Posts

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce



 

Negative emotions during divorce are harder to deal with because divorce is such a mystery to most of us. Most will enter the process once and once you’ve entered you don’t know what to expect. Since that is the case, divorce will cause us to second guess every move and decision we make.

When we find ourselves in a situation that is a mystery to us, we can get lost in magical thinking or conspiracy theories. For example, we question every move our soon-to-be-ex makes and assign meaning to their actions based on anxiety and fear instead of reality. Bottom line, the negative emotions we experience during the divorce process cause our minds to do the opposite of what’s in our best interest.

It’s imperative that you be able to protect yourself emotionally, protect your legal divorce rights and come out the other side of divorce with no regrets. Below I’m going to share a few tips for how to manage negative emotions so you can do just that.

5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce

Don’t react right away

If you have a decision to make pertaining to your divorce, step back and take time to settle yourself emotionally. Don’t agree to anything if you’ve not put thought into it.

If there is a conflict between you and your soon-to-be-ex, don’t engage until you’ve taken time to soothe yourself and know that the way you do engage won’t cause more conflict.

Get Rid of Negative Thought Patterns

I think it goes without saying that the more negative our thoughts about our situation, the more negative emotions we’re going to experience. Evict negative thinking from your head! Negative thinking during times of adversity makes adversity worse.

Become More Aware!

Learn everything you can about your state’s divorce laws and how those laws are handled in your jurisdiction. Go to family court and sit through a couple of divorce cases, read up on mediation in your state so you’ll know what to expect should you go that route. The more knowledgeable you are about how divorce is dealt with in your state the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more relaxed about the process you’ll be.

Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable

If you can be emotionally vulnerable and ask for help when needed, you won’t carry around anxiety or stress that needs to be relieved. Asking for help can be really scary and hard. Sometimes we worry it will make us look weak or incompetent. Other times we worry we will hear “no”. Other times, we worry people will say yes, but that we will feel like a burden and become ashamed or embarrassed. BUT the truth is most of the time people LOVE to help others and love to be asked for help.

So, don’t isolate yourself from those who would support you.

Find a Way to be Thankful for Your Situation

There is a silver lining in every situation. If you’re the one who wanted out of a bad marriage, your silver lining is freedom. Be thankful it’s close at hand.

If you didn’t want the divorce, if you’re in pain over the loss of your marriage, you’ll one day know that divorcing is better than living with someone who doesn’t love you or want to be with you. Be thankful that you’re being freed up to one day meet someone who can’t imagine life without you.

The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

5 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

The word “narcissist” gets a lot of use these days. It seems everyone with an irrational ex is divorced from a narcissist. That’s doubtful! So, why did I title this guide, “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist? Because, whether your ex is a narcissist or nothing more than a common, garden variety jerk if he is giving you a hard time co-parenting and causing your children emotional harm, this video is for you.

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist Tips:

1. Don’t Allow Him to push your buttons

That is his number one goal! Don’t allow him to succeed. He wants to cause you to respond to him with anger. He wants you to appear as angry and irrational as he is. If you do, you give him ammunition to use against you in court, with his family and his friends.

He was married to you long enough to know your vulnerabilities and which buttons to push. He is adept at getting you worked up and he knows it. If you allow yourself to overreact to his nonsense you’re giving him exactly what he wants and the last thing you want is to give him any satisfaction. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to cool yourself down and ignore him.

2. Use Reverse Pronouns

Narcissists project, nearly every statement they make is a projection of something they fear. Example: If he says, “You’re a terrible mother who is going to ruin her children’s lives.” What he really means is, “I’m a terrible parent who is going to ruin his children’s lives. If you reverse those pronouns and understand the degree of his projection it will free you up from feeling like you need to defend yourself or concern yourself with what he thinks.

3. Lower your Expectations of Him

He is never going to be a good co-parent, stop hoping he will. What you have now, is what you’re stuck with. There is nothing you can do that will cause him to magically one day become the perfect co-parent so don’t waste your time and energy on hoping he will change.

4. Set Communication Boundaries

Communicate via email only. If you’re able to use a communication software like Our Family Wizard to keep track of and document all email communications with him.

