How to cope with divorce during the holidays

Dealing with a divorce is one thing, but during the holidays it can really make people feel overwhelmed and overrun with anxiety, stress, and fear.

The season may serve festivities, fun and rejoicing but this is contrasted by depression, fear and a sense of loss for those who are divorced. Many people deal with holiday sadness as it is, and if you are recently divorced it can become more detrimental. You need to be patient with yourself as there are no magical solutions except time. There is also no reason to punish yourself or hide in a cave for the entire holiday season, either. Time alone is good, but striking a balance will be essential for you. In the process of all of this, you can obtain a larger perspective. Getting out of this funk can happen. Here are a few ways on how you can cope with divorce during the holidays.

Help Others

You might not feel like leaving the house, especially if your ex-spouse has the kids. However, volunteering is a great way to get your mind off yourself. Work at a soup kitchen, at a homeless shelter or help at your local church. When you see the needs of others more than your own, it will make you feel better. Another good attribute in serving others is it can expand overall happiness. You can make this part of your new tradition for the holidays. Remember there are people who may be suffering worse than you.

Get Social

You may find that after a divorce that you have little in common with your married friends. It might be just your perception, but try to look past this. If they are your friends then their marital status won’t matter. However, if this is an issue, you can also join a church group or join an active community group. Reach out to people in your neighborhood by bringing a bottle of wine and a tray of cookies. Maybe you need to be the one to invite people over to a party just to lighten up your environment. Have a movie night, a wine tasting party or just invite people over to hang out. Get out and about as being alone for too long can add to your sadness.

Count Your Blessings

Yes, this is a bad time! Be thankful for what you already are blessed with. If you are healthy, rejoice! If you have money to buy gasoline for the car without having to dig into your couch cushions for cash–you are blessed. If you are holding a 5 dollar latte in your hands–well, you get it. This is a litmus test for you down the road when things are not going as you want them to. The Mayo Clinic found that 10 percent of people based their happiness on circumstances. If that is the case we need to pull out all stops. Gratitude is just one of those tools. Also, if you want to lower your stress gratitude can ease loneliness, lower aggression and help with depression.

Eat Healthier

You need to take care of your health because when you are stressed your immune system takes a beating. The holidays are tough enough, so if you are not eating well you won’t be strong enough to cope. You might be running on fumes and living on a sugar-centric diet. Snacking more might be an issue now and you may grab more comfort food than normal. Eating better will make you feel better. Try to eat more leafy greens, fish, beans and whole grains. When you want a snack look to eat carrots, apples, and yogurt. Almonds and walnuts have vitamin E have and vitamin B-12 to boost your energy levels. Build up your body so it can remain steadfast.

Use Prayer

Praying when you are angry and going through a tough time might not be on your list. Choosing to trust God and to pray when circumstances are dire is one of the most challenging things humans can do. Yet, it can be more than just saying a few words, you can really vent to God and have it out with Him. Prayer is your connection to Him and a way to find respite for the soul. Making this a practice during good and bad times will bring you a source of comfort and durability. Prayer may also help you deal with complications better later on.

Be Realistic

Divorce is a major life change and there are going to be a flux of emotions and physical changes like lower income and less free time since you have the children more. Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach,  wrote that in the midst of a major change these circumstances need to be examined. She explained that “you’ll find it easier to be realistic with the expectations you have for yourself, your family and the holidays this year.” Go easier on yourself this holiday season and be more aware that it takes awhile to adjust to the changes. Pushing yourself to reach goals that you are obviously not ready for just adds to the stress.

The bad news is this time hurts and divorce takes a lot of time to recover from. But walk away from this knowing that there will be a brighter day and a more robust you and understand that this is temporary. Then, you will be ready to face anything no matter if it is during the holidays or not.

This post is also available in: Spanish