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Tips for navigating the holidays after divorce

If you recently ended a marriage, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of year. While it will get easier over time, there are challenges and hardships with which any person might struggle.

However, there are ways to make the holidays a little easier after divorce. Below are some suggestions.

  • Don't focus on the negative. It is not unusual for people to feel sad or lonely during the holidays when they are not married or in a relationship. Rather than focus on what you may not have this year, remember what you do have. This could be your friends, children or a fresh start to your life.
  • Start your own traditions. Letting go of traditions you observed during your marriage is difficult. However, you can take this opportunity to start your own. You might go out for a nice dinner on Christmas Eve or watch a holiday movie with your kids.
  • Practice self-care. Be kind to yourself and patient with your emotions. This is a difficult transition, and you should allow yourself to be sad, angry, happy or whatever else you may be feeling. You might also indulge in a gift for yourself, whether it's tickets to a football game with friends or a spa treatment. Whatever it may be, treat yourself well and make your happiness a priority.
  • Avoid legal missteps. Even though the legal complexities of a divorce may be behind you, they can still come back if you violate your child custody order or fail to pay spousal support. As difficult as it may be, staying in line with your legal obligations can make the holidays easier to get through.
  • Don't overspend. It can be tempting for anyone to overspend during the holidays, whether it's on yourself, your kids or your loved ones. But it can be especially vital for a newly-divorced person to spend responsibly. You have a different financial situation than you likely had last year. Make a budget and stick to it to prevent money woes from following you after the holidays end.

Remember that this difficult time will pass. Eventually, the holidays will be over and you can get back to your new normal.

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