No texting, phone calls or in-person communication about child-related issues. If all child-related issues are discussed via email and a legal issue comes up, you have documented proof to use in court.

5. Grey Rock Him 

What does this mean? NO personal interaction, NONE. If you’re around him, do not acknowledge him. Do not attend school functions together. If you both happen to be in the same place at the same time, ignore him.

Have minimal communication and only via email. Respond to his emails with 2 or 3 words. If he emails and says, “I’m sick and can’t take the children this weekend.” Respond back and simply say, “Understand.”

He no longer exists to you other than some being in the clouds that you converse with as little as possible.

Last but Not Least

Be a good Mom to both your children and him! He is, after all, nothing more than an emotionally stunted child.

The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020

A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020

Here are five ideas to keep you sane in the new year while you deal with your recent divorce.

The post A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex 1

 

Kimberly had a difficult divorce. She split from her husband after finding out he had an emotional affair with a co-worker. It had been a long two years. Their three children had difficulty adjusting to their new home and a new school. But her kids had moved forward and Kimberly felt that the worst was behind her.

She had worked with a divorce coach to help her set career goals and help her achieve clarity on the next chapter of her life as a single mom. She had set some goals for herself and accomplished one of her lifetime goals, completing a triathlon. It was during this training that she met an older, handsome, athletic man named Charles. He too was divorced and had experienced betrayal. They fell in love and planned to marry the following year.

However, she was questioning the relationship because his ex was making their life hell. Charles’ ex-wife was intrusive and manipulative. She tried repeatedly to splinter the relationship between Charles and his son by saying hurtful things about him in front of their son or making snide comments about his parenting.

She sent texts that were nasty when she did communicate. Drop-offs and pickups were becoming more and more dreaded because Charles’ ex-wife always wanted to confront them in front of his son about the parenting agreement, her alimony, or whatever she was upset about that day. Charles’ ex-wife seemed to hold resentment about the fact that there was to be a new mother figure in her son’s life.

Charles’ son had told Kimberly several comments that his mom had made about her. She was surprised that she was hurt by these remarks. She had only met this woman twice and yet she seemed to hate her! In addition, the children all sensed the animosity, and the tension in the house was growing among everyone.

How could she and Charles build a future together when his ex was hellbent on destroying their family?

When it comes to families blending together, there are many issues to deal with. When you are the new woman and you enter a family that has split, it’s important to set up boundaries.

Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

1. Understand your own triggers.

When you find that she is really pushing your buttons- ask yourself why. What is it that is bothering you about what she says? You can work with a divorce coach or therapist to get to the underlying root of your feelings so you can move forward. When you understand what is behind your emotions, you can start to control them.

2. Develop strategies to stay in control of your emotions.

When you’ve identified your triggers, you can identify ways to handle your emotions. Meditation, exercise, and keeping a wholesome lifestyle will help you handle the stress that accompanies dealing with high-conflict people. Find healthy outlets, such as supportive friends or join a support group for families of divorce or stepmoms.

3. Communicate positively with (and around) your children.

Never badmouth your spouse’s ex near or around the children-even if you feel you might be justified. These are people that your children love. They will internalize any negative comments. Foster lots of open communication so that they will come to you to openly discuss their feelings. Ignore those comments that are harmful. Focus on the children and their well-being.

4. Technology is your friend.

If communication is difficult, there are many devices and apps that make it easy to keep the communication respectful. Family Wall is an app that allows you to post dates, reminders, schedules, and even pictures that relate to the children. It allows you to share information in a confidential platform. If you can’t physically be around his ex without it becoming confrontational, communicate only through texts, emails, or apps. Plus, you’ll have a record of the conversations.

5. Keep all communication concise and objective.

When communicating with a difficult ex-spouse, here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain respectful interactions. First, keep it short. Leave out unnecessary information. Stick to the facts and keep the tone cordial. Keep your opinions and emotions out of all interactions.

