During and after the divorce process, your family faces so many changes, it can difficult to anticipate all the changes and emotions that will accompany them. One change you may encounter is your first holiday season without your children. Many parents feel lonely without their kids around during a time that is focused on family. As time passes, it gets easier to celebrate the holidays. Below are some tips to help you enjoy the holidays, even if you don’t get to celebrate with your children the entire time.
Recognize Your Feelings
Spending the holidays without your children can feel lonely and sad, and you may have a range of emotions throughout the season. Spend some time figuring out how you are feeling and process the emotions you identify. You can do this by talking with other family members, friends, or even a support group. Many people like to see a therapist or other mental health professional to talk about and learn strategies for coping with their emotions. After you have recognized your feelings and worked through them, be sure not to just sit in your sadness. It’s important to let ourselves feel emotions, but try to force yourself to keep your spirits up, even if just around your kids.
Spend Time With Others
Don’t sit at home alone if it makes you feel worse. Spend time with family or friends. See if there are volunteer opportunities around your area. If you want to be alone, still try to get out of the house occasionally. You could go see a movie, go to a restaurant, or just go for a walk around your neighborhood. Just being out and about with other people can make you feel more connected and less lonely. Its important not to isolate yourself, which can increase your feelings of loneliness.
Start New Traditions
Just as you may consider starting new traditions for spending the holidays with your children after divorce, you might want to establish new traditions for yourself without the children. Some parents like to bake a new recipe, make or buy new decorations, or even taking a vacation you’ve always wanted to go on. Starting a new tradition can make the holidays seem like an opportunity rather than something you need to survive.
You may feel sad, but it is important to take stock of all that you have. Reminding yourself of the good things in life can give you something to hold onto during the holidays. Remind yourself of the positives to your new lifestyle, your flexibility to do whatever you want during the holidays. Even if not having your children is not your top choice, you still have new opportunities for yourself. Take time to reflect on all that you do have, and give back to the community if you’re feeling up to it. There are lots of volunteer opportunities or even just donating can be a rewarding way to improve your mood.
Know When To Seek Help
Seeing a mental health professional is rarely, if ever, a bad idea, even if you don’t consider how you’re feeling as “serious.” However, if you start to isolate and have trouble going about your daily routine because of your mood, you may want to seek the help of a mental health professional. If you start to engage in unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or controlled substances, reach out to someone for help. The holidays aren’t always going to be happy, but if your emotions are feeling debilitating, it is important to seek help from a professional to ensure that you are happy and healthy year-round.
From all of us at Morneau Law, we wish you a very happy holiday season filled with peace and hope for the New Year.