Surviving Christmas can be a challenge for a number of reasons. If you are recently separated or divorced, it can present a particular set of issues. Here’s some of the key survival skills and techniques to help take you through Christmas and beyond so you can come out of your split as happy as possible for the new year.
Focus on your children
If you are coming up to your first Christmas as a single parent, one of your first natural concerns will be: are the children are coping okay? You may be concerned that Christmas this year will not be as enjoyable for them as in previous years now their parents are no longer together. Children are often averse to change of any kind, so it’s important to keep up as many festive traditions going as possible. These predictable patterns will help them feel stable, secure and enjoying themselves.
Communicate constructively over holiday plans
Take time with their other parent to plan where and when they will be staying and for how long. Depending on the size of your extended family, this can become a packed timetable of events. It’s important to communicate as constructively as you can with your ex, and try to keep things amicable by making plans and intentions for the holidays clear and being prepared to be flexible.
What you are and your ex-partner will need to bear in mind is the wants and needs of the children, and not what you want your Xmas schedule to look like. This might mean sacrificing more time with them than you would care to on some occasions. However, this will motivate you to spend as much quality time with them as possible when they are with you.
Look after yourself
It’s also important to take care of your own needs too. If you have just separated, you will still need to go through the grieving and healing processes. Christmas can be a tricky time of year to do this, so be kind and patient with yourself and trust the process.
Self-care tips over Christmas:
- Take care of your own needs by meeting up with friends. Often people are a little more relaxed over the festive period, they may have time off work or have fully wound down. Meet up with your friends to have some fun or to talk through what you have been going through with your separation.
- Make time for exercising regularly. When everything is shut down over Christmas, it’s a good time to take yourself off for that run or walk. There are no distractions stopping you from practicing some yoga or enjoying a meditation or two. Treat yourself to the indulgence of having a little more time in your calendar than usual.
- Christmas is a difficult time to start a new healthy eating plan, but there’s nothing stopping you from thinking about your new healthy eating program for the new year. Make sure you get plenty of sleep too. It’s not always do-able if you have a full schedule with young children at Christmas but try to get in 40 winks when you can.
- Finally, stay in touch with friends over the holidays. Try to plan some fun and lighthearted get-togethers where you can take your mind off your separation. But don’t keep your feelings under wraps if you are feeling hurt or upset about your split. Friends are there for the good times, and the bad.
When it comes to surviving your first Christmas, the trick is to put your child’s needs first but don’t neglect your own either. By planning early, communicating as well as you can with your former partner and going easy on yourself, you will get through the festive period and be ready to take on 2024.