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Surviving the first holiday season after a divorce

Most people dread the first holiday season after their divorce for a variety of reasons. The longer you were married, the more accustomed you've probably become to celebrating holidays as part of a couple.

Here are some tips that can help you cut through the doubt that surrounds you and make your holidays a little brighter:

Don't stay home alone

It's important to seek out emotional support at this time of the year. If you have children, it's particularly important to find someplace to be where other people can lend you their support and help you keep your mind occupied on the days that your ex-spouse has the kids.

If you have a family member or friend that you haven't seen in a while, see if you can schedule a visit. If all else fails, involve yourself in a community activity that will keep you focused on something other than your change in circumstances.

Use the New Year to plan a new you

This is a great time to focus on the new beginning that your divorce is offering. Take time to think about your goals for the future and map out a rough schedule for those goals.

While you're at it, start working on new holiday traditions to replace the old one that you can no longer do. For example, you may not be able to open a present on Christmas Eve with your kids every year because of the visitation schedule, but there's nothing stopping you from having a special holiday breakfast together on the first day the kids are back with you. Don't reminisce about years gone by -- this is the time to start building new memories!

Remind yourself that things will get easier

There are plenty of single people who have great holidays year after year. It may just take you a while to figure out what you want to do with your holidays now that you're on your own.

Ultimately, it's important to keep reminding yourself that divorce is a catalyst for change. While change can be uncomfortable, it's the first step toward a better future.

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Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC
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