Rachel S. Ruby, author of Divorce To Bliss

Divorce is never easy, and the first holiday experience post-divorce can be challenging for anyone. There are a lot of fears surrounding divorce but one of the most common is the idea of being alone upon leaving a marriage. The holidays create the perfect scenario for this fear to bubble up, even where one is doing deep personal healing work, and especially on the first holiday season post-divorce (which is often the hardest one). In order to protect yourself from negative emotions coming to the surface it is important to make plans. Here are some suggestions to keep yourself busy during the holidays:

  1. 1.Spend time with family, friends or loved ones. If this is not possible on the actual day of a holiday you can always spend time in nature and then go to a movie (or see a few)! In this case I advise you to find another day around that time where you can be with friends or family – you can meet at a restaurant or invite them to your house for a meal. If you do not cook or cannot do so, make it a potluck and do a gift exchange – it will be fun for everyone and you will feel good.
  2. You can also plan a getaway for yourself if being with others is not possible, even if to a close destination or a friend’s house – just make sure you book/plan things while you are away (like spa treatments, hikes/walks, etc.). Do not forget to plan days around the holidays where you can see people, like mentioned above in number 1, so that loneliness does not lead you down a path into a victim mindset.
  3. Volunteer to help feed those less fortunate during the holidays – this will obviously be so appreciated, and you will feel great knowing that you made a difference in the lives of others (it will make a difference in your life too).
  4. If you have younger children who will be with you during the holidays you can invite other children over with parents and have them each bring a secret Santa gift. Then kids can draw names and give the gift to the other child. You can also host a holiday cookie baking party for other kids – this does not cost much and you can ask each child to bring a decorative topping, like sprinkles or frosting. All you have to do is provide the dough (you can purchase pre-bought dough), have some drinks and healthy snacks on hand, and let the kids have fun. 
  5. For older kids and teens you can host a Christmas movie sleepover, potluck, and/or gift exchange. Your children can help you come up with great ideas. If you invite a few parents you can enjoy wine (have each bring a bottle) and appetizers or a casual dinner in the kitchen or dining room while the older kids have their celebration in a different room.

Above all, do not sit around at home on the holidays thinking about others spending time together, as this could drum up sad feelings and possibly set you back in your healing journey.

My first holiday period after my divorce was not traumatic. On Thanksgiving I spent time cooking with my son for the two of us, and during the December holidays I relished personal time for myself – hiking, being in nature, writing, reading and watching movies. I was at the end of my big personal journey out of divorce (keeping in mind that the journey never really ends, but instead pivots as we go through experiences and life in general). Still it was a little too quiet at times since everything was closed, but I made sure to keep busy and not be bored. Keeping active and making plans is the key to getting through the holidays post-divorce, so remember to schedule events and keep busy.

Rachel S. Ruby is an attorney, former certified divorce mediator, entrepreneur and author. Divorce to Bliss is her most heartfelt book to date. It is her passion and her mission to share this pathway to happiness after divorce, so that others can live their truth and find ultimate

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