Coping with Holiday Stress

In Health, Lifestyle, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When you have experienced a separation or divorce, the holidays can be a particularly brutal time. You are in the midst of a major life change, you are grieving, and you are adjusting. Unfortunately, you are also in a position where you are pressured into social functions based on the time of the year. Whether this is at holiday work functions, parties, or family gatherings, you are no doubt subjected to questions, comments, or looks that serve to remind you of your life change. Or worse, people who were talking about something go silent as you approach.

Ultimately, even if your friends and family have the best intentions, you cannot help but feel lonely during the holidays. In addition, if you have children, you have the added sadness and stress of navigating holiday visitation with your former partner. Holidays can be a highly stressful time.

  • It is important to recognize that holidays are stressful and that your feelings are normal. Just because other people have seemed to “bounce back” from a divorce, this does not invalidate your grieving process. This is your own individual trauma and there is no “right” amount of time to heal.
  • Practice mindfulness. Remain aware of when you feel stress and how that physically manifests itself in you. If something is bothering you, write it down. Start a journal and start writing. You might be able to identify themes or trends that can help you understand what is bothering you and why.
  • Recognize how you are coping with your stress. This is important because there are many unhealthy ways to cope with stress. In no particular order, this may include alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and shopping. Know that alcohol flows plentifully at holiday parties and gatherings. Or that it is incredibly easy to buy massive quantities of food to feed your feelings when you are alone. Know your limits and recognize when you have reached your limits.
  • Seek help. Talk to friends about your feelings. Consider therapy. Find a support group associated with your religion. Counselors and support groups are well aware of how the holidays trigger emotional trauma. There is no shame in asking for help or talking to others about their experiences.

New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that provides legal representation and counsel regarding separations, divorces, property division, child custody, child support, and alimony issues. If you are considering a divorce, call us. Our attorneys have years of legal experience and will provide compassionate, intelligent legal guidance and advocacy. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or reach us online.