The holidays are usually a joyous and family-oriented time, but this year you may be fearful that the holidays won’t be the same. The holiday season can be stressful, challenging and emotionally draining, especially for those who are separated or are going through a divorce this year.
If you and your spouse have recently decided to separate, you may be anxious about the holidays. Your plans will be different this year, and if you haven’t already told your family about the separation, now’s the time.
Even more stressful—you don’t know how you are going to share custody of the children. Since you aren’t officially divorced, there is no set custody arrangement yet. The stress you feel may impact your emotions; it is essential to cope with feelings of sadness or depression, speaking with a professional may help you manage your feelings.
Tips for sorting through the stress and staying cheerful
Divorce rates spike around Christmas time. Although you may feel lonely without your typical holiday gathering, you can make new traditions. Here are three tips to help you and your children through the holidays:
- Focus on your children. Hopefully, you and your spouse can work together to create a custody agreement for the holidays. You will likely feel satisfied if you know that your children are happy for the holiday. Remember that it can be difficult to remove emotion from your decision—you can seek guidance.
- Do what makes you happy. After you feel you have done what’s best for your children, it’s time to do what’s best for you. Spend the holidays with your family or friends, relax and unwind with a book or your favorite movie. Volunteering can be a great way to remember how fortunate you are while helping people.
- Make new traditions if necessary. It may be challenging to cope with the loss of tradition, but you can make new traditions with your children. You can also make the necessary adjustments to keep your traditions you have always shared. If you traditionally let your children open a gift a couple days before Christmas, you might be able to keep that tradition intact.
Changes to your traditionally holiday activity might be tough right away, but it could ultimately be best. If you and your spouse find a suitable method of sharing custody for the holidays while you are separated, it may make the custody planning easier in divorce.
Remember, you can always spend the holidays with your separated spouse if you get along, you know what is best for your family.