Surviving the Holidays “May Your Days Be Merry and Bright…”
This season is hard for many of us. That isn’t easy to admit. I have had quite a time trying to write this Weekly Dose because I wanted to find a way to candy-coat the fact that, for many of us, challenges pop up when Christmas rolls around. Particularly when a marriage ends, the holiday season is not going to feel “Merry and Bright”.
Perfect family celebrations and songs that profess “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, may cause us to slip into shame or sadness because we are not feeling up to celebrating the holidays this year.
You have every right to enjoy (or ignore) Christmas in the way that works best for you, this season. If you are getting divorced, Christmas is no longer going to be the idealistic image we often see portrayed in movies, songs, and our culture. Different feelings are bound to come up for us at this time. There will be happy memories, of course, but also feelings of loneliness, loss, nostalgia, sadness, anger, and fear may present themselves. The cards and songs that only focus on peace, joy, and love, tell just half of the story.
Not feeling the Christmas spirit is absolutely ok. It might not be ideal… but it is still OK! Rest assured; you will not feel this way forever. Perhaps this year is the time to take a step back from the holidays. Maybe it’s important to skip events, dinners, or work outings. It’s important to pay attention to the feeling you have about holiday activities. Sometimes, attending gatherings ensures that you’ll be asked about your “situation”. These conversations, as well as the joyful banter, laughter and merry making may be triggering and so, you may choose to avoid these outings.
One thing I must mention… if you have children, it is imperative that you do what you can to make their holidays very special, in whatever way is financially and emotionally sound for you. It will not benefit you down the road to look back on this tough time and feel a sense of shame that, because of your own pain, you didn’t step up and give your children the best Christmas possible. Only guilt and regret will come of that, and no one wants that.
Once you have ensured that you’ve done what you can to give your children a wonderful Christmas, it’s time to honor yourself and your feelings by choosing to only do the things that help you feel stable, grounded, calm, and safe.
If you are feeling alone, sad, or adrift during this holiday season, please reach out to us at the DRC for encouragement and conversation. Simply call or text 800-242-6712. We know what it’s like to have difficult, challenging Christmases and want you to know you’re not alone.
From all of us at the Divorce Recovery Center, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!