Whether you like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. For many people, they may be experiencing loss during this holiday season whether it is the absence of a loved one or a breakup of a marriage or relationship. Holiday season can be even trickier in these life events when you have children. The following are my top ten tips for getting through that first holiday season post breakup.
- Make plans well in advance.
Make plans with friends, family, and children well in advance outside the normal holiday celebration times. Be excited about these plans and find new meeting spot to share with these special people.
- Acknowledge Children’s Feelings
Children may be small but can have large worries. Discussing with them ahead of time the schedule of events. This plan may include two Christmases.
If you have a Santa believer, work with your co-parent to have special Santa attention at both households. Be creative. That’s the thing about Santa…if you make a special request…I am sure he will work with you!
- Be patient
Traditions are special to everyone and changing them can be difficult emotionally and physically. It may not be possible to continue a long practice tradition during the holiday. Take a beat to feel sad for the change (that’s okay!) Then after you have hit “reset” think through how you can make a replacement event for this year.
- Be flexible
The best gift to yourself is the gift of emotional flexibility. Emotions and expectations are high during the holidays. Making space for these environmental factors and creatively finding alternatives will give you skills to thrive in the holiday hustle and bustle.
- Co-Parent as a team during the holidays
You may not be married/together this holiday season, but your co-parent and you share the treasure of amazing children who love both of you. I cannot think of a better expression of the holidays than putting aside disputes for the season.
- Use communication tools with Co-Parent to schedule events
Well in advance, use shared calendar, communication apps, text, or email to plan holiday schedule with your co-parent well in advance.
- It is not about the stuff!
Nix the guilt. Children do not need more toys, electronics, or the newest fashion. Finances will be tough after a divorce or breakup. Your children will thrive more seeing you heathy and happy during the holidays and after then having more stuff.
- Take care of yourself
Give yourself a gift. Treat yourself to a massage. Take a yoga class or walk through the park and experience the holiday lights. Money may be tight, but these extravagances or extra time spent on you is essential to get you through those first holiday transitions.
- Lean on your faith.
Faith is comforting as it can be an outlet for problems that appear to have no available solution. One can find peace that someone larger than you, your significant other, or this world is looking out for you.
- Don’t spend the holidays alone.
Alone time can be an amazing break from the holidays, but do not spend the entire holiday alone. If you do not have a special event with family, friends, or your children, spend the holiday with people. Whether it is going to a church service, Waffle House, or catching a few movies at the theater with a hundred of your new closest friends.
FINALLY, have a happy holiday season!