I’ve always loved the family times of the holidays. Now the family is split and I have all this separation and divorce stuff. It’s just so stressful.
Packed with sentiment and traditions, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays add a twist to dealing with separation and divorce. Traditions change. Family relationships change. If you have children, you worry about them. Nothing is the same anymore.
Yet with a little effort and focus you can survive the holidays and even find increased peace and contentment.
Below are five Rs for a refreshing holiday season, even if separation and divorce are your reality…
- Relax – Go with the flow rather than stressing with anticipation about the holidays. Choose not to let your ex get your frustrations up no matter how he or she acts. Allow new traditions to emerge over time rather than feeling like you need to force them. Unplug from electronic devices for a while. Block out time to play with your kids, read, talk with a friend, or go for a peaceful walk.
- Restructure – Reduce complications in your life. Keep gift giving within budget to keep from complicating your finances. Accept that many old holiday traditions may need to go by the wayside. If you’ve always had Christmas dinner with your ex’s family, go ahead and make other plans that you can find enjoyable.
- Replenish – Carve out time for renewal. Finding time to replenish is not always easy, especially in a society where time is of the essence and productivity is highly prized. Be still. Close your eyes and listen to a crackling fire in the fireplace or the laughter of children. Meditate or pray. Study God’s word. Sit in a quiet place and feel God’s presence with you.
- Release – Open yourself to getting out emotions. Being busy all the time is one technique people use to hide from themselves. Find an appropriate place to cry if you need to cry. Privately beat up your pillow, shout, run or otherwise get out anger in a healthy way. Laugh out loud if you want. Venting all of the emotions you feel in a harmless way helps you to clear them out of your being. Say no to worry.
- Recreate – Celebrate life. Keep your mind on the true reasons for the holidays. Concentrate on being thankful during Thanksgiving. At Christmas focus on the amazing truth that God sent his only son to earth for us. Focus and feel the peace and love of the season and the healing power of the Holy Spirit. Sit quietly and let the power of the Holy Spirit wash over you.
Now Go for It!
Even if your circumstances are frustrating, focus on being thankful this Thanksgiving. God offers you a future and a hope. This Christmas do more than put an elf on the shelf. Follow the five Rs and put stress on the shelf as well. You’ll be glad you did.
Christian Thought for Today
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:9-11 NLT
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Next Friday I’ll post more on coping with the holidays.