If this is your first holiday season since your separation, then now is the time to start thinking about what the holidays are going to look like this year. One thing is for sure, they are going to look a lot different than all of the years past. Here’s a few tips to help everyone get through this stressful season that is compounded this year now that Mom & Dad live in two different places.
1) Plan Ahead and Plan Soon.
As I write this, Halloween is just around the corner. (4 days) I hope that you have already figured out who is going where and who is going with who if you have young kids. It’s probably best to stick with the parent who has the kids that night, but if there are going to be other wishes, make sure to communicate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse early about plans for the evening. Once you have Halloween figured out, it’s a good time to talk about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or whatever else your family celebrates. Remember this one thing: As upset as you are with your spouse, the holidays are about the children. DO NOT use this time to show the world what a terrible person they are, but instead remember that this season is about the kids.
2) Don’t Spend the Holidays alone.
If your kids happen to be with your spouse, make sure you plan something fun to do with friends. Now is the time to do all the things that you haven’t been able to do. Think of things that you have always wanted to do and do them. However, I wouldn’t do the same thing that you are used to doing with your spouse, just without them. That will bring up too many memories. It’s time to start making new memories.
Reach out to family that you haven’t seen in a while. Check in with your church friends that you’ve been neglecting. Plan a spa day with the girls or a sporting event with the guys. Take advantage of this time and don’t leave your mind idle.
3) Make This Time More About Others and Less About Yourself.
A great way to get into the giving spirit is to give to your community. Find a shelter that needs volunteers or a soup kitchen that needs help cooking. After all, this is the season for giving and nothing takes your mind off of your problems more than helping out those less fortunate. One thing I like to do is volunteer with “Meals on Wheels.” It’s an organization that delivers hot meals to those who might not otherwise eat. It’s easy because you simply pick up the meals and use your GPS to drive them around to mostly elderly folks on a fixed income. The smiles you get in return by delivering a hot meal to a hungry soul will make your problems melt away.
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