Coping with Thanksgiving After Divorce
The holidays can be difficult after a divorce, especially Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holiday marks the start of the holiday season for most families, and it can serve as a very difficult reminder of the family traditions that will no longer be the same. While you can certainly still enjoy the holiday season, you will likely need to make a few changes to your seasonal schedule. You and your family will need to adjust to new plans and traditions this year, and though these changes can be difficult, they are crucial.
Work Out a Schedule for Your Children
If you and your ex share children, it is extremely important that you create a holiday schedule that works for them. Try negotiating a plan that works for both of you and allows your children to have the best Thanksgiving they can. If you live nearby, perhaps consider splitting the day or having two celebrations on different days. Or, maybe if one parent has the children on Thanksgiving, the other parent will have the children at Christmas. Whatever the arrangement, try to plan it ahead of time and take your kids’ feelings and wishes into account.
It may be a cliché, but focusing on what you are thankful for is what Thanksgiving is all about, isn’t it? The holidays can be difficult following divorce, and while it’s perfectly normal that you may still have feelings of sadness or frustration, it is equally important to remember what you are grateful for. Try making a list of those special things, or talk about them with your family, friends, or your kids.
Don’t just take our word for it – psychologists have been studying the effects of gratitude and found:
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Create New Traditions
Some traditions may no longer work now that you are divorced, but rather than dwelling on that loss, think instead of new traditions you can practice. If your spouse used to fry the turkey, maybe you can give traditional baked turkey a try this year. If you have children, consider what they want to do or new things they’d like to try and make a new tradition with them.
That being said, if there are especially meaningful traditions that your family used to practice together, do what you can to maintain those special memories.
Rely on Your Support System
The holiday season can be hectic, and between all your to-do’s and errands, make sure you make time for yourself. Whether you are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or anything in between, see to it that you have an outlet and a safe place to let those feelings out. Turn to your family, your closest friends, or even a therapist to help you through this time.
Going through a divorce is tough. Even after it is legally over, the changes to your life, family, routine and traditions can continue to be difficult for some time. Remember that the holiday season is a great time to focus on yourself, your relationships with your loved ones, and celebrating and creating new memories to as you move forward with your life.If you need help with your divorce, our family law attorneys can help. Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to discuss your case.