Six Tips to Save Your Sanity After Divorce: How to Survive the Holidays

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By JohnBarnes

Tips to survive the holidays post-divorce or during it

You can give yourself a gift by investing in yourself

Even though you might not receive gifts from your ex this holiday season, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat yourself to something special. You don’t need to spend a lot, but the thought of treating yourself to something unique will make you feel good.

“I had a custom-made stamped silver necklace made by someone. It had a charm that contained the birthstones of my children on it and three hanging tags with the words patience’, ‘faith’, and’strength. It was a necklace I wore almost every day. I would often find myself clutching the word that I needed that day. Friends would tell me I was going to rub the silver tags off the words! This necklace has so much meaning to me. It’s not something I wear as often as I used to, but it serves as a strong reminder of how I persevered through my divorce with strength, patience and faith. Monique Honaman is the author of High Road Less Traffic, and the new Bonus Dad! Bonus Mom!

Renew the traditions you have, but keep them intact

It was the first time I had experienced a divorce in the holiday season. My marriage was over and I was grieving. It was the first time I had ever been on my own for the holidays. I was able to accept the grief and to recognize that it was okay for me to be sad. However, I was not ready to let go some traditions that we had.

“My husband and me had a Christmas tradition that we went shopping at the mall together. We split up and spent 30 minutes hunting for gifts. Then, we exchanged gifts right then and there. I decided to go on my own and do that with a friend. It was a great way to remember my past and to create new memories. Eleora Han, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author of Grieving the Loss of a Love: How to Accept and Cope with Loss after Divorce, Breakup or Death.

Focus on what you are doing

Jenny Ford was married for 4 years before she separated from her husband in December 2016. She was unable to make it through the holidays, but she managed to find her way back. She booked herself a Washington DC staycation, lost 30 pounds, and wrote a book.

She knows that you can do it too.

“Don’t be afraid of going against the grain. There is only one life and no guidebook that will tell you how to live it. Book a vacation or staycation if you are uncomfortable with awkward looks or face questions.

It’s perfectly okay to not be ready for everything right away. Be better. Be the best version of yourself. Get back to school, find a job, or exercise. You’ll feel better inside and out if you do something that makes your self-esteem rise. You may find a different perspective on your life and feel better about yourself. Having more confidence will allow you to stop worrying about what other people think. You only get one chance to live your best life.

Help others

Patty’s marriage to David ended in an abrupt whirlwind, eight weeks before Christmas. This would be her 16th Christmas without seeing my family at the East Coast holiday gathering. They were his family. I was able to escape because of my survival instincts.

She decided to travel to Romania’s Transylvania Mountains to volunteer at an orphanage. She needed to be completely immersed in a foreign environment while also being helpful to others. She highly recommends it but you don’t necessarily have to move to another country.

Volunteering was the best thing that I did during my divorce. You must sign up for holidays volunteering in advance as it is a busy season. Volunteer abroad if you can’t find something local. There are many people in need of your help. There is an organization for you, whether you are looking to work with children, animals, or nature. Volunteering has given me great perspective and the feeling of being valued. “- Patty Blue Hayes, award-winning author of Wine, Sex and Suicide: My NearDeath Divorce and creator of You Can Heal Your Heartbreak, an audio program that is based on her book, MyHeart is Broken. Now what? She helps people to rediscover their lives after divorce. Connect with her at

You can change the holiday date

It may be necessary to quickly establish the “new normal”. Maybe you split the day before Thanksgiving. By Christmas, the children and you have moved to a new place.

We celebrate everything and anything, no matter what day it is or what the rest are doing. We’re celebrating Thanksgiving this year a week earlier than usual. I have blocked the day when everyone will be celebrating Thanksgiving (including my children with their stepmom, dad and extended family from several states away) to allow me to enjoy a day of personal retreat – a great novel and my journal, as well as coffee and wine in the morning and evening.

Self-care must be a priority for single parents. While we have so many responsibilities and strive to make our children happy, it can often come at a high price. We are the glue that holds our world together in so many ways. Self-care is our glue. Tonia Adleta is a speaker and mentor, entrepreneur, founder, and host of The Single Parent Summit.

Take some time to have fun and relax

“That first Thanksgiving/Christmas was the toughest one of all for me, ” recalls Susan McCord, host of the Dear Sybersue Lifestyle Talk Show.

You can remind yourself that the holidays will soon be over in a matter of days. McCord suggests that you keep yourself busy by spending time with friends and family, getting away, reading a book, snacking on junk food, and watching funny movies. “Humor is the cure to many of the sad times in our lives. While time can heal the heart, the holidays can help to remove the bandage and open up the old wounds. They don’t have to be yours. It gets better.

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