2009-12-11 / Community

Divorced: Secrets Of Surviving The Holidays

For those people who are facing this holiday season for the first time as a newly divorced person, a black cloud may loom. It is a highly difficult time but the key to surviving the holidays is to plan ahead, says Divorce Recovery Life Coach, Shelley Stile.

Stile suggests these highly effective plans you can make to ensure this holiday season is easier and more enjoyable:

• Emotions can attack at any time; prepare beforehand. Know that you will have major bouts of sadness, anger... whatever. Go easy and give yourself as much nurturing as you can muster.

• Get in touch with all the things that you know lift your mood and stay away from anything that upsets or makes you sad. If trimming the tree with old ornaments makes you sad...don't. Go out and get new ones or sit with the kids and make them yourselves.

• Do the things that make you feel better. If you had no obligations what activities would you engage in? Would you go to the theater? Spend the day at the museum? Get a massage and facial? Go hiking? Do it.

• Watch your expectations. The world paints an unrealistic picture of the holidays. So do we. Unrealistic and un - achievable expectations set us up for disappointment and resentment.

• Set boundaries - Explain exactly to your family and friends what you are capable of doing this year, and what you aren't. Don't let others guilt you into taking on more than you can handle. Learn to say no.

• Do not isolate yourself. If you are sharing the kids, ensure that you have somewhere to go on the day that the kids are with your ex. "I have in the past invited myself to a good friend's home and they welcomed me with open arms", says Shelley. Remember, everyone is busy during this season and sometimes they just need a friendly reminder.

• Seek Support- Look into a divorce support group in your area. Have the phone number of your counselor, clergyperson, life coach or close friend or hotline already taped to your phone. Make the commitment to call someone if negative thoughts get fierce. No one said you had to go it alone.

• Stile advises to engage in the stress and depression busters: exercise, yoga and meditation. These are scientifically proven methods of combating the negative effects of stress.

• Practice gratitude. Stile advises, "Think of the things in your life that are good and right: health, shelter, children, family, friends, a job, safety, new beginnings and the beauty that surrounds us. Studies on keeping a gratitude journal show huge positive effects on a number of levels."

• Volunteer: There is nothing like giving back to make you feel better and to show you that there are always those who are so less fortunate than we are. Head for a shelter, a soup kitchen, a hospital…whatever.

These tips can guide you successfully through the holidays and more.

"These holiday survival instructions are also applicable for the entire year." Shelley has also compiled a list of 95 ways to recover emotionally from di - vorce in her latest book.

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