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6 Tips to Help You Enjoy the Holidays if You're Recently Divorced

If you are navigating separation or divorce, you probably haven't had time to think about what you will do over the holidays. You need to prepare your coping strategies well before you need them. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Passover or Christmas that you celebrate, the holidays have a way of intensifying feelings of loss and sadness. When it's time to decorate your home for the holidays, you may find yourself truly realizing that you're divorced and single again. Mental health experts recommend having a plan to transition from being a family to being alone.

Even if your life isn't on track at the moment, it's important to remember that you have a choice when it comes to spending your holidays. What follows are six ideas that you can use to go through the holidays in a healthy state of mind, rather than spend them brooding over the past.

Choose a Positive Approach to the Holidays

When adults are alone during the holidays, they are usually painfully aware of it and wish that it would all just be over. Children, on the other hand, are usually able to enjoy the holidays, whether the entire family is together or not. If you can possibly manage it, you should try to bring a childlike positivity to the holidays, and discover an ability to feel good about them.

Start Planning Early for the Holidays

Whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, you and your former spouse will need to decide where the children spend the day. It's important to be generous and mature about letting your spouse keep the children over at least one of the important holidays. If you'll be alone on a given day, you can reach out to your friends and ask to spend the holiday with them. They are likely to welcome you into their home.

Plan New Traditions

The holiday season is all about family traditions, sentiments, and rituals. When your family is no longer together, you may find it painful to carry on with those traditions. If old traditions are difficult to continue to practice, however, you can always pick up new ones. Think of what traditions you have from the cultures of your parents or grandparents, and choose a couple of that you like. Whether it's a traditional dish that you make at home, or traditional songs that you sing, picking up a new tradition can put you in a better, more positive frame of mind.

Make Gift-Giving More Meaningful

As nice as it can be to give gifts for the holidays, you may not be in a state of mind in which you find high prices, crowds, and commercialism, tolerable. Making a gift of a treasured family heirloom to a child may be more meaningful than buying a gift at a store. It can also be a meaningful gift to give, to simply tell yourself that you will show nothing but goodwill to your former spouse over the holidays. To see you have a functional relationship with your former spouse is a gift that your children will highly appreciate.

Commit to Exercise and a Better Diet

If you feel stressed by your circumstances since the divorce, exercise and a healthy diet can help experience a more positive frame of mind. Try to avoid dairy, processed foods, caffeine, and sugar. Instead, make sure that your diet has plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fish. You can sign up for a fitness class, as well, and find out how a healthier lifestyle makes you feel better.

Be More Proactive

It can help to volunteer at your local church or another community organization over the holidays. You can reach out and help those less fortunate than yourself through one of these organizations. You'll find yourself feeling better as a result.

It's important to keep in mind that there's nothing inherently stressful about the holidays. Rather than think about what might have been, it can make sense to focus on how you can make your life better in the present and the future. The holidays are a time of joy. When you think of how you can make your life better in the future, you can tap into all the positivity that the holidays come with. If you have any questions concerning divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at 201-845-7400 for a consultation.

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