11. Don't Spend The Holidays Alone
It can be tempting to crawl into a cave and hibernate during your first holiday season alone, especially if your ex has the kids. However, I urge you to resist the temptation. There's no reason to punish yourself, and that's what hiding in a cave during the holidays is. I'm not saying that you don't need time alone. You very well might. I'm just suggesting that instead of spending all of the holiday season alone, make an effort to go out and spend some time with others. I promise that you'll get a different perspective of your first holidays as a newly single person if you open yourself up to even a little fun celebrating the holidays with others.
12. Take Care Of Your Health
The funny thing about the holiday season is that it coincides with the cold and flu season. This, along with the stress that usually accompanies divorce, makes you a bit more susceptible to catching a bug. So, take good care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, adequate exercise and good nutrition in addition to all the holiday goodies.
13. Give Yourself A Gift
This being the first holiday season post separation/divorce, chances are you won't be receiving a gift from your ex. (You probably won't be buying them a gift either). Since your gift giving list has decreased by at least one, why not add yourself to your list? If you do, you'll be able to buy yourself something that you'll truly enjoy this holiday season. But you may not want to over-indulge. You want to make sure it's not something that you'll regret purchasing in the New Year when the payments for it start!
14. Count Your Blessings
It's easy to get caught up in what's different this holiday season in the negative sense. If that's happening to you, flip that upside down and count what's different AND positive this holiday season. Maybe you don't have to listen to your ex's Uncle Jeremiah's continual belching during the holiday meal or suffer through listening to the never-ending story of all your former mother-in-law's aches and pains.
15. Lean On Your Faith
Whatever your beliefs are, you just might be able to find solace in your faith when you're not feeling in the "Ho Ho Ho!" mood. For many, the holidays are a celebration of faith and spending some time remembering this might be just what you need to experience a bit more of the holiday spirit.
16. Plan Ahead
The most important thing to have when you want something to happen at a certain time is a plan. Wanting to have happy holidays requires a plan too. The plans don't have to be elaborate or come with a detailed time table of when events must happen. But, by giving some thought to what you want to have happen and then doing what needs to be done will make it more likely you'll have a happy holiday season.
17. Cultivate Gratitude
Developing an attitude of gratitude does wonders for the way you view the world. This was one of the most important skills I developed when I got divorced. It helped me to be more positive and proactive about changing the things that needed to be changed not just at the holidays, but year-round. It's also a skill I continue to use today more than 10 years later. What are you thankful for this holiday season? Think about it and let it stay on your mind, especially if you get into a sad mood.
18. Be Aware Of What You Love
What is your favorite part about the holiday season? People like the cooler weather, giving and receiving gifts, decoration and more. Whatever it is that you love most about the holiday season, figure out a way to get more of it. Once you do that, you'll definitely have a better time.
19. What Activities Put You In The Holiday Mood?
When I ask my clients this question I often hear answers like shopping, parties, decorating, watching football, Christmas lights and caroling. The next question I ask them is "How can you do more of these and get even more enjoyment out of the holiday season?" So, what activities put you in the holiday mood? Once you know, you can figure out a way to do more of what you enjoy.
20. Be Realistic
Your life is in the midst of a major change. For most people, separation and divorce bring increased responsibilities along with decreased financial means and free-time. Be sure and factor these facts in this holiday season. If you do, I'll bet you'll find it easier to be realistic with the expectations you have of yourself, your family and the holidays this year.
21. One Holiday At A Time
The holiday season can easily be a blur of activities that pretty much start as soon as the jack-o-lantern is off the front porch on the morning of November 1st. Prevent the blur by focusing on just one holiday at a time. Avoid multi-tasking and the potential for overwhelm by taking the holidays just as they come, one… at… a… time.
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
Choose one of the tips to implement immediately. Sometimes seeing a long list of tips can cause us to start to gloss over them. I know these tips work, so take a moment now and choose one of them that you can implement right now and then do it!
Choose a tip that addresses your biggest concern about the holidays and put it to use. It's pretty normal for the tip that can be most helpful to not necessarily be the easiest to implement. If that's the case for you, take a moment now and select the tip that would address your biggest concern. And, when you're ready, take a deep breath and figure out how you can implement that tip to help you enjoy your holidays just a bit more.
Come back to the tips frequently throughout the holiday season. Just because you've tried something out once doesn't mean that you're done with it. Keep these tips handy and visit them throughout the holidays anytime you could use a little bit of help. And, of course, if you'd like to schedule a Complimentary Consultation with me to discuss your particular situation, I'd be happy to talk with you.