When you are going through a divorce, during this time of year during the holiday season, life can feel off-the-charts challenging and stressful. So, I asked Personal Development & Relationship Enrichment expert, Emma Viglucci, LMFT, Director of Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy, PLLC, for advice to my clients on how you can be proactive, intentional, and mindful to ensure you actually have an amazing holiday and new year. Here are her top 5 tips on how to thrive during the holiday season.
1. Manage the demands of life, the season, and the divorce
Yes, there is a lot to do, and you might feel like you don’t even know where to begin. Decide what projects, tasks, responsibilities, and commitments you can scrap, delegate or outsource. Make life as simple and as streamlined as possible. Be ruthless at clearing the decks. This will create space for more time, energy, and creativity to help you navigate this challenging time.
Decide what kind of ex you want to be. If you go into your divorce thinking, O.G. I’m going to have a very contentious, difficult and painful divorce and/or holiday, that’s what you’ll have. Thoughts and words are very powerful-- they give instructions to our brain and meaning to our experiences… We create what we think… Become vigilant about what you allow to rent space in your head, the lens you choose to use, and the expectations you have. Choose to be the best ex possible. Embrace compassion, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, grace and generosity.
2. Stick to your health and wellness routine
This is tough under any circumstances, but the pressures of a divorce may make it even more difficult. Covering your basics will keep you energized and stable.
The best way to tackle this is to at least cover the basics and take baby steps. Go to sleep earlier than you normally do. Get up earlier than you normally do. Then tackle some basic self-care, including meditation and gratitude, exercise, and hydration. Then eat as clean as you can the rest of the day.
3. Celebrate the holidays
Going through a divorce doesn’t have to ruin the holidays. Clearly determine and plan who the children will be with and when. Address the following:
∙ Allowing for transition time and switching gears
∙ Holding space for sadness and other feelings (not forcing happiness)
∙ Honoring their needs and preferences
∙ Making them feel special
∙ Creating positive memories
Plan what you will do for yourself to embrace and enjoy the holiday spirit, even if you don’t feel in the mood. Sometimes, just being around friends will distract you and shift your energy.
4. Embrace old and new traditions
Determine what traditions you’ll continue even though you no longer have the same family structure. Stay attuned for new traditions that might organically develop.
Become a detective for what pleases and delights each of your family members, including your ex. If you have children, just because you are divorcing doesn’t mean you are no longer a family. Your family will just have a different structure. Now is the time to set the tone for how you’ll continue to have a cohesive family experience and identify that which creates safety and security for everyone involved.
5. Create a plan for an amazing New Year
It might be difficult to plan ahead when there is so much uncertainty and confusion. Now is the time to create a plan of peace and resilience…
To that end, take a look at 2022 and decide what kind of year you’d like it to be.
Envision and dream.
∙ Set achievable goals that you have control over.
∙ Select tactics and habits to achieve those goals.
∙ Sprinkle the fun into the planning – activities that recharge, create joy, add meaning.
Finally, while going through a divorce is challenging, it is how you pursue it that makes the difference. Make sure you go about it always taking the high-
road, with your best self, and with an eye on creating a collaborative, harmonious, and joyful future.
Emma Viglucci, LMFT, is a Personal Development & Relationship Enrichment expert and Director of Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy, PLLC, https://metrorelationship.com. If you need support, schedule a time to connect with Emma here: https://bitly.com/3q2tGhW.