Coping with Divorce During the Holidays
Statistics show that more people file for divorce after the holidays than any other time of year, indicating that during the holidays, couples may be weighing the issue of whether or not they want to leave their spouse.
Whether you have recently been divorced and will be spending the holidays on your own for the first time in years, or are in the process of going through a divorce now, separation during this festive time of the year can feel more stressful and lonely than ever. In fact, even if you have been divorced for years, the holidays may still be a slightly painful reminder, leading to anxiety and stress. Here are some tips for coping with divorce during the holidays.
Spend Time with Friends and Family
If you plan to be spending the holiday without your significant other as the result of a divorce, turn to your family and friends for support. Being social is one of the best things that you can do to combat the feelings of anxiety and depression that often accompany the holidays after divorce. If you are worried that your friends are on your (ex) spouse’s side, consider engaging in another sort of social outing, such as joining a church group, or organizing an office or neighborhood holiday party.
Figure Out a Plan for the Children
If you have children, then you know splitting time with your former spouse over the holidays can be a nightmare, and can be very stressful for your children. While you may feel as though the children should absolutely spend the holiday with you, keep in mind that your former spouse likely feels the same way. How to remedy this?
If you have a parenting plan that allocates with whom children are to spend holiday time, refer to it and follow it. If not, sit down with your child’s other parent and put together a plan that prioritizes your children’s best interests. This might include an arrangement where you get the children for half of the day and your spouse for the other half; where the whole family spends the holiday together (which only works in situations where parents are amicable with one another); or where you and your spouse trade off holidays, with each parent getting the children for a different holiday. Keep in mind that grandparents are usually keen to see their grandchildren, so factor this into your plan for splitting parenting time during the holidays.
Give Back and Give Gratitude
Being alone during the holidays can be very difficult. One way that you may be able to boost your mood – and do a good deed at the same time – is to focus on giving back and giving gratitude. While it can be easy to focus on all of the things that you don’t have, try to remember those that you do. Consider starting a volunteer project for those in need this time of year. Working in a soup kitchen, join a caroling group or volunteering at a homeless shelter are all great ways to give back to those less fortunate.
Put Your Best Self Forward
Putting your best self forward should be a priority at all times of the year, not just during the holidays. However, if you and your spouse’s divorce has not yet been finalized or you still have mutual interests, remember that the holidays draw each other together, and there is a good chance that you will run into each other at a gathering with family and friends. Always be amicable, polite, and gracious – don’t give your spouse any ammunition against you, especially if your divorce isn’t finalized.
If you need help filing for divorce this holiday season, or have questions about child custody during the holidays, contact our experienced family law attorneys at Smith & McGhee today at (334) 702-1744.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.