While our Pittsburgh Family Lawyers were "decking the halls" we got to thinking about our clients, friends and family that are having a rough time this holiday season.
With the "most wonderful time of the year" in full swing for many people the holiday season is anything but wonderful! No other time of year places quite such a strong emphasis on family togetherness than December. So, if your family dynamic has recently changed as a result of a divorce or separation, the holiday season can be a very emotional reminder of the difficult times over the past year. Of course, there's no magic recipe for kicking the holiday blues, but there are ways to cope. Joanie Winberg, CEO of the Association for Divorce for Women and Children, shared the five tips for surviving the holidays after divorce on the Huffington Post Divorce blog yesterday. Here's a taste of what the experts say:
1) Focus on what is working -- To help fight off your negative thoughts, think good, positive thoughts. I know this may seem impossible to do at this time, but you have to start somewhere. Thinking good thoughts will attract more good thoughts and you will eventually have less and less negativity in your life. Other suggestions include focusing on your contributions to the happiness of others, smiling at a person in need and sending a thank you note or an e-mail to a friend or family member for their support and all that you are grateful for. The one that works for me every time? Hugging my children.
2) Start new traditions -- Especially during the holidays, it's important to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Plan a potluck gathering in your home and have each person bring a new friend to share the holiday spirit. Start new traditions.
3) Know that you are good enough -- After divorce, many feel that they're "not good enough"; this feeling seems to skyrocket during the holidays. Be gentle with yourself! You are unique and magnificent. To see how magnificent you are, make a list of at least ten things that you love about yourself. Keep the list with you at all times as a friendly reminder in case your thoughts and feelings of not being good enough try to take over again.
4) Live your dreams -- Bitterness can rob you of happiness and the ability to move your life forward after divorce. Direct your energy towards your goals and dreams. I suggest building a dream collage. Include your children and make this a family project to help everyone focus on their dreams. To get started, pick up some magazines, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. Go for it and have some fun!
5) Trust your gut -- Feeling emotionally distraught during the holidays also makes it very difficult to make decisions. Learn to let go and be still. How do you learn to be still? Start by using all your senses and focus on this very moment. For example, what do you hear, see, smell and feel? Write it down. If your thoughts start to wander, that's okay, just start again. I promise it will get easier with practice. As I tell all my clients, be kind, gentle and patient with yourself. Honor your sense of right and wrong and believe in who you have become.