There’s nothing like the holidays to make a newly divorced or separated person feel disconnected and lonely. Everywhere you turn, you’re reminded of your new status. Your friends are spending Thanksgiving “just with family.” Holiday cards featuring perfect-looking parents and children appear in your mailbox — and your Facebook newsfeed is overflowing with happy, smiling couples and families. You watch a commercial for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and burst into tears.
You may feel alone in this — but in reality, you’re far from it! According to the 2017 U.S. Census report, 110.6 million American adults aged 18 and older are single. That’s a whopping 42.5% of the population. So give yourself an early holiday gift and let go of your self-consciousness. Instead, start thinking of ways to make the most out of this holiday season. Here are some suggestions to get you started…
- Stay busy. Unstructured time is the enemy of the newly divorced person – especially if your kids are spending the holidays with their other parent per your holiday custody plan. Take advantage of the time you have alone and make a plan. Throw yourself into that home improvement project you never seem to have time for. Cross off items on your to-do list. That novel you never have time to start? Seize the day!
- Volunteer. Do something valuable with your time. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, help those whose problems are bigger than yours. Work at a soup kitchen. Spend Thanksgiving with elderly people at a nursing home, many of whom have no visitors, ever. Helping others who have less than you will make you realize how much you’ve got, instead of what you’ve lost.
- Have a pre- or post-holiday celebration with your kids. Who says you have to have Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving? You don’t need to miss out on the holiday; just celebrate it on a day your kids are with you. Turn the occasion into a family affair by preparing a menu with your children and having them pitch in in the kitchen.
- Celebrate the holidays with friends or family. Don’t sit home alone on a holiday. If a friend offers you a spot at their dinner table, take it. If you have out-of-town family, invite them to your place, or take a trip to celebrate at their house.
- Take a social media sabbatical. Studies show that when we’re already feeling down, scrolling through Facebook can make us feel worse. Comparison is the thief of joy as the saying goes, and you might be better off skipping the endless stream of carefully staged holiday photos from friends. Delete the app from your phone and enjoy a few Facebook-free days.
- Go on a retreat. Do something untraditional: spend the holidays nurturing your spirit at a yoga or spa retreat. A Google search will turn up lots of holiday locales. Approach the retreat with the intention of releasing toxic post-divorce emotions and practicing self-care. And here’s a plus: you may feel less alone when you meet other like-minded singles
- Send out your own holiday card. Who says holiday cards are just for in tact families? Affirm your spot in the human race by having your photo taken, whether it’s just you, your kids, or your dog. Include a letter detailing the positive things you’ve done in 2017 and your plans for 2018.
- Cultivate an Abundance Mindset. If you focus on what you’ve lost, you’ll walk around with a sense of deprivation. And if you feel deprived a lot of the time, you’re likely to settle for less than you deserve. The last thing you want is to get into another unsatisfying relationship. If you allow yourself to believe you deserve good things – and put an action plan in place to get them – you may find that positive opportunities and people present themselves.
Consider the holidays as a time of renewal. An old phase of your life has come to a close, and you’re making room for a new one. If you tear up at memories of holidays that you and your ex spent together, you may be gazing at the past through rose-colored glasses. You no longer have to deal with difficult in-laws or pretend to be happy in front of the kids. Spend your first post-divorce holiday the way you want and greet the New Year with gusto.
Have questions about your divorce? We can help you resolve your matter and move on with your life. Secure your future — and your peace of mind. Contact us today for an initial consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.