Surviving the Holidays – Six Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Blues

Holidays are typically both a festive and stressful time for everyone!  The traditions of the season bring joy, but also can add an extra burden to our already hectic lives. Obligations coupled with family drama can take a toll on anyone.  Holiday stress is heightened further when a divorce has recently occurred or is pending or imminent, resulting in holiday blues.

The following “Six Tips for Surviving Holiday Stress”

    Create new family traditions. Life is constantly changing and while change can be difficult, it may also be invigorating. Focus on all the possible new beginnings and positive changes in your family’s life and what is most important to you. Create new traditions that center around quality time with your children and loved ones. Focus on creating a new foundation for the holidays and find creative ways to enhance the true meaning of the season.

    Establish boundaries for yourself! During the holiday season, family and friends whom you do not see frequently may be anxious to ask you questions regarding the changes in your life.  Prior to these situations prepare your response. Remember, you have many options in how you handle the situation and the decision is yours.  It is acceptable to give a short response and leave anything longer or more detailed for another time, after the holidays.

    Don’t overdo it! Create a plan in your mind for how you want to celebrate the holidays and what get together you feel up to attending.   Reflect on how much you can handle.  If a family reunion seems like too much this year, it’s ok to skip it in favor of a smaller gathering.  Know your limits and the limits of your children when you make plans and commitments, and don’t commit to  events that you feel are too much to handle this year!

    Be respectful to your ex or soon to be ex-spouse. This is not always easy, but it is very important. The holiday season signifies a time of peace, and you will need to do your part to maintain that peace.  If children are involved, hopefully they have the opportunity to spend time with both parents and transitions can run smoothly without incidents occurring.

    Provide open and honest communication with your children. Children have no control over the decisions of the adults in their lives, especially divorce. During the holidays, allowing the children to have a voice in how they spend this time will hopefully give the kids a feeling of control and decrease the stress of having their family split during the holidays.  Having open communication about the children’s wishes will help everyone enjoy the season.

    Focus on the real meaning of the holidays, not the drama! Holidays are a time to focus on the joys of life and to spend time with loved ones.  With all the life changes due to the divorce, finances have probably changed.  This is a great opportunity to ensure the focus of the holidays is time together rather than simply gift giving. This can be part of the changing of traditions. It is okay to create a budget and live by it.

Overall, embrace the joys of the holiday season. Use it as a time of reflection and for creating a new beginning for yourself and your loved ones. Doing things differently does not mean that you are foregoing your family’s past traditions. Instead, see it as an opportunity to transform old traditions in new, positive, and fun ways. Focus on the possibilities for the future as you begin to move forward with your new life.  In the end, use that framework to plan the holidays as a stepping stone for the New Year.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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