To many, the holidays are a very stressful time of year. Add divorce into the equation and it can become a time that some people dread and want to avoid altogether. After a separation or divorce, the holidays can serve as a constant reminder of happier times and amplify the loneliness and sadness that one may be feeling.
Here are some ways in which you may be able to relieve some of this holiday anxiety:
(1) Plan a Vacation – This may be the perfect time to get away without having painful reminders close by. It is usually much easier to take time off from work during the holiday season. A vacation can recharge you, enable you to have new experiences, and meet new people. It may just help you gain a better perspective of your situation once you remove yourself from your everyday surroundings.
(2) Set Goals – Make a list of things you want to accomplish over the holidays while you have more free time. Keeping busy is a great way to keep your mind off of your troubles, and can also give you a sense of accomplishment when you complete the tasks on your to-do list. You may have been putting some things off, and this can be the ideal time to take things off your plate and feel less stressed.
(3) Schedule “Me Time” – The importance of self-care cannot be emphasized enough. What are your favorite activities to do for relaxation? Things like going to the spa, seeing a movie, taking up a new creative hobby, and reading a good book (all without your cell phone on) can help you relax and rejuvenate.
(4) Exercise – Even if you don’t feel like you have the energy to even think about going to the gym or taking a fitness class, it can do wonders for your mental and physical health. It is a great way to boost your confidence too!
(5) Eat Healthy & Avoid Alcohol – Eating healthy is not only great for your body, but it will enable you to get results much quicker from your time at the gym. During the holidays, it is so easy to over-indulge, which can lead to weight gain and make you feel sluggish. And unless you can limit your drinking to a glass of wine, it’s probably best to avoid it altogether, as this can accentuate depression and create more problems.
(6) Put Things in Perspective – You are not the only person going through a separation or divorce, even though it may feel like that. Approximately 40% of Canadian marriages end in divorce, so you are definitely not alone. You still have so much life ahead of you and this pain is temporary. Making a list of everything you have to be grateful for will help get you in a positive mindset. Even though relationships end – remember that new ones begin!
(7) Get Support from Friends and Family – Your friends and family love you and will be understanding if you are not quite yourself during this time. They will also want to support you, but they may not know how best to do so. Communicate with them as to what you need from them and how they may be able to help you. You can also seek out support groups of other divorcees who are in the same boat as you and can relate to what you are going through.
(8) Create New Holiday Traditions – This is a great way to create new memories and make a fresh start. Change is good!
Most importantly, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your relationship has ended because it was not working for you anymore or serving your life in a positive way, so it can only get better from here.
It is also a great idea to seek professional help if you feel depressed and overwhelmed. Therapy can provide you with unbiased support and skills to help you cope during the pain of separation and divorce and help you heal.