Divorce can be a mess, but no one ever talks about the aftermath. What does moving forward actually look like? Here are 5 ways for newly divorced individuals to approach the holiday season in the most productive and healthy manner:
1. Find an outlet.
It’s important to find a healthy outlet to process the feelings you have related to your divorce. Holidays are linked to so many memories and powerful emotions. Work through them, don’t go around them. Get a personal counselor, join a gym, write, take a class, travel, do yoga, take up baking or cooking. These activities are known to reduce stress and anxiety, ultimately making it easier to work through strong feelings, as they come.
2. Don’t isolate yourself.
What used to be a beautiful and wholesome time with family can quickly become a pain point after divorce. It can seem completely impossible to engage and stay connected, but the key is to lean in. Staying connected to friends and family is crucial after divorce. It’s the love and support that comes from community that helps heal the heart. Surround yourself with friends who uplift and encourage during the process. Avoid being alone when you’re feeling overwhelmingly sad or angry. Instead, call a loved one or utilize an established outlet (#1).
3. Practice gratitude.
Mourning the loss of a marriage is hard. It’s important to remember the good in your life as you grieve. Gratitude will help bring joy into a painful process of healing. To kick-off the habit of staying grateful, it can be helpful to write in a journal or on post-its throughout the day. If it’s out of sight, it will most likely be out of mind. By writing things down, it’s easier to keep gratitude at the forefront of the mind.
4. Set boundaries.
Only you know how much you can handle. Establish clear boundaries so that the holidays are enjoyable for everyone. Deciding which activities will not suit your emotional well-being is important to establish before the festivities begin. Bringing a counselor or trusted friend into this conversation could help sort through what boundaries to set in your first year of being divorced during the holiday season.
5. One step at a time.
The most important tip of all, is to take things one step at a time. Understand that the process of healing from a divorce does not happen overnight. However, taking steps daily towards healthiness and positive growth will be a game changer. Give yourself space to heal without a timeline or expectations and you’ll be satisfied with your progress.