Use texts and emails whenever possible so that there is a written record of what was said and agreed upon. When you have to deal with a challenging person face-to-face, it may be a good idea to have a “script” in your head prepared ahead of time. If the other person tries to engage in a disrespectful manner, simply restate your scripted message in a calm tone and walk away.

6. Attend family therapy or counseling.

As you’re setting up a new family structure, consider setting up family counseling sessions. It’s important to have a neutral party that will help you discuss intense feelings and issues in a constructive way.  It’s important to include the children in the process so that they feel they have a voice through this.

So much is out of their control and they may feel overwhelmed if there are hostilities between the adults that they love. Choose a counselor that has a background working with blended families. One piece of advice that I give to my clients as they begin their journey together is to write out a mission statement together that will keep the family working towards the same goal.

After six months of family counseling, the tension had lessened and there was more laughter around the house. The children were getting along better. Kim continued working with her life coach to help her as she adjusted to her new role as a stepmom. She and Charles began discussing the plans for their wedding and were feeling secure in their commitment to each other.

The post 6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

tips to get you through new year

5 Tips To Get You Through New Year’s Eve After a Stressful Holiday Season

tips to get you through new year's eve

 

Whether you’re separated, currently going through a divorce or the ink on your divorce agreement has been dry for a while… the time between Christmas/Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve can be an extremely difficult time of the year!!

The holidays are physically and emotionally draining. We face so many stressful obligations…all masked by the magical sparkle of Joyful Celebration!

Celebrations where we most likely ate and drank too much and ended up getting very little rest!!

This all takes a tremendous toll on us.

Chances are we also got caught up in the whirlwind of shopping for special gifts, wrapping, cooking, baking, decorating, entertaining and even traveling… which inevitably resulted in our wallets being as depleted as our energy levels. And, the numbers on the bathroom scale rising right along with our stress levels.

Let’s face it, separation and divorce (all on their own) can have the very same unpleasant results like those mentioned above. Therefore, this time of the year can quickly become anything but Wonderful!!

So, unless you’re a fan of self-torture, now is the time to be extra kind to yourself. And turning to more alcohol or more food for comfort and joy will only make you feel worse in the long run.

Remember, it is most important to choose your methods of Post-Holiday-Self-Care WITH Care.

5 Tips To Get You Through New Year’s Eve

1. Take time for yourself.

After all the celebratory chaos, it’s time to slow everything down. Go for a walk in nature and turn your face up to the sun. Breathe deeply. Soak in a hot Epsom salt bath with some essential oils.

Sit quietly and just breathe.

TRY NOT TO “DO” – “WATCH” – “READ” or “LISTEN TO” – ANYTHING!

Create an environment free from noise or other distractions (even people). Just for a little while each day. Detox. This may sound silly, but if you can take some alone time to refresh and replenish for a short time each day, you will be amazed by the many benefits you’ll begin to notice.

It’s so important to regain our balance after being so depleted. When we’re fragile, negativity can take hold– But, once we strengthen our inner fortitude, we regain our resilience. Remember to continue taking some alone time each day in the new year!

2. If you’re sad cry if you’re angry punch a pillow.

Everybody seems to be a bit more emotional at this time of the year. And you have more than enough reasons to be feeling some pretty intense ups and downs. So, give yourself permission to feel your feelings. But also be smart!

Now that we realize we may be feeling extra sensitive during this time, try to do what makes you happy and avoid what makes you sad.

If watching those sappy Hallmark love stories makes you melancholy… don’t watch them.

If scrolling through Facebook and seeing everyone’s seemingly picture perfect life depresses you… take a break from FB. If it makes you happy to help others in need… take this time to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

3. Have a plan.

New Year’s Eve is a difficult night for many people. Even people in happy marriages and good relationships. So, take the time to think about creative ways you can “celebrate” NYE in the most pleasant way possible. Whether you’ll be celebrating with your kids or they’ll be with their other parent, you have options.

Think outside the box!!

And remember there will always be another NYE next year. I’ve had my share of horrible NYEs and wonderful NYEs. So, if the best option you can come up with is going to bed early and sleeping through the ball drop… so be it. There’s always next year.

4. This too shall pass.

Even though separation and divorce suck, things will get better. I promise. February will follow January and winter will turn into spring. To everything, there is a season.

