As the holiday season comes around again, you may feel more dread than anticipation after your divorce. The post-divorce reality is an additional factor to consider as you make your holiday plans.
Parents should already have a schedule in place – especially since custody arrangements generally address how you will divide holidays with your children. Even so, there are some other things you should keep in mind to help the holidays go smoothly.
What can help you navigate this season?
Whether you have plans for a big family get-together or a simple gathering, there are some small – yet important – things to remember. Around this time of year, you should:
- Be on time: If you and your ex-spouse are sharing custody of the kids for the holidays, make sure you are on time for the transfers. This is a hectic time of year. You, your ex-spouse and even your children will likely have several social engagements to attend. It is important to manage your time effectively and have prompt custody exchanges to reduce stress and the risk of conflict.
- Have a plan for just you, too: Your home can feel lonely when you drop the kids off at their other parent’s house after your holiday fun. So, it is important to make a plan for how you will spend that time. Perhaps you plan a gathering with friends or family, whether in person or virtual if they do not live in North Carolina. You might also plan a night in on your own doing something you enjoy. Protecting and maintaining your mental health after a divorce is critical.
- De-stress: Part of your plan should also include strategies to reduce your stress. The holiday season in general can be a stressful time. It can be even more so dealing with the effects and changes after your divorce. While it is important to process all of your emotions, from joy to sadness, you should actively work to keep your stress levels low.
These three steps may seem small in the grand scheme of things. However, they can make a big difference in your holiday experience this year.