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8 Tips For Surviving the Holidays After a Divorce

Coping with the pain and sorrow of a divorce is even more difficult over the holidays – especially when children are involved. The usually happy holiday season is a constant reminder of good times in the past, while reality is more in the realm of sadness.

Most newly-divorced parents approach the holidays in a panic, dreading the week from Christmas to New Years. While there’s no miracle cure that will magically make everything better, the following tips can help make it easier to cope and provide a grounded holiday season for your children.

1. Assure your children that holiday celebrations will still happen, just in a different way than they’re used to

For most families, holiday traditions are based around family activities. Obviously, a divorce will change the status quo. Brainstorm with your children and come up with creative new ways to continue your traditions.

2. Create new traditions with your children

As you’re discussing past traditions with your children, think of a few new traditions you can start this year.

3. Make a schedule with your ex

Your ex will want to spend time with the kids over the holidays too. Create a plan for how the time will be shared and let your children know – this will eliminate confusion and help lessen the likelihood of a disagreement with your ex.

4. Make sure you’re acting in your children’s best interests

Your kids will want to spend time with your ex. Even if you can’t stand talking to your ex, you can’t monopolize the holiday “kid time” – you’ll only end up hurting your children.

5. Ask for help from family and friends

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if it’s your first holiday season after a divorce. Rely on your support system – tell them what you need, or ask them for help with your children.

6. Have realistic expectations for the holidays

We’re not going to lie – the holidays will be tough, especially if it’s your first year after your divorce. Don’t try to fool yourself that you’ll have the “perfect holiday season.” If you set realistic expectations, you’ll avoid disappointment.

7. Take time for yourself too

Yes, it’s important to help your children through their first post-divorce holiday season – but don’t forget about yourself. Make sure you get sleep and eat well – and don’t be afraid to take a break if you need one. You know it’s going to be a difficult time, so you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

8. Take the holidays one day at a time

Don’t get overwhelmed thinking about the entire holiday season – take things one day at a time. It will get easier. Things will get better. Your heart will hurt less. If you approach the season one day at a time, it makes it easier to get through.