The first holiday season after divorce is tough - family and spending time with family are emphasized.

And this year, instead of being able to celebrate the season with a spouse and your kids, you’re stuck dreading the holidays because of divorce.

Despite how glum things seem, you can find some glimpses of genuine joy.

Three tips for making it through the holidays while you’re dealing with divorce

  1. Know it's OK for the holidays to be different. Different doesn't mean bad or wrong; your divorce hasn't destroyed the holidays for your kids for the rest of their lives. Different just means not the same – which means you can choose to make things even better than they were.
  2. Focus on what’s good…and ignore what your ex is doing for the holidays. I know it's tough not comparing how your ex is celebrating the holidays (especially if you have kids) to how you're celebrating them, but comparisons just bring misery. Yup, even if you believe your celebrations are superior. Focus instead on what's good about what you're doing - even if you have to dig deep to find the good.
  3. Don’t spend the holidays completely alone. I get it if you don't feel very festive this year as you’re in the midst of dealing with divorce, but that doesn't mean it's in your best interest to isolate yourself – everyone's mind wanders to the dark places when we ruminate about things. So, get out there, socialize, go to parties you never would have gone to before, connect with people who are important to you. You'll be amazed at how spending time with loved ones or people who are having fun helps make surviving the holidays just a bit easier.

The changes you've already made and survived this year as you're coming to grips with the end of your marriage are tremendous.

The holidays are just another one of the traditions you had as a family needing adjustment.

And as challenging as this change is, you can find survive the season! You are strong and resilient.

Will they work miracles and make this holiday season the best ever? I truly hope they do, but chances are that you’ll need to remind yourself of these tips repeatedly as you begin to create your new (or at least revised) holiday traditions.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care