Life is full of challenges and victories. It is a circle of darkness into light. So, even though these may be particularly dark and difficult times, hang in there… because the sun will surely shine again, maybe more brightly than ever before.

5. You’re not alone.

Hopefully, it brings you a bit of comfort during these difficult times to know there are many of us who are here for you. Some of us are right alongside you in the deep, dark trenches of separation and divorce and some have finally crawled our way out. And we’ll reach out our hand to help pull you up and out as well.

Yes, the time between Christmas/Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve can be an extremely difficult time of the year… but it can also be a time for us to cultivate our inner strength, to grow and develop some positive coping skills. It also gives us the opportunity to focus on all the promising possibilities ahead in the new year.

Happy 2020!!

The post 5 Tips To Get You Through New Year’s Eve After a Stressful Holiday Season appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

4 Tips for Stepfamily Holiday Success

4 Tips for Stepfamily Holiday Success

As parents, whether, biological, step, foster or blended, we have a responsibility to ensure that the holidays, either faith-based or secular, are an uncomplicated and enjoyable experience for those children in our care.

The post 4 Tips for Stepfamily Holiday Success appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

adult children of divorce

Holiday Tips For Adult Children Of Divorce

adult children of divorce

 

Every year many adult children of divorce have to make a decision: Should they spend Christmas morning at Dad’s and Christmas afternoon at Moms? Should they spend Thanksgiving Day at both homes so as not to offend either parent? For some, it comes down to avoiding the holidays altogether. It may make more sense for them to plan a trip to a far-off location or to visit a friend’s home.

Most of the adult children of divorce that I know feel that the holidays trigger negative childhood memories, or they may feel stuck in the middle between their parents’ contrasting worlds.

Kendra, a 20-something child of divorce put it like this: “If I’m honest with myself, at the end of each holiday I feel much like I did when I was a kid, split between two houses and trying to make both sides of my family happy.”

For adults who grew up in high-conflict divorced families, the holidays can be an especially challenging time. It can make adults feel like children again, torn between two parents, not wanting to disappoint or hurt either one’s feelings.

Although adults who grew up in divorced homes know they are allowed to choose how they spend their time, they may feel a sense of obligation to spend adequate time with all members of their families, which in many cases is impractical or impossible. In the end, if members of a divorced family feel anxious, let down, or upset about how they spend their holidays, nobody wins.

Holiday Tips for Adult Children of Divorce

1. Change Your Perspective

Even though your parents divorced years ago, the holidays may be a reminder that your family is not the way you would have wanted or imagined it to be. As an adult, it’s important to remember that you can control your thoughts and actions, and you are not the same person as when your parents first split up. Thankfully, neither are they.

When you start feeling anxious about Thanksgiving and Christmas rolling around, it may be comforting to realize that your divorced family hasn’t cornered the market on dysfunction. There are plenty of people who haven’t been touched by divorce but are dealing with equal, if not harder, realities.

Families can be affected by death, disease, addiction, poverty, and a number of other problems. Remembering that you are not alone and that others face challenges far worse than you, can help change your perspective.

2. Learn to Forgive

It’s amazing how even when a divorce is many years behind you, it is an event that can cast a dark shadow if you allow it to do so. Dealing with divorced parents and stepparents as an adult never really becomes “easy.” After a while, it just feels like the new normal.

However, when you make a decision to let go of past hurt and resentment, and when you realize your parents should not be in debt to you for any decisions they may have made, it can be incredibly freeing. The holidays provide an opportunity to put this mindset into practice and to move toward forgiving your parents.

Forgiveness is not about condoning or accepting your parents’ actions, but it can give them less power over you. It can help you accept small and large transgressions and to take them less personally.

Often people equate forgiveness with weakness. But forgiveness can also be seen as a strength because it means you are able to express goodwill toward your parents and others. Studies show that forgiving someone is a way of letting go of your baggage so that you can heal and move on with your life.

