Rachel Menzoian, LPC
How Do I Survive My First Christmas After My Divorce?
The first Christmas following a separation or divorce will be a different experience. Here are a few suggestions on ways to navigate the holiday season.
Make time to grieve. Whether your divorce was something you chose or not, it represents the ending of a picture you held at one point of what a marriage could be. It’s wise to take the time to grieve that loss. Different people grieve in different ways. Don’t compare your grief to others you know. Also, resist the tendency to avoid grief by keeping your schedule full. Grief has a way of catching up with us one way or another so take the time to grieve well. Many people have found it helpful to meet with a professional counselor to guide them in the process.
Refuse to compare. It can be natural to compare this Christmas with your past Christmases. It can also be tempting to compare yourself to others around you who all seem happy and content. Refuse to compare where you are this year with your past or others’ present.
Take care of yourself The holidays are overwhelming for most people. Remember you are in a new season filled with changes. It is important to take care of you so you can take care of your children. Take time to do things that bring you joy and bring you energy. Make a list of what these things are and implement them in your daily and weekly schedule. Include REST on your list.
Practice Gratitude Notice the small things in your life that are going well. Write down 3 things each day that you are thankful for as you start your day. This is a great way to remember what good is in our life when everything seems hard.
Surround yourself with those who love you There are people in your life who love you and want to support you. Don’t isolate yourself. Take the initiative to plan time with friends and communicate what you need.
Do something for someone else It is super easy to get caught up in our own pain during this time. Take a moment to do something kind for someone else who is struggling. This can be a “thinking of you” text or dropping a meal for a friend. Be creative.
Experience God through this season. Scripture tells us that God is close to the brokenhearted. Time and time in the pages of the Bible, we see God draw near to those who are hurting. Share what you are feeling with God. He already knows it anyway. Be open to what he may want to show you. This could be a season where you experience God’s closeness in a way that you perhaps haven’t before.