Holidays are typically a time for joyful celebration with friends and family. While others are eagerly anticipating the holidays, married couples going through a divorce, newly separated or divorced couples often approach this time of year with panic, sadness, and dread.
With the holidays approaching, many people who are looking to get divorced have unrealistic expectations that if they can just get through the holidays, their marriage and family will be better off. This is why January is the busiest month for new divorces.
The reasons for divorce are endless, but the holiday season often brings matters to a head. Although there are no magical solutions to fix a broken marriage, there are things you can do to make the holidays more enjoyable, or at least bearable, during a rough time. Here are some tips:
- It is not all about the gifts. Gift giving is often the focus of the holiday season. However, with a separation and divorce, money can usually be very tight and the topic of dispute. Gifts don’t need to be expensive to be appreciated. Sometimes, the least expensive gifts are the ones that are most cherished. Your friends and family will understand that you may be short on cash and will understand.
- Reach out to supportive family and friends. It is important to rely on a healthy support system if you are feeling isolated, lonely, or depressed. Your family and friends, especially those whom you know will be supportive, can help you get your holidays more buoyant. Do not waste your time enduring any unpleasant and stressful situations with people who are no longer supportive or even nice to you. Instead, surround yourself with people who are understanding.
- Be realistic. “Picture perfect” holidays are usually just a misconception. For most people, getting divorced or filing for a legal separation brings additional responsibilities while financial capability and free time decreases. If you factor these facts into the holiday season, you will find it easier to be realistic with the expectations you have for yourself, your family, and the holidays.
- Act in the “best interests of the child.” Divorce is a difficult situation that can negatively affect your children. Your kids should be allowed to spend time with both parents and, importantly, to remain guilt-free about it. If you haven’t already done so, decide ahead of time how holidays will be divided. Children may be stressed out and sad too, so plan according to their ages and ability to adjust.
- Make new family traditions. While you may want to follow some of the old family traditions, it’s a good idea to start creating new traditions with family and friends. Children can assist in creating some of the new holiday rituals and traditions. Most children love the holidays, and a new tradition could include celebrating double the number of holidays. Spending time, not only with Mom or Dad, is something the children will enjoy.
- Keep busy or not. During the holidays, may find yourself with more free time for yourself or that you will be by yourself. Some people like to keep busy, and do so by volunteering or just engaging in hobbies and activities that they enjoy. Others will want to use this time for rest or relaxation. There is no “right or wrong,” you have to know what works best for you.
- Focus on celebrating one holiday at a time. The holiday season can easily be a blur of activities that pretty much start the day after Halloween is over. Prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed by focusing on just one holiday at a time.
- Take care of yourself. The holiday season also coincides with the cold and flu season. Get the proper amount of sleep and exercise and eat healthy to maximize your ability to cope. It’s easy to overeat or relieve stress in unhealthy ways, but in the long run, it creates more problems.
- Take a break from the divorce. In most divorces, not much is likely to get done during the holidays, so you might as well try to give yourself a break from the constant stress of it all. Put the notes and paperwork away, and simply focus on refreshing yourself. Enjoy the holidays with your friends and family, and revisit your divorce once the holidays have passed.
When you are getting divorced, be prepared. The Badanes Law Office has helped numerous clients with divorce, custody, order of protection and other issues associated with matrimonial and family law.
If you are thinking of getting divorced, and live in Suffolk County, Nassau County or New York City, call David Badanes, Esq. at 631-239-1702, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: ww.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.
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