Can you believe 2021 is almost over?? The big ones–Christmas and New Year’s– are upon us–just like that! If you are like me, and have an ‘every other weekend’ schedule with your co parent, it’s possible that you might have your kids just one more time before Christmas. Some of you might have them 2 times–next weekend and Christmas weekend. Either way, it’s not exactly what we thought our lives would be like when we said ‘I do’.
I know that this is probably the busiest time of the year for everyone, and the struggle is always how to manage it–divorced, divorcing, or not. There are parties [which, now that you are single, you might not want to attend anyhow], there are gift exchanges at work, like Secret Santa, stocking stuffers and gifts to purchase, maybe shipping or mailing to do to get things to loved ones on time. It is a lot.
It is important, especially now, to take time to take care of YOU. Your kids will have a magical Christmas even if you don’t get to use the tablecloth you wanted because it’s still at the dry cleaner. Trust me, they won’t notice. What they WILL notice is a calm, centered, relaxed parent who can be 100% present. Here are some tips to help.
>Move your body
Daily exercise might seem far fetched with so much to do. Remember, you do what you make a priority. Even 10 minutes of a walk with your dog, or a snowball fight outside with the kids will do your heart [figuratively AND literally] good, helping to increase endorphins and decrease stress hormones in your brain, making you feel relaxed and improving your mood!
>Don’t overschedule yourself
I know it is tempting to cram ALL. THE. [CHRISTMAS] THINGS. into a short period of time–cookie baking, decorating the tree, visiting Santa, watching your top 5 favorite holiday movies–all of it. But think–is that realistic? Especially if you have your kids only once before Christmas, think about what things mean the most to you and your kids, and do those. If you can’t let go of anything, perhaps consider scaling back. Maybe just watch 2 movies. Make 3 kinds of cookies instead of 6. Decorate the tree and let the kids put on their special ornaments when they are with you instead of having it HAVE to be all together to decorate at all.
Also, if you normally do Secret Santa at work, or attend an annual party that is adults only, or send holiday cards, think about whether you have the mental time or energy to put toward those activities. If the answer is ‘no’, then say no…and let it go.
>Find your quiet
Finding a literal place you can be to be calm and centered can help tremendously. Attend a Christmas service at your church if that’s your thing, or find a place that makes your heart happy and meditate there. No need to pressure yourself into doing anything perfectly–just taking the time to be with yourself in your own head without distractions can make a huge difference in your mood and feeling of well-being.
>Do something for someone else
Call a friend or relative to wish them happy holidays. Deliver presents to Toys for Tots or your favorite charity. Volunteer at a nursing home. Doing things for others and getting out of your own head for a bit can be a great thing as much as being IN your head. And, doing for others is a way to practice gratitude for all that you do have, despite whatever crappy divorce thing is happening for you at the moment.
Remember what they say on the airlines–put on YOUR oxygen mask first, before you help someone else put on theirs. You can’t be a benefit to your kids or anyone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself. This is a HARD time of year to be going through a divorce. It’s a hard time to BE divorced. You can do hard things. Just remember to be soft on yourself.
Are you ready to feel joy again, reclaim your independence, and chart a path toward more personal meaning and contentment? I would love to help you as you take those steps. Check out my website for more information.