3. Create New Traditions This Holiday Season

In learning to handle the holidays, one of the most helpful approaches is to develop your own traditions. For instance, hosting a meal at your home or going to a relative’s or friend’s home is a good alternative. Invite family members to join in and let them know that you are trying out new traditions – they might be delighted to join you.

Although your family is no longer intact, you have a family in a different form. Accept the limitations of your divorced family, and accept that you cannot ask them to be something they are not. Having realistic expectations of the holiday season can help you cope with any disappointments or negative memories from the past.

Most of all, maintain hope in your own life and know that your parents’ choices do not need to be your choices – you can create a new story for your life. Creating new holiday traditions that work for you can help you move on with your life.

This article first appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post Holiday Tips For Adult Children Of Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

surviving your kids christmas break

6 Tips For Surviving Your Kid’s Christmas Break

surviving your kids christmas break

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…except your kids are sprinting through the house, screaming like banshees and swinging from your newly-dusted chandelier. It’s enough to make you want to yell, “Bah humbug!” and head straight for the spiked eggnog.

But before you turn into a (slightly tipsy) Scrooge, try these 6 tips to stay blissful when the anarchy threatens to take over the house.

Tips For Surviving Your Kid’s Christmas Break

Break up that long school break.

Unplanned, unstructured days at home with your kids are necessary and wonderful… but an entire week of them will seriously test your sanity. Long school breaks need some balance and a plan. Alternate relaxing days at home with play dates, visits to the museum, and outdoorsy field trips. And extra time with their Dad!

Put your kids to work on Christmas morning.

Once the initial excitement over new toys wears off, sibling fights and cries of boredom tend to start. Redirect their energy by having them make mini smartphone videos, showing off their cool new loot, for family members who don’t live nearby. This task will keep your kids occupied, make the video recipients smile and buy you a little extra peace and quiet.

Say no—and mean it.

Turning down invitations and putting the kibosh on unrealistic plans doesn’t mean that you’re ruining the holidays (no matter what your kids say). It means that you’re being realistic about your limits.

Say it nicely but firmly, and you won’t be as likely to overextend yourself or argue with your kids. Here are three sentences to practice with: “No, we can’t go to another party tonight since we’re already committed to two this weekend.” “No, 7-year-olds can’t have their own smartphones, but maybe in another few years.” “No, you cannot have candy canes for breakfast.”

Take a deep breath before reacting.

A deep, belly-filing breath has the power to calm your body and your brain. Do this as soon as you feel general holiday anxiety starts to creep in… and when your kids push your buttons. It’s amazing how many conflicts can be avoided—or at least not escalated—when you wait a few seconds to respond.

Escape the room.

You may not think you have a spare second to spend on your own, but believe it or not, the world will keep spinning if you take an hour to get a massage, watch Stranger Things or indulge in a much-needed nap. Find the time by asking your babysitter to stay an extra hour, doing a kid swap with a mom friend, or giving your ex the gift of extra time with the children during the holidays.

Keep it all in perspective.

You won’t emotionally scar your kids if you don’t make the cookies from scratch or buy them matching reindeer pajamas. All this holiday madness is supposed to be fun, and if it’s not, take a step back, reevaluate and make a change. Your kids will be happy if you’re happy and if you’re truly present with them. That’s when the magic happens, and that’s what they’ll remember.

The post 6 Tips For Surviving Your Kid’s Christmas Break appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

5 Travel Tips for Blended Families

5 Travel Tips for Blended Families

Traveling with a blended family can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are 5 tips to help relieve the stress of blended family travel.

The post 5 Travel Tips for Blended Families appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

avoiding the holidays post-divorce

7 Tips For Enjoying Instead Of Avoiding The Holidays Post-Divorce

avoiding the holidays post-divorce

 

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, you probably haven’t even thought about the holidays. But experts stress that it’s important for people who are in transition to develop coping strategies well in advance of the major calendar events.

Holidays like Thanksgiving, Passover, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can intensify feelings of sadness, loss, and failure. For newly separated and divorced people, the holidays can really emphasize how much their lives have changed.

If you’ve spent every significant holiday with your children, being apart from them for the first time can be devastating. Ted, a Chicago-based architect, remembers his first Thanksgiving away from the kids. “I went to see a movie alone and all I could think of was my kids around the table without me,” he says. “It was pretty well the lowest point in my life.”

