Holiday events surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas are often extremely challenging for people who have been recently separated or divorced. Even though you may have some tough times this season, you can still not only survive but also enjoy the holidays.
The difficult emotions you experienced when you first separated or divorced can return full-force during the holiday season — the sights, sounds and smells of the season trigger unexpected emotions such as loneliness, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, bitterness, anger and depression. Preparing for these can help you move forward to find moments of joy during the heartache.
You need the support of family and friends this holiday season, but you will have to be wise in choosing which of those people are going to be supportive and will help you move through this season in a healthy manner.
“You want friends who are going to build you up, who are going to listen to you and nurture you and take you to places that are good, safe places. Protect yourself above all,” advised marriage and family counselor H. Norman Wright.
Recognize from the start that this Thanksgiving and Christmas will be different. You cannot recreate past years, and forcing things to be the same will only magnify the differences. It’s time to start creating a flexible, but thorough plan.
Start by creating a new, simplified list of things you’d like to do in preparation for the holidays that reflects your reduced energy level and perhaps your reduced finances.
Secondly, decide ahead of time which gatherings you will attend and which you’ll decline.
Make sure you are prepared for the times you will be without the kids.
Thirdly, though you will want to maintain some traditions, it’s also important to create new traditions. This can switch the focus from what you don’t have to what you do have.
DivorceCare Surviving the Holidays is a free two-hour event where you can learn practical, effective strategies to help you make it through the holidays.
Held Oct. 5 at Summerland Baptist Church from 5 to 7 p.m., this seminar begins with a video featuring interview clips from respected Christian counselors, psychologists and authors speaking on topics pertinent to people in separation or divorce.
The videos also include practical advice from people who’ve experienced a marital breakup and have faced at least one holiday season since then.
At Surviving the Holidays, you’ll receive a Holiday Survival Guide. You’ll also spend time with other people who have an idea of what you’re going through and who will accept you as you are without expectations or judgment.
This holiday season can be a time of personal growth and peace as you learn to discover joy amidst the heartache.
To register or find out more about DivorceCare Surviving the Holidays, call Eunice at 250-494-3313.