The number one mistake that many newly divorced folks make that ruin their holidays and delay their healing process is simply expectation. You might expect the holidays to be sad, lonely, dreadful and you fear being alone for the rest of your life. The holidays remind you of all of the good times, and somehow make you forget the bad times. You dwell on the fact that things are different and convince yourself that it is impossible to be happy in your situation. The more sad and depressing stories you tell yourself, the more doom and gloom you feel. It becomes a vicious cycle. When you allow your train of thought to follow this path, you are mentally rehearsing a future that you don’t want to happen, and sadly it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even though it’s natural to be a little sad while grieving your marriage, it does not mean that the holidays are ruined.
Here are 5 Tips to Survive Your First Holiday Season Post Divorce
- Nurture Yourself
A divorce can drain you mentally, thus it is vital that you care for yourself. Be extra kind to you this season. This is equivalent to putting on your own oxygen mask first. You will be ready to face the rest of the season head on with peace and confidence. Be sure that you are eating healthy, exercising and sleeping. Treat yourself to a massage, pedicure, manicure or perhaps an entire spa day. Another idea is to light some candles, pour a glass of wine, get cozy on your sofa and watch your favorite movies. You may also elect to relax with a steaming hot cup of cocoa, chai, or herbal tea.
- Visit Some Place New
If you find that you will be alone for a lengthy period of time, you might decide to take a cruise or travel somewhere that you have always wanted to go. Being in a new environment might be just the escape you need to have fun and not drown yourself in sorrow. However, if you will be remaining close to home, decide to go places that you have never been, or haven’t been to in a while. You can choose to visit local museums and art galleries. If you are in a warmer climate, you might opt to go to the beach, mountains or hiking. In colder climates, you can be a kid again and go sledding. Other ideas include trying your hand at paintball, miniature golfing and ice or roller-skating.
- Check Out Local Activities
There is never a shortage of things to try and do during the holiday season. Check out your local paper or go online to see what activities are happening in your area. You might find that a group of newly single people are getting together for a movie and then dinner afterwards. Many churches have fun activities planned and you don’t have to be a member to attend. Activities might include caroling, cocktail parties, gift exchanges, packing toys for a toy drive or delivering food baskets to the less fortunate. This is a great way for you to make friends that have no connection to your ex.
- Accept Invites
Often times the newly single find it very strange to go out alone, as they are used to having that familiar arm around their shoulder. You might be rejecting all party invitations out of insecurity or the dread of what you will say if someone asks you where your spouse is. Your family and friends are inviting you because they love you and want you at their festivities. Choose to take a couple of deep breaths and step out of your comfort zone by attending these events. Allow yourself to have a good time. It’s also a good idea to have a pat answer for that dreaded question, such as, “Jim and I are no longer together.” There is no need to elaborate on all of the ugly details. If you are pressured, you can reply with, “Thanks for your concern. I am concentrating on having fun and enjoying my friends tonight.”
- Throw a Party or Two
Who says holiday parties have to be boring. You can throw a few parties throughout the holiday season. Your choices include an elaborate intimate sit down dinner for a few of your closest friends to a huge potluck where you invite all of your friends. For a twist have a potluck where the guests bring their favorite chocolate dessert. Another idea is to have an ornament party, where everyone brings an ornament (preferably handmade) and exchanges with other guests. It’s usually best to keep these type of parties to around 12 people, especially if you asking them to make ornaments. This is also a great way for you to get new holiday decorations that are not attached to your past and will provide fun happy memories for you.
The secret to creating new and wonderful holiday memories is to concentrate on what you do have, in addition to replicating what you enjoyed the most from your past. It’s about finding new ways to fill your heart with joy, such as by giving back. Choose to make it a magical time of year, by giving yourself permission to celebrate as you create traditions that you can enjoy for years to come. Keep your mind focused on the future and visualize a joyous and wondrous holiday season.