Adjusting to the holidays as a single person without children can be just as stressful. After her divorce, Anne spent the first few Thanksgivings and Christmas holidays with her parents at their home in upstate New York. The 37-year-old legal secretary felt like she had regressed into a second childhood.

“I love my parents,” says Anne, “but the whole me, Mom, and Dad thing was just too much.”

Roberta, a separated PR consultant from San Diego, tried to escape her loneliness and depression with shopping trips to local department stores. “I couldn’t believe my credit card bill in January,” she says. “But the worst part was that I kept seeing happy families everywhere. I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘why can’t that be me?’”

Even if your life isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be right now, the good news is that we all have choices about how and where we spend our holidays. Look at it as an opportunity: by being proactive and exercising these choices, you can create new and meaningful traditions for you and your family. Here are seven strategies and tips for enjoying – rather than avoiding – the upcoming holiday season.

7 Tips For Enjoying Instead Of Avoiding The Holidays Post-Divorce

1. Take a Positive Approach

No More Holiday Blues by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer is an inspirational little book that offers positive suggestions in a quick-read format. He maintains that as adults, “we’ve come to believe that the holiday season is really only for children… thus only children can enjoy the holidays; adults must suffer through them.” To illustrate his point, Dyer has included a chart that compares childlike attitudes (“I can’t believe it’s over already, it seems like it just started”) to “neurotic” adult attitudes (“Thank God it’s over. If it lasted one more day I’d have a nervous breakdown”). Sound familiar? This year, try to recapture some of the joy you experienced as a child during the holidays.

2. Start Planning Now

Don’t wait until the week before the holiday to decide who gets the kids for the holidays or to blow the dust off your address book. If you have children, it’s important to get some sort of communication happening with your former spouse well in advance; if they’re old enough, get the kids involved in the decision-making process as well. Be fair in deciding where the children will spend their time, and remember that generosity breeds generosity.

There are many non-confrontational strategies you can use to navigate scheduling issues for the holidays. You can avoid stress by planning well in advance and being flexible: you can plan a fun Christmas celebration with your kids a day before or after December 25 if they’ll be with your ex on the actual day.

It will be very difficult at first not to have your children on a particular day, so you should plan ways to avoid falling into a blue funk. If your ex has the kids on a particular day, you can feel lonely or seize the opportunity to have lunch with an old friend, book a day at the spa, or lounge in a bubble bath with a glass of wine – whatever makes you feel happy.

If you don’t have children, or if your ex has them for this holiday, gather up your courage and reach out to your friends and family. Let them know that you’re going to be on your own. You can’t always count on them to approach you first. People can be intimidated by divorce. They may not know how to deal with your situation, or they may be afraid to take sides. You’ll be surprised how receptive they’ll be once you break the ice.

Even though you may be apart, there are so many ways to communicate with your children and other loved ones over the holidays. Get technology on your side: send a warm text or email, call, or arrange to Skype with them. Be mindful of not infringing too much on their other parent’s holiday time with the kids – especially if you’ll be seeing them soon.

Also, make sure your text message, emails, tweets, videos, Facebook posts, etc. reinforce your reputation as a great co-parent. This means no criticizing the other parent, and no pictures of you doing tequila shots at a swim-up bar! (For more information about this, read “Managing your Reputation during Divorce”)

3. Change your Expectations

Give yourself permission to enjoy this holiday any way that you choose. You don’t have to be lonely, even if you happen to be alone. “Loneliness is an attitude that can be changed, and aloneness is nothing more than a temporary absence of other people,” says Dr. Dyer. “If you allow yourself to indulge in self-pity or fantasies of how your holidays ought to (or used to) be and then permit yourself to become depressed, you’ll be defeating yourself and bringing on the holiday letdown.” If you think you’re going to be alone over the holidays, seize the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

4. Create New Traditions

The holiday season is steeped in sentiment and tradition, which is why people who are in transition sometimes choose to ignore the holidays altogether. “I just couldn’t face unpacking the ornaments from our first Christmas together, from our fifth anniversary, or from our trip to Germany,” says Roberta. “I may never be able to bring them out again.” Fortunately, there’s no rule that says you have to keep any of the trappings or traditions from the past. Decide what works for you and what doesn’t – and edit accordingly.

