Posted on November 15, 2013 · Posted in Blog

Home Alone for Christmas2

‘Twas the night before Christmas…and you’re all alone.

(Updated)

Your first Christmas as a newly separated or divorced person can be very lonely, painful and sad, but it can also be a time for building new experiences and traditions. It really is up to you how you approach the “season to be jolly.” The tips in this article can give you hope and help you put on a positive face as you approach what could otherwise be a blue Christmas.

By Wes Stevenson, Senior Family Mediator with Kelowna Divorce

My former wife and I separated in late August. That first year I had the kids for Thanksgiving, and she had them the first part of their Christmas vacation. I thought I would be okay as long as I kept busy. Man, was I wrong! That first Christmas by myself was difficult, to say the least.

I thought I had prepared well, and felt I would be just fine. I remember thinking to myself that I would spend some time at work, get up each morning and go for a workout, and just enjoy each day as it came. The reality was that waking up on Christmas morning alone in my apartment that first year was the most depressing day of my life. As I write about that difficult day 20 years later, the memories are still quite vivid – and still painful.

Sad Christmas 2013

As a family mediator here in Kelowna, I now use my own personal experience to prepare my clients to meet the emotional challenges of the Christmas season. Proper planning will help you navigate through the holidays without going into a tailspin. It doesn’t matter if you have children or not, everything in your life is different and you have to prepare yourself for this time of year.

So, what can you do? Here are a few tips for surviving Christmas 2016:

  • Plan. As I said above, preparation makes a world of difference in getting you through the Christmas season with a smile on your face. At the end of the day, it’s really all about attitude and if you want to sit on your pity pot and feel sorry for yourself, you can do that.
  • Divorce is an event, not a way of life.Just like Christmas is one event in the calendar year, so divorce is just one event in your life – and you will rebound and find that there is life after divorce. No one was put on this earth to be miserable and unhappy. Remember that you deserve happiness just like everybody else
  • Establish new traditions.Routine is non-existent at this point in your life and everything, and everyone, around you is changing – including your holiday traditions. So, what can you do differently to establish your own cool traditions? Pick stuff that is fun and that will occupy your mind. If you have children, perhaps start taking them to a movie every year on Christmas Day? Or do something physical outside with them. Anyway, you get the point – new traditions/new life.
  • If you can afford it, make plans to get away.After my disastrous first Christmas by myself, I decided I wasn’t going to do that again. So I took a cheap, last-minute trip, solo, to Las Vegas. I made some life-long friends and I had a wonderful time walking up and down the Strip and taking in the free shows.
  • Spend time with family and friends.Your lifeline during separation and divorce is often your friends and family. They’ll understand if you need to lean on them at this time of year.
  • DON’T numb the pain with alcohol or drugs.This was my personal #1 rule during the first year after my divorce. They only add to the emotional distress and they can create more depression.
  • Be thankful.Where else in the world would you rather be than in the beautiful Okanagan? We have so much to be thankful for: family, friends, our children, health, shelter, the food on the table, a job, freedom, safety and the beauty that surrounds us.
  • Use 2017 as a starting point for a new life. You’ve survived the worst part of your life and you’ve put 2014 behind you. Try new activities. It’s a time of reinventing yourself and emerging as the “new you” and that’s exciting!

Remember that it is all about mental attitude and how you approach the holidays that will have the greatest impact on your experience. Implementing these tips will help you get through the holidays with hope and with a sense of empowerment.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Christmas holly

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