Christmas and this run up period is meant to be one of the most joyful times of the year. However, if you’ve recently journeyed through divorce, the festive period can be one of the most emotionally challenging times to handle.
If you’ve split from the mother/father of your children and you’ll be alternating Christmas’ yearly from now on—having your children every other Christmas going forward—it may be hard to imagine how you’re ever going to survive Christmas day without them. A time in which we’re meant to be enjoying our family can be crushing if you know you’re not going to have your little ones around you.
Depression can easily set in as we watch the days tick by, the world counting down to Christmas, whilst we feel all we’re doing is counting down to an emotional bomb going off in our inner world. Christmas without your children, doesn’t sound like Christmas at all. You may feel that this year you just want to cancel Christmas and run to the hills to escape the empty feeling that you harbour inside—but as there is nowhere you can go to escape your own mind, any options you do have can feel incredibly lacklustre.
So, what can we do to help battle through the emotional rollercoaster that you imagine is coming your way?
Firstly, let’s remember that everything happens for a reason. Neither separation nor divorce happens overnight where children are involved, and it’s taken a lot of courage and strength to get to the point where you’re at now. Don’t forget that strength just because you’re seeing Christmas on the horizon.
Yes, the idea of spending Christmas without your children is hard to process. And yes, the thought of packing your children off to your ex for Christmas Eve can be heartbreaking. However, through the experience of divorce, we learn that there is no knight in shining armour waiting to come in and rescue us from our situation. There is only you who can be your saviour and only you who can lift yourself out of your turmoil. Even if you have a new partner, you know that they can’t truly soothe your pain, only you alone can work to heal it.
Your mindset is your responsibility and no one else’s. If you’re alternating Christmas’ with your children, and it’s not your turn with them this year, there is nothing unfair about this— it’s just your inner hurts and whirlwind of emotions that you need to find a way to calm.
So, let’s consider: are your children the only things in your life that can bring you joy? Without their company, are you reduced to nothingness? Were you worthless before you had them? No. You are you, beautiful in your own being, worthy of happiness and love. You have the right to find joy in any circumstance. And ultimately, if we start putting our dependence for happiness on our children, we’re putting our own mental health at risk and a huge burden upon little shoulders.
After their parents separate, children grow up knowing that their time will be split between Mum and Dad. And, as their nurturing parent, it’s essential that we find a way to get a grip on our own emotions so that we can support them in their lives, without draining ourselves with a mindset which focuses on inner pain.
You’ve been through a rough time, no doubt. But when will that rough time draw to a close? When is life going to stop being a battlefield to endure? If you’re told to meditate your way through it and ‘find yourself’, you might find yourself internally scoffing in defensiveness—not even meditation can save you now; your sadness is too dominating…Yet, there’s no escaping this. There is only acceptance and a loving change of perspective that can set you free from the emotional prison that you’re feeling trapped within.
So, let’s be kind to ourselves as priority number one, by introducing some positive affirmations to balance out the negative mental chatter. Instead of permitting yourself to wallow in dread of Christmas day, tell yourself, “I will find a way to enjoy Christmas. This is all happening because it needs to happen. I accept my situation and I will be OK. I will find a way to feel positive again.”
You may be without your children this Christmas, but are there other people in your life who you love who you could enjoy spending Christmas Day with—maybe parents, siblings, or friends whose company you’d appreciate? If you think, “No, I don’t want to be with anyone, I’d really just rather be alone this Christmas,” then that’s a choice that you’re making, for YOU. And, if you decide, I’m going to eat pizza for Christmas dinner and watch Netflix in my pyjamas all day, then allow yourself the right to that decision if you think that’s what will make you feel most comfortable. Do it for yourself, because that’s what you WANT to do.
Consider changing the date of Christmas for you and your children this year, so that you’ll have the experience of Christmas with your babies on a different day when the children will be in your care. This way the children have two Christmases, one with you and one with your ex—and Santa being magical is perfectly capable of making two deliveries to support you in your change of circumstances. Then, when December 25th arrives, you know that it’s fine, and that you’ve got your own date with your children to enjoy. You’re not missing out on anything, it’s just a date change that you’re dealing with—and you’re strong enough to deal with a change of date being made once every other year, surely you’ve already come through worse than that and survived?
Know that once you’ve got through this with composure, the new year awaits you, offering you a whole new fresh chapter. This is a transition phase that you’re going through, and with each year that passes, you’ll adjust to your new way of life. And, although you may not be feeling particularly happy right now, a new path is carving its way out in front of you.
Christmas is a time for Love, so find a way to show that Love to yourself by allowing yourself to be positive without your children present. Do meditate on Love to raise your spirits because that is a way that we can breakthrough our egoic storms and healthily strengthen our core being. And, remember, feeling gratitude for the positive things you have in your life is a good way to bring balance to any negative thoughts that may come up. One of the best ways we can build our energy is by giving our love and support to others. When we encourage others with love, this experience lifts us first as it flows out to the other person. And, by giving our love unconditionally to those around us, we make positive deposits in our Karma bank, which sets us up well for the new year that approaches.
Knowing peace of mind and residing in a calm state through spiritual connection are real experiences that we can reach. You are strong. And, even if there are times when you feel like you’re falling apart inside, remember all the times you’ve pieced yourself and your sanity back together in the past. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve come through—you’re still standing, and you can keep standing with grace and dignity. Even if you wobble from time to time as the weeks go by, there’s no shame in that. You’re human and sometimes we all wobble.
If you really are going to be completely alone this Christmas and don’t know how to begin to have a nice time by yourself, why not make yourself your favourite food and devote some time to your favourite hobbies. If the weather’s nice, try to get outside for a walk or bike ride, look at the beauty of winter that surrounds you, and take energy from the atmosphere to lift you up. Do something creative, play your favourite music, take a soak in the tub, or watch your favourite films. You’ve most likely got the day off work, so, if enjoying the day is too much to ask, at least try to use the time to recharge your batteries with some self-care, rather than draining yourself with sadness and negative self-talk.
Next year, it should be your turn to have the kids at Christmas, and as the months go by so quickly once you’re a parent, you know that next year will be arriving before you know it. So keep calm, keep strong, and keep going. You’ve got this.
You can read more from the author, Joanne-Louise Hardy, on celestinevision.com and follow her on Facebook or Instagram #JoanneLouiseHardyAuthor for updates on the upcoming release of her exceptional debut novel, ANA.