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How Divorce Affects the Holidays: Where Are the Kids Going for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Parents who are going through a divorce are extremely impacted by the change, even if it was expected. It is a difficult time to cope and stay positive knowing you are away from your child(ren) during the holidays. However, staying positive is healthy – for yourself and for your kids. Here we will be discussing the effects of divorce during the holidays and actionable tools to stay positive.

Effects of Divorce During Holiday Season

Increased Stress

Even without a divorce in the mix, holidays are stressful. You have to cook, bake, buy gifts, buy ornaments, decorate the house, maintain holiday spirits and not to mention, still do your personal daily activities. Now when you add divorce, the stress is indescribable. You’re going to event’s alone (which leads to answering questions about your ex-partner), your children are confused as to what the game plan is, and you need to re-build traditions. All things of those are part of going through a divorce during the holidays but needless to say extremely stressful.

Emotional Imbalance

Divorce during the holidays may lead to becoming emotionally imbalanced. You are emotionally drained and overwhelmed by the lawyers, the children not having their “regular” routine, and the conflict between you and your ex-spouse. While on the other hand, you are grateful for the support of your friends and family, and still trying your hardest to be positive in front of your child(ren).Whether the divorce was mutual or not, the holiday’s bring out a sense of loneliness, sending you towards an emotional roller coaster of questions such as: ‘Did we make the right decision? Does he/she still think about me? How is this impacting my kids? etc.’ You are not alone and those thoughts are common to have especially during this time of year and a break-up.

Increased Self-doubt / Blame

Your children are aware of the changes and although you attempt to hide your true feelings, children can sense the hurt and pain. Knowing this may lead to self-doubt about making the “right” decisions.

And What To Do About It!

Divorce is not something you intentionally wanted your child to experience. However, being aware of that does not replace the guilt, blame, and shame you feel during this time of year. It is easy to put the blame on yourself but remember, you did your best. It is not healthy or beneficial to doubt or blame yourself during these tough times but instead, love and care for yourself a little more than you did yesterday.

So now you’re probably thinking, what’s the solution? Here are some tips to get you through the day. Yes, you read that correctly, day! It is easier to reduce stress, be happy, and love yourself when you take things one day at a time.

  • Plan your day the night before – this allows you to start your day with intention, clarity, and relaxed because the hard work/tasks have been processed the night before. An extra 15-30 minutes the night before can lead to 12 hours of reduced stress the day after.
  • Listen to your favorite music – Scientists show that music can help you sleep better, reduce stress, increase happiness, and so much more! So while you’re cleaning, driving, or watching your child during practice, put on those headphones and jam out or relax.*
  • Positive Talk – Place friendly affirmations/quotes on your bathroom mirror, cell phone wallpaper, laptop, etc. Place them in places that will remind you to stop and take this day for what it is (without judgment). Examples of these are: “I trust the process of life” “Everything I need is always taken care of” “I am grateful for my … “ or simply look up a quote with meaning to you and post it.
  • Mindful Eating – purposely paying attention to the food you are consuming can heal your anxious and worried eating habits. Dr. Axe describes this in more detail here: https://draxe.com/mindful-eating/
  • Gratitude Time – Set an alarm 3 times a day and when it rings, take that very moment to quickly list 3 things you are grateful for – small or big, they make a difference.

Bonus: Ask your kids to join and blame it on the blog!