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Stress and anxiety are often the markers that accompany tradition and cheer over the holidays. These negative aspects can be magnified by the presence of a new or ongoing divorce proceeding. Like much of one’s daily routine, the norms of the holidays may be forced to alter as individuals adapt to a single lifestyle and this only becomes further complicated when children are involved. So the big question is how should you deal with it all?

First, you need to admit and recognize that the circumstances have changed. You might have a smaller income but more expenses, adjust the amount you purchase or the gifts you give account for this. Everyone doesn’t require a gift; trimming the fat is necessary; those individuals whom you care about, and who hopefully reciprocate the gesture, will have knowledge of your ongoing situation and realize that gift giving is lower on the priority list than in the past. Temper your children’s expectations in as thoughtful/considerate a means as possible, because like you, their worldview in also changing.

Next, embrace the possibilities of a clean slate. Your obligations to your former spouse and their family/friends may no longer apply. That could create free time to embrace the endeavors you have wanted to take part in the past but were unable to attend. Indulge in activities of your own choosing whether that is with friends new or old. Venture to a new place as an escape or enjoy the comforts of home unencumbered. The key is that the choices are all yours; bask in the power to choose and choose yourself.

Divorce, especially over the holidays, can make for tough sledding. The adjustment continues, embrace the possibilities rather than dwelling in the doldrums of divorce.

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