A Holly Jolly Christmas? Holidays After Divorce
If you are recently divorced, or have suffered the loss of a loved one- the spirit may not feel as bright.
It may be difficult to see others Deck the Halls, bring Joy to the World, and be Merry and Bright.
It is not uncommon to feel the loss and devastation even more so during the holiday season. It is another reminder, that things are not as they once were. Many things change; traditions, customs and rituals change- making the loss even more present. Not only are you experiencing the loss of your partner, but you are also experiencing the loss of an intact family.
You may experience loneliness as you adjust to not being with your children for all of the holiday experiences, witnessing your children having holiday experiences without you, perhaps with their new blended family. You may experience financial duress as you carry the solo financial burden to make your kids Christmas "magical." You may experience sadness and grief surrounding holiday traditions you once did as a couple, and as a family- that no longer look or feel the same.
What to do if you are experiencing grief, loss, sadness, devastation, trauma during the holidays:
Recognize your feelings. Honor those feelings. They are OK. There is no definitive timeline on how long divorce recovery can take. Research varies anywhere from 18 months total recovery time, to 1 year of recovery for every 5 years you were married, or 1 month of recovery for every year you were together. Ultimately, the amount of time it may take for you to fully heal is variable. It's OK to still be in a healing phase.
Flip your perspective: This is an OPPORTUNITY to discern what previous traditions you want to continue, and what new traditions you would like to adopt. Your life and family dynamic has changed. What traditions and celebrations now honor what your life is like now? How can you implement that? Be creative- think outside the box.
Work with your co-parent on how you can meet the needs of the kids and the family. Developing a collaborative and amicable co-parenting relationship, can be hard, complicated, and messy, but it not only benefits the children, it will benefit you as well.
Do things for YOU. It may be very sad to not be with your children during the holidays. What are things that you enjoy doing that you have not had an opportunity to do, because you have been so preoccupied and busy with single parenting? This is a time for YOU- to re-charge, to nurture yourself, and to heal yourself- in whatever fashion that looks like for you.