How to Survive the Holidays Without Your Kids During a Divorce

Going through or living with divorce during the holidays can be extra heavy. The holidays during a separation puts you on an unfamiliar road that gets easily exacerbated if you happen to be away from your children. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus (is that even a real holiday?), and ringing in the New Year all hold a different weight when you’re going through a separation. Homes and halls that once rang lighter sounds this time of year now resonate with a different energy. The silence can be deafening.

Receiving Christmas cards in the mail. Seeing families in Christmas tree lots and putting up lights in the neighborhood hit differently. Scrolling through social media and seeing all the families pull together this time of year, can put a magnifying glass on the growing pains of having to piece your new life together bit by bit. Instead of staring at the walls and amplifying the volume on the stillness, here are some ways you can stay in the giving spirit and observe the love that still surrounds you even during what can seem like a lonely holiday time. How to Survive the Holidays Without Your Kids During a Divorce.

Explore Common Ground with Your Ex

Co-parenting is extremely difficult during the holidays, especially if splitting up shared custody spans over  Christmas and New Year’s break. Hopefully, there is a mutual understanding of the importance of quality time with both the mother and father during these times. If the communication lines are open, one can see if there can be some shared time. In some cases finding an amicable split of the holidays or even putting aside differences to come together under one roof may not be an option. But it is worth exploring if being together doesn’t create a toxic environment.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

The holidays allow us all to slow down our lives, if only for a moment. Spending time with people and having social interaction is important. We crave it as humans. Although tricky in the current lockdown life we live in, it is vital to find ways to connect with your family and friends at this time. If they have been in your social bubble you can meet in person or even spending time catching up digitally or at a distance is beneficial.  A zoom meeting, telephone call, or meeting up at a park or the beach will help you all feel connected. Your loved ones understand what you are going through and can be a great source of strength and support at this time. Lean on your people. They are always there for you.

Find the Spirit of Giving

If you find yourself sitting on love to give, but find yourself alone during the holidays, look into possibly volunteering your time. Helping those less fortunate takes the focus off of feeling sorry for yourself. Feeding the homeless, helping at your local place of worship, assisting at an animal shelter, pet fostering, or even helping friends you know who are juggling a lot during the holidays will keep you in the giving spirit. Observing and living acts of giving and gratitude can help heal moments that seem broken.

Healing, Self Love and Reflection

Taking time alone can be deafening, but it also is a necessary starting point for healing. A rediscovery of your true self and who you are going forward through and after this divorce. Focus on what you love doing. Explore your passions and artistic voice. Use this time to learn that instrument. Pick up a paintbrush. Start writing. Eat healthier. Learn to cook new dishes or perfect the ones you know. Commit to a healthy exercise regimen. Lift your head up and explore the world around you.

More Resources:

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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