The holidays can be stressful even in the best times. However, if you are also in the process of ending your marriage, the degree and level of stress will certainly increase significantly as you attempt to manage children events, holiday parties and other seasonal celebrations. Here are some tips for managing holiday stress during and after the ending if your marriage.
- When possible maintain traditions like watching holiday movies, reading holiday books or baking cookies. Holiday traditions build memories for your children that will last a lifetime.
- It is never too late to build new traditions. Replace activities that may no longer be possible with new and exciting ones.
- Schedule parenting times well in advance of the holidays and communicate the schedule to the children. It is usually best not to discuss the schedule with your spouse in front of the children.
- Avoid pretending that things will be the same despite the fact that your marriage is ending. This will likely confuse your children. Instead be open about the changes presented by the fact that the marriage is ending, and let the children know that even though life has changed, the holidays can continue to be a lot of fun.
- Be social during the holidays. Avoid the tendency to retreat from friends and family. During the holiday season it is more important than ever to be with friends, family and people that make you happy.
- Slow down and try to relax. Make time to feel the joy and meaning of the holidays.
- Be supportive of your spouse/soon to be ex-spouse, and encourage the children to spend time with both parents during the holidays. It is important that the children build memories with both parents.
- Express gratitude during the holidays and encourage your children to think about what they are thankful for.
- Try to be aware of your feelings related to the holidays and the ending of the marriage. Make sure you are not passing your sadness on to your children. They deserve a great holiday.
- Encourage your children to express their feelings, even sad ones. The holiday season may generate new emotions as the children begin to understand the changes that the end of the marriage will cause.
- Help others. This will allow both you and your children to forget about your own worries, and more importantly it will bring a new sense of joy and meaning to the holiday season.
Give these tips a try and make this the best holiday season ever for you and your children. Happy holidays!