Our clients have told us in the past that certain times are worse than others. For example, Sundays, birthdays, and Holidays seem to amplify the pain of separation and divorce. It is important to recognize that this could happen to you and accept it as normal, but also take some steps to prevent or lessen the pain. Here are some tips, with thanks to Parents/Kids Magazine, Dr. Walt Frazier, and Dr. Chris Lott.
Make a list of the persons that are supportive of you. Reach out to these persons during the Holidays. Keep your network of support close to you. Take time to write personal notes to these special people in your life.
Be sure to give yourself a gift. It should be a pampering type gift such as a day off, a massage or manicure, a weekend getaway, or a visit with an old friend by phone or in person.
Watch: It’s a Wonderful Life.
Keep things simple. Limit how much you ask of yourself in terms of planning parties. Eliminate some activity that you just don’t need to do.
Exercise. Exercise releases stress and produces chemical changes in our bodies which create a sense of well-being.
Eat well and refrain from overusing alcohol. Its okay to splurge a little at a holiday party, but keep your focus on daily nutrition. Remember to eat a healthy breakfast (yogurt, strawberries, wheat toast) and a healthy lunch (grilled Atlantic salmon and green vegetables). If you feel yourself suffering from headaches, lack of energy, digestive problems, heart burn, etc., eat something “living” like fruit or vegetables.
Remember this season is spiritual. Throw yourself into your worship center.
Serve others. Studies show that service and charity produce positive, healthy changes in our minds, bodies and spirits.
Don’t spend too much. Shopping and buying gifts produces a positive feeling, but the damage of spending too much will last much longer. The high of buying is similar to the high of sugar. It is a high, but it won’t last and it will lead to a let down, particularly when the credit card bills come in.
If you find yourself in the doldrums, take out a pencil and paper and make a list of positive things happening in your life. You will be amazed at how many great things are going on in your life, even though there are some painful things going on. This is absolutely guaranteed to lift your spirits.
When dealing with the other parent, think in terms of what the children would like. Try to think about this as though the marital trouble was not happening. My experience tells me that children just really love it when their parents put their animosities to the side for special occasions. A visit to Church on Christmas Eve with the whole family would probably be something they would cherish forever. If you have superior funds to the other spouse, offer to contribute some money for Christmas gifts. Yield some special time to the other parent when possible.
Don’t expect too much. We all expect that we are supposed to feel some kind of magical joy during a holiday. This creates negative pressure. Resolve to let the joy of the holiday come to you. It cannot be created and many positive memories of the past will always be that: memories to be cherished, but perhaps never to be re-lived. And, that is okay.