Christmas is always heralded as a family time, full of jollity and happiness, but it can be a really daunting prospect if you are facing surviving your first Christmas after your divorce. Here are our top tips for making the most of this time of year.
Don’t Place Too Much Pressure On Yourself
Whatever your situation, Christmas WILL be different for you this year than it has been. It is impossible, even with a very amicable divorce where children are involved, for it not to be a new experience for all concerned. Don’t expect too much of yourself and don’t plan to be perfect. Aim to be happy with what you have got.
Let Your Emotions Out Somewhere
Try not to bottle up all of the emotions you are feeling in order to put on a ‘brave face’ at all times. Ensure you have a good support network around you so that you can have a chat, cry or rant at a suitable time (not in front of children). It is perfectly normal to feel guilt and loneliness even when it is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’.
Don’t Let Money Worries Get Out Of Hand
If you are struggling financially, do not be tempted to bury your head and create further problems by spending too much on credit cards. Set yourself a budget, and talk to relatives and explain the situation. If you have children and you want their Christmas presents to be a priority, people will understand. Do seek professional advice if you are experiencing sleep difficulties due to money related restlessness. You are not alone.
Make a New Version Of Christmas
Depending upon the personal circumstances that you are in, it may be a good idea to focus on creating a different version of Christmas that suits your new life and commitments. If you have children, depending on their age, talk to them about how it can best be made to suit you all. Practicalities such as distance from other relatives, spending time with family and friends, living in two homes etc, can all be discussed. You may be surprised with the simple solutions that arise when everyone is asked their opinion rather than just presuming.
It is usual for arguments to arise because everyone wants to spend Christmas morning with the children (where involved). This can be a real struggle logistically, but compromise is key to prevent everyone being unhappy. Is it possible to spread celebrations over a number of days in different locations so that everybody gets a less stressful time, but everyone gets to enjoy the celebrations? Try and look from everyone’s perspective if you are feeling defensive.
Get Out In The Fresh Air
A break in nature and natural daylight can help you feel less overwhelmed by everything that surrounds the festive period. Being stuck indoors can allow you to dwell on circumstances that maybe aren’t as you would prefer them to be.
Look After Yourself
Remember that you need to take care of yourself. Whether you are a single parent and feeling the pressures or are alone whilst your children are with your partner, you need to take a bit of time out to look after your needs. We’re not just talking about having a massage (though that will help)….everyday care includes drinking enough water, eating well, exercising regularly and taking 20 minutes of calm time for you and so on and can work wonders for your mindset.
If you are putting off having a discussion regarding Christmas until the day before, think about broaching the subject that is on your mind now. This will allow the pressures of Christmas itself to not add to the issue in hand and may allow you to reach a more suitable arrangement ahead of time.