Jamie, a divorced mother of two from Toronto, suggests that families of divorce be adventurous and design new rituals and traditions for their families. She turned to her Celtic heritage and developed an elaborate holiday ritual centered around the “cloutie dumpling,” a traditional Scottish cake that she used to make with her ex-husband’s great-grandmother.

“Jean and I used to get together and make this dumpling in November,” remembers Jamie. “We’d sit up until two in the morning and she’d tell me stories of Scotland.” Your cultural background is a good place to start when creating new traditions. “Nothing fascinates kids more than stories of your background,” says Jamie. “Through your heritage, children experience a sense of continuity, a sense of who they are as human beings.”

There are many opportunities for newly-single people without children, or parents without custodial access, to create their own traditions. Just remember that it’s important to know your limits. If you can’t bring yourself to join a dinner party where you know the other guests will be couples, invite your friends and family to celebrate with you at your home. You can also create a new “constellation” of family or friends for the holidays. Judy, a mother of three from Chicago, created a “friend family” by making Christmas dinner at her house for five of her closest friends.

If you belong to a support group, get to know one another socially. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to be alone over the holidays, you can get together with people who understand what you’re going through, even if it’s just for a walk or a cup of coffee.

5. Make Gift-Giving More Pleasurable

Gifts are an integral part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the gift-giving experience is too often accompanied by high prices, commercialism, and heavy crowds – factors that can cause great stress for separated or divorced people.

Try giving gifts from the heart rather than the mall: for instance, consider giving a family heirloom to your child as a gift this year. Write a card or note about the heirloom, explaining that it has been in the family for several generations, and what it means to you. A gift of a personal belonging can have great significance, too. Bob, an artist who lives in New York City, gave his daughter his leather backpack, a worn and cherished possession that she had admired for many years; she was thrilled with the gift.

You might also consider supporting your favorite charities and arts organizations or ordering gifts from mail-order or museum catalogs. Visit local merchants, buy gift certificates from a favorite restaurant or from a greenhouse, rent an indoor skating rink for an afternoon, give concert or theater tickets – the options are limitless, so just use your imagination!

One of the best non-monetary gifts you can give your children is the gift of goodwill towards your former spouse. Agree to a ceasefire, at least during the holidays.

If you must venture into the shopping mall this holiday season, try to enjoy the experience of being out in the world – the decorations, the lights, the music.

6. Relieve Stress with Diet and Exercise

In her book Anxiety and Stress, Dr. Susan Clark suggests that individuals who are under major life stress gradually eliminate (or at least limit) foods that intensify anxiety symptoms. These foods include caffeine, sugar, alcohol, food additives, dairy products, red meat and poultry, and wheat and gluten-containing grains. Foods that are believed to have a calming effect include vegetables, fruits, starches, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and fish. (For more about nutrition to help you think more clearly and be calmer during divorce, see “Nourishing your Stressed-Out Brain”.) Be realistic about your diet during the holiday season. Face the fact that you’re going to have that eggnog, but try to exercise regularly; it really helps with your emotional state.

7. Be Proactive

If your family or friends are not around this holiday season, you might want to consider helping out with the festivities at your church, synagogue, or community organization. Reaching out to a neighbor, a shut-in, or someone less fortunate than yourself this holiday season will take courage, but it can give you back your sense of place in the world.

Remember that there is nothing inherently depressing about the holidays. “If you anticipate that things will be depressing, you will rarely disappoint yourself,” says Dr. Dyer. “You must look within yourself and resolve to have a positive attitude, regardless of the tasks that lie ahead of you, or the fullness of your holiday schedule.” This year, look beyond the ghost of Christmas Past. Live in the present and plan for the future, and you’re sure to discover the true meaning of the holiday season.

This article first appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post 7 Tips For Enjoying Instead Of Avoiding The Holidays Post-Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>