How to survive the holidays after divorce

For many of us who are going through or recovering from divorce, the holidays can feel dark, lonely and stressful. But moving on with our lives does not mean that we cannot enjoy the holidays. In fact, we can even make them better than ever before when we remember the following tips.

Your memory may play tricks on you, so be careful!
We’re all guilty of remembering our past "married" Christmases as perfect. It’s easy to fall into this trap when we are divorced. But what we forget are all the things that weren’t great during the holidays when we were married. When we shut those not-perfect memories of family holidays out, we are subconsciously setting ourselves up for failure. We are holding our current holiday mood up to an impossible ideal of selective memories that may not be correct. We do this when we are feeling down, trying to imagine a happier time.

This way of thinking does not serve you because you are holding yourself to an ideal that is impossible to attain. Making yourself feel guilty or resentful or longing for the past will not serve you this holiday season. The only way to start loving the holidays again is to reclaim for yourself… now.

Stay hopeful, but be realistic
For years, we have been inundated with other people, the media and the internet telling us how Christmas “should” be. These unrealistic expectations of perfect holidays and families getting along have conditioned us to feel as if we are not up to those standards. We feel that we are wrong, and that we’re not celebrating the holidays “the right way”.

You have worked too hard over the decades and deserve more than to get sucked into the idea that you’re doing Christmas wrong. This year, it is time to envision what the best holiday season means for you, regardless of where you are in your life.

A change in family circumstance does not mean you are sentenced to feel bad. It just means that you are now given an opportunity to decide how you want the holidays to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

How to love the holidays again
The first steps to learning to love the holidays again begin here. Celebrate you and your new life, by answering the following questions. Ask yourself:

  • What do you really want to do?
  • What will give you joy this holiday season?
  • What steps will you take to get there?

That is all you must ask yourself. These answers do not have to be complicated. You are not required to spend a lot of money on them.

Solo -travel -when -divorced -wyza
Travelling solo to places you've always wanted to go and trying out new experiences can be a fun way to spend your holidays

Reclaiming your holidays
Shaking off your loneliness and reclaiming the holidays for yourself as a divorced woman or man over 50 is all about taking care of yourself for a change. This is the year that you can say “no” to the things from holidays past that you have not enjoyed and that bring you stress, such as travelling, seeing toxic family members, spending too much money.

This is also the year where you can pick the traditions that you love and throw out the rest. This is the year that you can define what a joyous season means to you and choose to celebrate how you want to celebrate.

And learning to love Christmas again, even if you are divorced and over 50, starts with kicking those unrealistic expectations to the kerb and ignoring the selective memory that plays tricks on you.

These next few weeks can be the season that you finally recognise that you deserve holiday joy and happiness and you have the power to define that on your own terms. Will you accept that gift?

Is Christmas and New Year stressful for you? How do you survive? 

Read more: