What’s on your Christmas list? A new car? The latest hit CD from your favorite band? A surprise island getaway? How about a divorce for Christmas? You know that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” If your divorce has become final, coinciding with the festive holiday season might not be an altogether good thing. How do you survive the season?
What a Christmas to Have the Blues
Statistics show up to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. The holiday season can get the best of the best of us, and anyone at a crisis hotline can attest to the rise in the suicide rate during this time. Holidays are stress makers, and bringing a divorce into it can make the onslaught of emotions of the season feel like a tsunami. Add kids to this mix and it feels like putting out fire with gasoline. How can you prepare for your first post-divorce Christmas?
“As a father of two young girls, it was like I was emotionally disconnected from everyone,” blogger Drew Harris wrote on divorce help site marriage partner.com. “The joy of the season was something I just switched on, for brief periods, when my little girls were at my house leading up the holidays. When they would leave until their next visit, the joyful glow of the Christmas lights and Christmas tree seemed to turn cruel and I would turn it all off. I remember sitting on my couch, alone in the dark, watching movies on Christmas Eve, counting down the hours until the girls arrived on Christmas Day at noon.”
Harris said he had “alcohol-free” suicidal thoughts as he sunk down into depression, but decided to seek support from family and trusted friends.
Can There Be Holly Without Jolly?
Counselors agree that the worst thing to be on Christmas post-divorce is ALONE. Also, give yourself permission to pout.
Be okay with the sadness. Once you let yourself feel your feelings, you’ll make room for other happier feelings that will take the place of the sadness. Also, have the courage to reach out to your family and friends. Chances are high they will instinctively be there for you. They love and care for you. Let them. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you’d like to spend time with them on your first yearning Yuletide. Have them over to your place and host a holiday celebration. It will help you focus away from yourself. Also, consider donating your time to a local charity or food bank. You’ll put your situation into perspective to see people in greater need.
A Fresh Snow
Think of the first flakes of the season. How they cover the ground and create a blanket of white. New. Clear. Untrodden. This could be the season for new beginnings, new traditions. If you have kids, life won’t be like last year, and why should it? Establishing new ways to celebrate can bring you joy, and again, allow you to refocus. After all, the holidays are supposed to be a happy and warm time.
Divorce doesn’t have to change that.
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