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Enduring the holidays after a divorce

This post is titled “enduring the holidays after a divorce” and not “enjoying the holidays after a divorce” because for many people, the first holiday season after ending a marriage is all about surviving.

The holidays are synonymous with tradition. After a divorce, your past holiday traditions are likely gone or much different that they were.

Maybe your family has spent every Thanksgiving at your in-laws house. After a divorce -- unless you are on really good terms with your ex -- you are probably looking for somewhere else to go.

Perhaps your family made a tradition of getting a Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. When this weekend comes around, picking out a Christmas tree may be the last thing you feel like doing.

But you certainly don’t have to let your “new life” completely crush your holiday spirit. Here are a few tips for not only surviving the holiday season post-divorce, but making the best out of it.

1. Keep yourself busy. This isn’t the time to hole-up and watch marathons of cheesy Hallmark movies. Even if you don’t feel entirely up to it, say yes when people invite you to holiday parties and events. Being around people you love almost always helps you feel better.

2. Don’t dwell on the past. It can be very easy to spend your first holiday season after a divorce longing for the past, especially when your children are with your ex. Instead of letting yourself get sucked into the black hole of self-pity and regret, focus on your future and all of the opportunities that lie ahead.

3. Reach out when you need to. The holidays can be a very busy time for just about everyone, so if you need a friend, don’t wait for him or her to reach out to you first. This also applies to seeking out counseling if the holiday season really gets you down.

4. Start new traditions. Try spending Thanksgiving at a restaurant this year, or buying the glamorous, white artificial Christmas tree you’ve always wanted. Now is the time to start traditions of your choice that you can truly enjoy.

Yes, your first holiday season after a divorce is going to be different. Yes, you might feel sad and miss the way things used to be at times. But you have the opportunity to make the best of it by following these steps and keeping your mind focused on the present.

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