Dealing with divorce is extremely difficult. Experiencing divorce during the holidays can make the process even more painful. The manner in which holidays are experienced and celebrated changes. Having children can complicate the process even more. Not having one’s children during the holiday is a nightmare for a parent and can create greater loneliness and represent the loss of a family, tradition, etc. Dealing with loss is amplified as the holidays bring images of happy couples and families. No other time during the year are individuals bombarded with these archetypes.
In addition, going through divorce not only impacts the structure of a family and also finances. Families experiencing divorce have less money when they are going through the process of divorce. This is exacerbated during a holiday season when pressure and expectations to spend more money on gifts, dinners, decorations, etc exist. This can often create greater feelings of frustration, anxiety and emotional pain. Despite the challenges that divorce creates, it is possible to experience joy during this difficult transition.
A few tips will be offered to help individuals dealing with divorce experience a sense of joy that is inherent in the holidays (OM Times).
1. Breathe. Take deep breaths. This is a helpful technique to calm down, center and relax. Life can be overwhelming. When a person adds the holiday and a divorce into this complex mix, it can seem unbearable. Remaining as relaxed and grounded as one can helps to reduce stress, anxiety and other difficult emotions and to deal with challenging situations in the most healthy fashion.
2. Practice Gratitude. Take notice of the small joys during the holidays. Life is different after divorce. However, certain joys of the holidays remain. The beautiful lights, the smell of the Christmas tree, sitting in front of the fireplace and enjoying the warmth, experiencing the fresh, clean, purifying air of the winter. Remember the holidays remind us of being kind, compassionate, thoughtful, loving and thankful of the blessings we do have. Not taking important areas of our life for granted.
3. Create New Rituals. The holidays are a time of tradition and maintaining or creating new rituals to help create meaning in our lives. During divorce when traditions may be lost, new traditions can replace old ones. Be creative and find a healing way to celebrate the holidays that will be meaningful and create lasting memories.
4. Volunteer. It is easy to get stuck on areas of our life that may not be ideal or difficult. If that occurs, simply volunteer at a homeless shelter or at a hospital where you can give your precious time or service. Helping out another individual allows us to feel good about ourselves and to practice gratitude.
5. Take One Day at a Time. The manner to heal is to keep moving forward one day at a time and allow ourselves to learn from each experience to become a better version of ourselves.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.