Divorce can be a difficult and emotionally charged process. Having to deal with custody arrangements, dividing up property, and dealing with the end of a relationship can be overwhelming at any time of year.

But for those going through a divorce during the holidays, it can feel especially intense. To help mitigate the stress, use the following six actionable tips to successfully navigate a divorce this holiday season.

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1. Set Realistic Expectations

Whether you’re used to spending Christmas Eve with your in-laws or hosting a big holiday party, things will be different before, during, and after your divorce. Be prepared for changes in your routine, and don’t expect things to be exactly the same as they were in years past. Things don’t have to be perfect, so don’t put that pressure on yourself.

If you have kids, proactively plan a co-parenting schedule. You’ll need to make arrangements with your ex about dividing time based on your holiday schedules.

Lastly, your relationship with your ex will change, but keep things amicable. Divorce doesn’t have to be a messy process; it can be manageable when adopting a positive mindset. Don’t trash talk on social media or even behind closed doors. You should focus on building your future instead of tearing down your past.

2. Tighten Your Spending

The divorce process can cost a significant amount of time and money. In complex cases, especially ones in California, divorces can cost $25K or more.

Be mindful of your divorce costs and budget appropriately. Seek the help of a financial advisor or divorce consultant to clarify your financial picture throughout the divorce process.

3. Build Your Inner Circle

Reach out to family and friends for support. Going through a divorce can bring about feelings of isolation and loneliness — but it doesn’t have to!

There are people who care about you and are willing to help. However, it’s important for you to take the initiative and reach out because others may feel weary about approaching you during such a sensitive time.

Additionally, consider booking time with a divorce coach, therapist, or consulting a divorce attorney. Getting professional help means becoming equipped with powerful tools to find success on the other side of a divorce.

4. Focus on Self-Care

When you’re going through a divorce during the holidays, it’s normal to feel drained. Make sure to get enough sleep each night and take some time each day to relax and recharge. If you can, take a nap or go to bed early.

Also, eat healthy, stay hydrated, and exercise. It can be tempting to binge when stressed, but eating healthy foods and staying hydrated will help you feel better physically and mentally. Plus, exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Even if you don’t feel like working out, just going for a walk or doing some basic stretches can make a big difference.

Practices like yoga and meditation can help you find balance and center yourself through tough times. Seek out podcasts and books that can help you resource helpful ideas and information.

5. Carve Out Some “Me” Time

Make sure to schedule some time each day or week to do what you want (and don’t feel guilty about missing holiday events).

Use this as an opportunity to get creative. Feel free to break free from “traditional” holiday events and activities. Perhaps you can plan a short trip with friends or spend the holidays picking up a new hobby that adds excitement to your life.

At the same time, embrace gratitude for what you do have. You don’t have to purposely avoid classic celebrations with friends and family if they bring you joy and comfort.

6. Choose Mediation Over Litigation

Compared to litigation, mediation is less taxing on your time, money, and energy. Instead of battling each other in court with expensive and often aggressive bulldog lawyers, you and your ex can talk through important issues with the help of a neutral mediator. This way, you work at your own time and pace, giving you the leeway to go through the holidays with the least stress.

Next Steps

Remember, divorce during the holidays can be difficult, but you can make it through with planning, self-care, and a positive mindset. Divorce can be a stepping stone into the new year, setting the table for you to attain new goals and a successful future.

Along the way, if you’re looking for experienced legal support, feel free to reach out to me. I specialize in providing compassionate, committed counsel to help achieve peace of mind during and after your divorce.

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