The Internet is flooded with articles and suggestions for how to survive the holidays after a divorce. Most of them focus on how to help your children get through the holidays and adapt to two households instead of one. Very few address what the newly divorced individual feels. Adults experience sadness or even identity crises following divorce, especially around the holidays. So with Thanksgiving less than two days away, I offer my own tips for the newly minted single you.
1. Pretend you are 20 years old. Sleep in late, read that book you never have time to read, watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles or Home Alone. No one can get through those movies without laughing at least once.
2. Take someone up on their invitation. You have probably received at least one invitation to come for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah. Accept. The distractions of chatting with new people or enjoying the company of people you have no ties to might be an easy mental break.
3. Stay off the Internet. For one day. Resist the urge to check Facebook or email. It will likely be filled with everyone’s seemingly fun and happy pictures or greetings. But to someone going through their first holiday after a divorce, it can be depressing to think that the rest of the world is happy and fabulous — although in reality, its probably not true. Facebook is filled with the illusion of perfection and constant happiness. In the real world people are grumpy, tired and frustrated too. Just stay off the Internet for one day.
4. Indulge, but don’t overdo it. Have that piece of pumpkin pie or that second glass of wine. But keep your wits about you. Intoxication can lead to exaggerated emotions or impulsive and possibly dangerous behavior.
5. Go shopping. Even if you’re the type who believes the stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving, take advantage of the fact that you have no one to report to but yourself. No one will care if you skip the Turkey in favor of Target.
The above tips come from my years of experience in hearing my clients’ stories, plus a dash of my own personal touch. But I am not a psychologist or counselor. If you are seriously depressed, seek the help of a mental health professional.
As always, for more information or to schedule a consultation, call the office.
Keep smiling and Happy Holidays!