by: Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC
The holiday season is upon us and we all know what that means… It’s a season of; celebration, of giving thanks, family, friends, and festivities.
It is also the season of; added responsibilities, cooking, shopping, spending, cleaning, cooking, and obligations. It is all true, and when you are divorced, particularly if this is the first holiday season alone – it’s all going to feel very different. Maybe there will be things you are happy to let go of, and memories and hopes that you wanted to hold on to though likely there will be some combination of both of these experiences along with many others that will affect your ability to celebrate. It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times (to borrow a phrase).
If you are a parent trying to create new traditions for your children without their other parent around, the stress and pressure you may be feeling can be daunting. Holidays are for children in so many ways and now new traditions will need to be forged and old ones adjusted. Maybe your children are with your spouse and you are finding yourself suddenly alone for the holidays for the first time in years. Yes, it is indeed a challenging time. So before you get too bogged down about the details, please allow me to make a couple of suggestions.
- Think about what each of the holidays really means to you, not the trappings, not the decorations, not the food, but the holiday itself. What is the meaning? How is it important to you? How do you want to honor it; for yourself, for your children (if you have any), and for the other important people in your life?
- Consider a “glass half full” approach. Often we become so stressed by what is different, what is missing, and what we don’t have that we forget to recognize that which we do have. Practice gratitude; allow yourself to think about the good things and if you are willing to, keep a record of three things each day that you are grateful for. You will be amazed by all the things that you DO have, from the smallest to the biggest – particularly when you consider “all things” not just those of the material or interpersonal nature.
- Consider giving of yourself to others beyond the gifts of food and money and toys. Take the time to embody the spirit of connection that gives the holidays their meaning. It can be a simple phone call to an old friend, a visit with a neighbor or a volunteer shift at the local food pantry. Giving of yourself, connecting with others will fill not just your heart but that of the person you reach out to as well – and isn’t that one of the core elements of the holidays anyway?
- Take some time to breath. With so many extra tasks piled on to your existing responsibilities, often people feel buried in lists at this time of year anyway. When you are newly single, or a single parent that experience can feel even more overwhelming. Take a pause here and there and be kind to yourself. Running yourself to the brink of exhaustion isn’t really of benefit to anyone. A little self-nurturing can go a long way.
As we partake in old traditions and invent new ones – consider what is most important; for your loved ones and for yourself. The holidays are times of reflection, of gratitude, of giving, and of meaning, let them meet you at your core and kindle the glow of the spirit of the holiday season from the inside – out. Enjoy!
Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC is a Certified Life Coach and owner of Firebird Life Coaching. In addition to her coaching work with individual and group clients, Lisa is also a public speaker, teacher and writer. She is a former Mental Health Counselor and holds a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. Lisa writes forHopeAfterDivorce.org, FamilyShare.com, DivorceSupportCenter.com, and LAFamily. You can visit Lisa’s website atwww.firebirdlifecoaching.com, her blog at firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com and her FB page atwww.facebook.com/FirebirdLifeCoaching.