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My Tips to survive Christmas if you are separated or divorced.

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Christmas can be a tricky time of the year even if you are in a relationship, yet alone separated or divorced. It a time where emotions run high and if can be difficult to see how you are going to get through it.

This may be your first Christmas and you are faced with the prospect of being alone .

Your new reality will be challenging , but it’s important to know that you have a choice how to approach it . You can let it bring you down or you can put yourself in control and choose a positive way to approach the holidays. You know that this Christmas is going to be different, and whilst you can’t change the fact that you are going to be alone you can change how you feel about it.

Think about it this way:

  • How can I make myself feel better about this?

  • What can I do on Christmas day that I’ve always wanted too, but haven’t been able to ?

  • What new traditions can I start that I always fancied?

Remember you are in control, and you get to decide exactly what you want your  Christmas day to look like. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t. Be open to new opportunities  possibilities or invitations.

Are you dreading being alone on Christmas day?

Think about it this way:

What is it exactly that is making me dread being alone?

Be totally honest with yourself and lean into it. Like most things that worry us, once we have identified what it is, we can focus on how we can make it better for ourselves. Sometimes, when you think about what worries you, it may not be as bad as you first thought.

Once you know what it is that you are dreading, you can think of ways that will help you dial down that feeling of dread.

It’s useful to ask yourself these questions:

  • What would I like to feel instead of ‘dread’?

  • You may want to feel content, relaxed, or stress-free.

What would be the best present I could give myself this year? Write yourself a little Christmas ‘ gift for me’ list, make it fun, and put anything down, from having a long bath to painting your nails in a bright colour that maybe your ex didn’t like.

Do I know anyone who has been through this and has positively and successfully managed Christmas alone and could give me tips?

Make plans with a friend.

Could I help those in need? Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter?

What can I think of that would be a good thing to come out of this?

What won’t I miss?

It may mean that you don’t have to cook a huge lunch, get up early, watch TV or listen to music that you don’t enjoy.

Feel the freedom of not being obliged to do things that you didn’t enjoy.

Think – Yes, it’s going to be different, but I can make this be a good day for me.

Make time for you and your needs.

You are going through a lot and may be feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of Christmas and trying to make everyone happy.

Call a friend , who understands and will cheer you up, arrange a day out, meet up for a coffee.

Go for a walk or partake in whatever exercise you enjoy.

Whatever it is, do something you enjoy, take the time to invest in you and your needs.

How will I cope without my children on Christmas day?

You can be the perfect role model for your children, by not showing them you are upset as you don’t want to stress  your children as you know they will miss you. You don’t want to put them in the position of conflict or getting involved in them  ‘blaming the other parent for causing your upset.

Shift your focus on the time you are spending with your children.

Make a plan, ask them what they would like to do together with you.

Think of a new  tradition you could start with the children, for example  instead of using the same artificial tree you have had for years, going to a Christmas tree farm and tagging a real tree to collect nearer to Christmas and making that a special day, just for you and your children.

Christmas day can be any day, not only on the 25th, but it will also be whatever day you can spend with your children. Your children can start looking forward to having two  wonderful Christmas days.

Finding a positive way forward to how you look at Christmas we really help your children too.

They don’t want to see you sad and stressed. They will follow your lead! Be positive, say you will miss them but focus on when you will have your Christmas day together.

How can I stop feeling so resentful and angry that I must share my children with my ex at Christmas?

You are being a wonderful parent by putting your child’s needs first.

It will be difficult, but you want to make it a  fun  and a happy time for your children as is possible.

Like you, they are going through a huge change and will be looking to you for support and to guide them to get through it.

Try and imagine how they feel , maybe stuck in the middle of both parents, wanting to be with you both , but know that’s not going to happen.

So put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine :

  • How do they feel?

  • What  do they want ?

  • What would they want to say to you?

No child wants to see their parents arguing, they may have been subjected to conflict in the home before, make this new beginning, the start of happier memories for them and you  at Christmas time.

It’s up to both parents to put their emotions  and differences  aside to put your child’s best interests first.

Step back from  how you feel about your ex and make a conscious decision to  respond and not react. Remember you cannot control their behaviour, but  you can control yours.

I’m worrying that I will have to see my ex at Christmas.

Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you imagine and what you remember, and you can prepare for seeing your ex by practicing how you want that to play out .

Imagine you are watching a film on a big screen; you are in the film. Imagine you are zipping yourself up in a Teflon suit, feeling in total control, totally composed, saying exactly what you need to say in a calm and confident way to your ex. Practice out loud what you will say and in what tone a few times.

Now rewind the scene and run it again, asking yourself how you could do it better. Make the colours bright and the picture bigger and bigger. Feel yourself in the picture as part of the film.

Keep repeating the film of you in your Teflon suit , feeling calm and in control saying what you need to say to your ex, and see yourself giving your very best performance.

This may sound a little odd, but it works! Now when you meet your ex your brain will remember the mind movie and will know what you need to do!!

The key for you is, to stop worrying about Christmas and  to realise it’s just a day, and  to start shifting your focus on what you can do to make the very best of it, for you.

You know it’s going to be different, and you never know you might enjoy the change?

Its all about creating new traditions and new memories!

I really hope this helps and you get to enjoy the Christmas you deserve!

Sarah xx

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