Holiday Stress Busters for Newly Divorced or Broken Up

How to have a Better Holiday Even if you are Newly Divorced or Brokenup

John H. Thurman Jr., M.Div., M.A., LPCC

“…and visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.” My question for you is: Have your sugarplums turned to prunes?

The holidays can be some of the toughest times for people who are newly divorced or in bad relationships. What does a man or woman do with this festive season when dealing with a broken relationship or a recent divorce.

You may be saying, “How can I celebrate anything?” How do I sing “Joy to the World,” when I feel lower than a pregnant ant.”

As tough as it is, one of the best things you can do is to celebrate the holidays. This time of year, and what it represents has stood the test of time. The Christmas season can be a reminder of hope, the ultimate gift of love, and a second chance, time for a fresh start.

Here are some tips that could help you avoid the pit of grief and sadness that could happen and move to a more celebratory time.

1. Make sure you have plans for yourself. No matter how down you might, feel, stay busy. Be around people. Invite yourself if you have to. Volunteer. Don’t sit around your place and feel sorry for yourself.

2. Try to focus on what you have currently rather than what you do not have. Example – You might have the kids on Christmas Eve but not Christmas day. Instead of getting bitter and sad, cherish the time you have with them. 

3. Some of the traditions you’ve had in the past will not be possible anymore. Start some new and creative rituals and make some fresh memories.

4. Prepare for the possibility of some strong emotions. Allow yourself a pre-designated time to grieve and feel sadness. It is normal to feel this way. Notice the feelings, honor them and then get moving.

5. Remember, no matter how tough a time you might be having at the moment, “This too shall pass.” Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Envision yourself feeling whole and open to new possibilities with the start of the New Year.

6. Go to church and hear the story of Christmas.

7. Give yourself permission to have an imperfect holiday. Remember, Jesus was born in a stall in a barn (cave). He came into this world in a place filled the odors of any farm.  He had no tree, no lights and no Christmas buffet. For those of you who grew up on a ranch, or have worked with livestock you know all to well what a barn smells like. If you have ever mucked out a stable you can get an idea of what the barn was like that night that baby Jesus came into the world.

Hoping your Advent Season is filled with hope and joy.Check the link to learn more about Advent.

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