Choosing to divorce before the holidays can make this time of year incredibly painful. While you may wish you could hibernate and skip the next few months completely, there are ways to navigate this time with peace. If you have children, managing this first Christmas alone will mean a lot to them.
Check out some of our best tips for getting through the holidays while going through a divorce. To talk more about your family law case, call Olmstead & Olmstead at 703-361-1555.
Give Yourself Grace
People often put far too much pressure on themselves to have it all together during this time. Not only is this a nearly impossible standard to reach, but you’ll also inadvertently make yourself feel even worse if you fail to meet it. This is a painful time—any reasonable person would struggle with the holidays while divorcing.
Know this, and give yourself permission to feel sad, angry, let down, and disappointed. Accepting your negative feelings without judgment puts you in a better position to be there for your kids.
Lean on Loved Ones
If you’re worried about being a burden on your friends and family, put that out of your mind. Anyone who truly loves you knows how difficult this is for you, and they likely want to help. However, they may not know what help you need.
Perhaps you need someone to spend time with when your kids are with your ex, or you need someone to go with you to get a Christmas tree because that was something your ex always handled. Maybe you just want someone to listen while you vent and cry. Figure out what you need and then ask for it.
Focus on Special Memories with Your Children
Even if your children are very young and don’t understand divorce, they will likely be able to sense that something is different this year. Alleviate some of the stress they may be experiencing by making new memories and traditions with them.
Instead of trying to recreate memories you and your ex made with your children, choose entirely new activities and locations. You never know which memories will mean the most to your children and turn into a new annual tradition.
Plan Early and Stick to Your Plan
One of the hardest parts of divorce during the holidays is the custody schedule. No one wants to give up holiday time with their children, but it is part of most splits. If you already have a temporary custody order pending your finalized divorce, you will slimly follow that for the holidays.
If you don’t yet have an agreement in place, set aside time to talk it out with your ex-partner. Try to make sure that both parents get meaningful time with the children. Regardless of who is to blame for the divorce, the children deserve time with both parents. Agree to a plan, document it over text or email, and make sure both parties agree to it in writing. This can prevent any fights down the road.
Avoid Unnecessary Communication
During the holidays, it’s tempting to go back to what’s comfortable. Fight the urge to reminisce with your ex-partner, talk about your favorite holiday memories you’ve shared, or vent to them about holiday stress. While it may make you feel better temporarily, it may complicate divorce proceedings later on and leave you feeling even more distressed once the feeling passes.
Distract Yourself to Avoid Getting Caught Up in Memories
How do you avoid getting too chatty with your ex? Stay busy. When your kids aren’t with you, take up a new hobby, go to the gym, or join a local social group. When your kids are with you, get out there and go to Christmastime train rides, character meet-and-greets, and arts and crafts sessions. Anything that can keep you distracted can help you get through this time a little bit more easily.
Get the Legal Support you Deserve with Olmstead & Olmstead
If you don’t yet have an attorney to help you navigate your divorce, it’s time to find out how the team at Olmstead & Olmstead can help you. Set up a consultation now by or calling us at 703-361-1555.