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Surviving your first holiday season after divorce

While grappling with the residual pain of your divorce, even the most wonderful time of the year can be overwhelmingly difficult. From attending parties to organizing family gatherings, the unending list of things to do, or the complete lack of them, can transform a typically cheerful season into one filled with chaos or isolation. Although the season calls for togetherness, know that it’s okay to put yourself first.

Find a healthy distraction

When under stress, it is completely understandable to feel like not participating in any holiday activities. However, leaving yourself alone with all your complex emotions may not be a good idea. Instead of isolating yourself, keeping busy throughout the season may help relieve some of the holiday pressure.

This could be a great time to focus on work. Your employer will likely thank you for it. They may even be open to allowing you to take your mandated breaks on another day.

If the idea of work does not appeal to you, there are other ways to keep busy. Consider taking on a new hobby, joining classes or volunteering in soup kitchens. What’s important is to get out of the house, and discovering something you enjoy or find fulfilling may help.

Make the holidays your own

Facing the holidays is challenging, particularly when you used to celebrate it with your ex. This could be your opportunity to try something new, whether that is celebrating with friends, going on a vacation or starting new traditions with your kids. Having something to look forward to can be a good motivator.

Prioritize self-care

Family and friends may invite you to come and celebrate with them. Being around other people during such a difficult time can provide the comfort you need. Still, these gatherings can become overwhelming, so it is crucial to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

Consider planning ahead who you want to spend time with and what types of gatherings you think will be a good time. However, don’t feel pressured to stay in situations that are too stressful for you. And, if you’re worried that seeing your ex may set you off, set clear boundaries with your ex and mutual connections.

It might be tempting to isolate yourself, but being around the right people can change your perspective. With the holiday season on its way, having a plan of action may help you better appreciate and celebrate it.

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