How to Survive the Holidays if You Are in the Middle of a Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

Surviving the holiday season is a challenge for most of us, but if you are in the middle of a marital meltdown, you’re likely feeling less than jolly.

The divorce attorneys at CT Mediation Center want to share some suggestions on how to get through this difficult patch with peace and goodwill.

Trim the gift list. If you are in the middle of divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce your goal is to have a positive conclusion to an unworkable situation. Curb the desire to become the Christmas fairy—not everyone in the family, extended family, friends, and friends of friends needs a gift. It’s likely your closest connections are going to shift in the next year. While that may be painful (or cause for good cheer,) you don’t need to assuage your guilt, stomp around in those people-pleaser shoes, or go broke for one last go-round. Buy gifts for people you truly care about, and leave the others behind.

Choose who you want to spend time with. In the past, you might have sliced and diced the holiday season much like you’d carve a turkey. Pieces of you went everywhere, and you might have ended every season feeling…plucked. As you move through your divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, ‘tis the season to remember that YOU count. You get to decide where you want to be, who you want to be with, and for how long.

Take a break from it all. One of the benefits of a divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce is that it’s a low-stress, healthier approach to dissolving a marriage. You’ve already filed for divorce. Now you can both agree to ride out the holidays without uttering the “D word.” January is soon enough to renew the discussion.

Start a new tradition. Holidays are all about tradition. Divorce is all about change. “We’ve always done it that way” is about to change to, “What would I like to do instead?” Embrace the novelty by making one small positive change this year. Then next year you have a new tradition to begin with, and a way to honor the challenges you’ve overcome.

Don’t go it alone. A mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce is still a divorce. The temptation to burrow into a blanket and wait for the pain to pass is very real—but not very productive. Instead, choose to be alone in public. Make a date with yourself. Go to a favorite coffee shop, visit a museum, splurge on a gratitude journal, and end the day with a glass of wine or dinner at a trendy hot spot. Nesting in public reminds you that life goes on, and yours will, too.

Keep busy. One advantage of a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce is that it’s a less-stressful way to dissolve your marriage. That means you might have the energy to bake extra cookies, sing Christmas carols or volunteer at a food bank. Keeping busy keeps those I’m-getting-a-divorce-it’s-the-holidays blues at bay. It also gets you out of the house and into the welcoming arms of a community that needs you.

Make a schedule. If you are keeping busy to keep the blues at bay, good for you. Make sure you don’t overdo it (which will increase your stress, make you crabby, and make it harder to focus on your mediated divorce or collaborative divorce.) Make a list of everything you need to do for the holidays and a target date to get it done. This will help you feel more in control and less stressed. 

If you are contemplating divorce, the attorneys at CT Mediation Center can help. Call our office today at (860) 986-1141 for a free consultation.