Navigating the Holidays During a Divorce

December has been designated as “Stress-Free Family Holidays Month.” While it may seem impossible to combine the terms “stress-free,” “family,” and “holidays” all in the same sentence, it is possible to reduce your level of anxiety during the holidays season, even when you are going through something as traumatic as a divorce.

Let Go of Expectations and Eliminate Potential Problems

Do you know all those ads with the family clustered around the perfect Christmas tree? They are all actors and the settings are fake. Even if you have memories of ideal holidays in the past, do not allow yourself to feel pressured into recreating that experience. The expectations around the holidays can be impossible to live up to in the best of times, and divorce is certainly not one of those.

Another way to reduce stress is to make sure you have the bases covered so you won’t suddenly find yourself worrying about details at 3:00 in the morning. Work with an experienced divorce attorney who you can count on to let you know if you have an obligation to meet or a deadline coming up. Consult a financial professional who can help you determine how much it is safe to spend during the holidays. If you have kids, work out the schedule for parenting time in advance, but also create a backup plan in case your ex throws you a curveball.

Suggestions for Keeping Up Your Spirits During Divorce Over the Holidays

While is it important not to overload yourself during the holiday season, it is also a good idea to make some plans so that you don’t find yourself brooding about dashed expectations or changes from the past. Suggestions that have helped others navigate the holidays during divorce include:

  • Acknowledging your sense of loss while avoiding things that send you on a trip down memory lane. This is probably not the best time to go through photos or ornaments you made with your children
  • Developing new traditions. See the lights in German Village or on the Scioto Mile. Enjoy the holiday displays at the Franklin Park Conservatory or see the holiday train displays at Main Library or the Ohio History Center.
  • Scheduling time to be with family and friends. These moments are the ones that mean most during the holidays and any time of year.
  • Volunteering or finding another way to help those less fortunate. Not only will you make it easier for someone else to navigate the holidays, but you will also remind yourself of the things you have to be grateful for.
  • Maintaining holiday traditions that are important to you, even if you have to do it in a different way. For instance, if you always watch “Elf” with your kids on Christmas eve but will be separated from them this year, you might plan to watch the movie on the day after. On Christmas Eve, enjoy a different movie with someone else, anticipating the upcoming time with your kids.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help When You’re Going Through Divorce

Divorce takes you down a lonely road where it can be hard to know which way to turn. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those who have been down the road before or who regularly help others navigate the twists and turns.

Your divorce lawyer has probably had more experience than anyone you know at dealing with divorce issues over the holidays. If you are worried about how things are going, can’t remember if there’s something you’re supposed to be working on, or if you and your ex need help dividing heirloom holiday decorations, your attorney could help resolve conflicts and put your worries to rest.

Remember at Weis Law Group, we are always here to help guide your steps.