By Laura Lifshitz
If you’re about to face a quiet house this holiday because the kids will be with your ex, join the club. There are many of us who have to share holidays with our exes…even if they don’t see the kids that much. Honestly, it’s a special kind of hell that not many people can understand or would volunteer for, but you can make it through and find comfort during the holidays. It takes perspective, support and patience with yourself to truly embrace the holiday time without your children. Here are a few things that I try in order to keep myself sane and happy during the holidays.
1. Less Pressure
You know how Sally kissed Harry on New Year’s Eve? Well, we would all like that to be us, but the reality is our life is not a movie or fairy tale, so what does that mean?
It means putting less pressure on yourself for the holidays to be some giant huge love fest of joy. Cut the pressure. It’s really just another day. Yes, you may not be spending it exactly as you wish, but the day will come…and go. Even for a two-day holiday like Christmas…it does pass.
Don’t put any pressure on yourself for it to be perfect. Plenty of people are having crappy and crappier holidays and they’re married with kids and some of them, are wealthy.
Yup. So chillax.
2. Don’t Be Alone
This piece of advice is hard for even me to follow, so do as I say and not always as I do. Wink.
If you have no one to be with on a major holiday and being alone gives you pain and sadness, ask someone to let you join in on their fa-la-la-la fun. It doesn’t matter who it is—as long as it’s not an ax murderer, you’re better off doing that than being alone.
If you find that being alone helps you feel more comfortable, then go for it but I wouldn’t suggest it.
3. Be One With Your Maker
Okay, so unless you’re an atheist and even if you’re an atheist, perhaps you take the holiday to do a little meditation. Visiting church or temple. Taking some quiet time to meditate and clear your head. That’s exactly what I did the other day when I was feeling alone and was without my daughter, which rarely happens. I went to church to think. Pray a little. Cry a little.
Do some head clearing and thinking.
4. Recount the Good
For some of us, we may find our “good” cup is a bit short but we still have to take the time, especially as the New Year rolls around to remind ourselves what good has come from our year, and what goals we have achieved.
It can be as small as “started exercising again” or as big as “got a new job.” Whatever the case, please take a moment to celebrate the victories. They are there, even if you can’t hear a huge “Hurrah!” at the end.
5. Take Advantage of Free Time
Have you wanted to do some serious cleaning? What about visiting a friend? Making a date? Reading a book?
Take advantage of the free hours and make plans.
For some of us, being alone is really welcomed. If you’re like me and find it eerie still after four years alone, make a list of stuff to do and then conquer!
6. Recognize it’s Not Just Hard for You
If it’s hard on you…it’s hard on your kids. It is fun having two celebrations for kids in many ways, and also a royal pain in the a**. It’s hard for them to not be with everyone they love, as well.
READ ALSO: To the Men That Weren’t Worthy: Thank You
7. Gratitude for the Divorce
Just be grateful you aren’t:
Stuck in a bad marriage still
Pretending to be happy when you’re not
Feeling disappointed by your partner
Fighting furiously at the holidays
A quiet holiday, in this sense, may not be all so bad.
No matter how you spend the holidays, take these 7 steps to help yourself cope. Even years later it is hard for me. I need to take these 7 steps repeatedly in order to stay focused and sane. Be easy on yourself too—and remember, it’s okay to be sad!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Comedienne, & Obsessive Chocoholic