When you are starting, in the middle of, or just ending the divorce or legal separation process, there are some new minefields in your life, and one of them is often the holiday season. The holidays can bring added stress and anxiety on their own, and the effect is magnified when you’ve had a major life change and now have to handle things differently than you did in the past. This is especially true if you have children who may not be with you on each major holiday.
Whatever the case, taking the right steps now can help you to head off the stress you may feel around the holidays and allow you to enjoy them along with everyone else.
Find Some Time for Yourself
Over the holidays, it is all too easy to get caught up in the cycle of gathering, planning, dinners, decorating and buying gifts and wrapping them. Take some time from whatever it is you are doing to focus on something that makes you feel relaxed and satisfied, something that is low-impact and away from other people. The simple act of being by yourself and relaxed can help recharge your batteries. It could be painting before bed, reading a book–whatever makes you relax when you’re on your own and content.
Set a Schedule
With all the events and tasks that surround a holiday, it can be tough to stick to a schedule. Going to bed at a decent time and waking up around the same time each day can ease stress and avoid that dreaded daytime drowsiness. Wrapping presents at midnight may seem like a good idea in theory, but when you short yourself on sleep, you’ll be less productive in everything else the entire next day.
Keep in mind that a sleep schedule is just one of many things you can control around this busy time. If you’ve started an exercise schedule, for example, you should keep up with it. Working out on a regular basis is a good way to reduce stress and boost your mood, and when you get into a routine, it’s easier to stick to it.
Talk to Somebody
The holidays are often filled with both bad and good memories for people, and this is very true post-divorce and after a separation. Speak with a counselor, therapist or a local support group if you feel you may struggle and need to express what you are experiencing emotionally and mentally.
It is okay to lean on trusted family and friends during this period as well, particularly anyone who has gone through a divorce or legal separation themselves. While these situations are unique, they may have struggled with similar things you are having a harder time dealing with during the holidays.
Eat as Well as You Can
The holidays are full of unhealthy, sugary foods. While it may be tempting to overindulge at this time of year, you still want to stay within reasonable limits and make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. When you are not eating a balanced diet with vegetables and fruits, it can really impact your energy and mood overall. A sugar rush is only good for a short-term burst of energy and will leave you feeling off for the rest of the day.
The holidays can be stressful on their own, and when a major life change like divorce is added to the mix, they can become a bit harder. Practice some self-care, set limits, get yourself on a schedule, and lean on a support network so you can enjoy the holidays instead of dreading them.