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5 Tips for making transition easier during the holidays by Jessica Middleton, M.A.

Tis the season?
We have entered one of the busiest seasons of the year. Halloween is a faint memory, and we are all gearing up for more celebrating, more family and more fun!…right?

Well, not all of us.What do you do when you are dealing with the grief of divorce? How do you balance managing your child’s holiday schedule? How do you deal with questions about why your partner is not with you at the family dinner this year? January 1st feels so far off, how do you make it to the finish line? The first step is to know you absolutely can and will make it through.

Here are 5 tips for making this transition a little bit easier:

1. Be gentle with yourself: You may experience a myriad of emotions including anger and sadness. This is ok, so you should be sure to nurture yourself, and give yourself the same compassion you would give to someone else.- Be sure to eat well and find time for rest and relaxation.- Allow yourself to grieve, and talk to others, but try not to wallow.

2. Do something different!– You don’t have to be locked into traditions. Use this time to determine what traditions you want to maintain, and, establish new traditions and memories.- As your life is going through this transition, it can be a good time to take inventory of what you want and identify what genuinely makes you happy.- It’s ok to say no!- Set healthy boundaries with family and friends. Let them know that things are different for you this year, and you may not be up for everything they ask of you.- Don’t feel the need to take on too much. Set limits without feeling guilty.

3. Ask for help/develop a support network: Even if you are someone who is used to being the “shoulder to lean on” now is the time to realize when you need the help.- You may find support in a close friend, clergy, a counselor, etc. Do not let pride interfere with asking for help. This may feel like an isolating experience, but you do not have to go through it alone.- While social networking sites can be helpful for support, they also tend to lead us to compare ourselves to others. If you find yourself feeling jealous, angry, or sad, then it might be time to put down the iPad.

4. Be ok with not being ok: The process of divorce and post-divorce can be life altering for you and your children. The holiday season magnifies emotions, positive and troubling.- You do not have to have to be “picture perfect.”- Let go of expectations and take it one day at a time.

5. Practice gratitude: Even in the most trying time, it can bring comfort to celebrate and reflect on what we have.- Giving back to the community can be a good starting point for turning resentments into gratitude. Sometimes the smallest things can bring the greatest joy.Have fun! – Have lunch with friends, catch a movie, have fun shopping, or take a quick getaway.Embrace each smile and the sound of laughter. This is a great time to discover yourself all over again


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