custody schedule as early as possible — and then purposefully avoid talking to (or about) your spouse as much as possible.
4. Give yourself a daily positive reminder
Most of all, keep reminding yourself that separation and divorce are the first steps of a journey toward a much brighter future. The road may seem difficult now, but it will get easier. That small positive affirmation, often repeated, can do wonders for your outlook.