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Surviving the Holidays after Divorce: When You’re on Your Own

By Nottage and Ward on December 14, 2011

The winter holidays are a very difficult time for divorcees, especially if the divorce was very recent. With this in mind, the dedicated Illinois family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward would like to help divorcees stay positive and hopeful through the holidays with a three-part blog series that will provide holiday survival tips and ideas for new holiday traditions.

Whether a divorce was a blessing for a deeply troubled couple or not, being alone for the holidays is never easy. The holiday season is a reminder of happier times, even if they were dysfunctional, when you had someone to share those celebrations with. But this does not mean you cannot enjoy the holidays and it definitely does not mean you are not allowed to enjoy the holidays. Here are some holiday survival tips that may be able to help:

  • Make plans. It is important to plan ahead to do something relaxing and/or fun with friends and/or family that you care about. Have Christmas dinner with close friends or siblings; go to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party; see a feel-good holiday movie; or do that thing that you couldn’t do while you were married because your spouse didn’t want to.
  • Focus on others. Don’t think about what you’ve lost. Instead, focus on what you still have: family and friends that care about you. Throw yourself into buying/making meaningful gifts for the people you cherish in your life; make plans to be with those people.
  • Take care of yourself. Coping with divorce during the holidays is a lot harder if you don’t get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Having a healthy routine helps you feel better and keeps you busy.
  • Ask for help. Do not feel like you need to spend the holidays alone and depressed because you don’t want to bother family and friends or want them to believe everything is okay. The people who care about you and your happiness want you to feel loved during the holidays. They just sometimes need a “green light.”

Divorce does not destroy the holidays unless it is allowed to. Making plans with family, friends, and even yourself can make a significant difference in surviving and actually enjoying the holidays post-divorce. If you and your ex-spouse have children, it can become more complicated.

Check back in to our blog for our suggestions on how to get through the post-divorce holidays with the kids.

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