Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. It is a day out of the hustle and bustle of normal fast-paced life to be with family and give thanks for everything you have, and in some cases, give thanks to what has come to an end – like an unhealthy marriage. However, even if you are happy to be divorced, Thanksgiving and other holidays may still be a difficult and emotional time. Traditions that were made as a family are now painful reminders of what ended, and holidays may be spent without the presence of your children. If you are dealing with divorce or separation, here are a few ways that can help you be thankful and enjoy Thanksgiving again.
Create New Traditions
Holidays after divorce and separation will be filled with nostalgic memories of previous holidays spent with your ex. Maybe your ex-spouse always cooked the turkey while you entertained family and friends in the home you no longer live in. New traditions will help keep you focused on the future and the things and relationships you have maintained throughout the hard times. If you have the kids this Thanksgiving, create a new tradition for just you and them, which could be anything from a certain craft project to a trip to the mountains. For those wanting to give back, consider volunteering with a charity or local soup kitchen this Thanksgiving. And for the athletes and adventurers, sign up for a turkey trot in your area or perhaps a place you have been wanting to visit.
Surround Yourself with your Support Team
Holidays are a busy time for everyone, especially Thanksgiving, but friends and family may be surprisingly eager to pull up an extra chair and break bread with you this year. Just because you are feeling down doesn’t mean you should spend the holiday alone. If a friend or family member offer an invitation to join them this Thanksgiving, accept that invitation. Not only will it keep your mind off the poignant memories of the past, but will help you be thankful for the relationships you have now. If you are concerned you might bring the party down, try talking to someone beforehand so that negative feelings are kept at bay and you can relax and enjoy the festivities.
If your ex has the kids and your friends and family are off celebrating on their own, or you just don’t feel up to socializing, treat yourself this Thanksgiving. As always, there are myriad of businesses open on Thanksgiving, and the day after, offering the best deals of the season. Take some time to catch up on reading or movies you have wanted to indulge in, or tackle that house project you never seem to have time for. If the kids are away, coordinate a phone call or face time visit with them. Remember, they will be coping with the change in tradition as well. However you spend your Thanksgiving, make sure you take care of yourself.
Life transitions are never easy, and holidays may escalate your emotions. By taking steps in a positive direction and embracing your new life, you’ll be able to begin enjoying the holidays again. This Thanksgiving remember to give thanks. Make a list of everything and everyone you are thankful for, I bet the list is much longer than you expect.