Center for Shared Insight, PC

Coping with Divorce and Break-Ups at the holidays

December 13, 2017
|
Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
Woman drinking coffee at holidays

Saying goodbye to a relationship or even a marriage is tough under any conditions. When these separations happen around the holidays, the grief can be particularly hard to manage. In my work as a Denver therapist, I help clients coping with loss of all kinds all throughout the year, but the loss of a significant relationship around the holidays is often the most challenging.

Below you’ll find ways to address the feelings you may experience during this time of year that is traditionally one filled with joy and togetherness.

Reframe the Loss

While it’s easy to feel the absence of your beloved, this holiday season is also a time to recognize the potential of your new life. Instead of focusing on the lack, work to focus on the possibilities before you, including finding more happiness and fulfillment in other relationships with friends and family, or on your own. Pay attention to the sense of freedom and expansion in your life in the absence of your previous partner. Tune into gratitude instead of absence. Reframing is a helpful tactic for putting things in perspective. Yes, you may be feeling a sense of emptiness without your previous partner in your life, but recognizing that you still have - good friends, a stable job, your health, and/or a place to call home helps put life in perspective.

Prioritize Self-Care and Self-Love

When you feel stressed and depressed around the holidays, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy distractions and look for ways to numb feelings. Common ways to cope might include overspending or overindulging in food and alcohol. Being aware of these tendencies and the triggers for them can also help you look for support and make the conscious choice to partake in an alternative activity. How could you channel the anxiety, sadness, or anger that might drive you to overindulge into healthier alternatives? Consider practices of self-care and self-love instead. Maybe that includes a day spent in nature with yourself, a restorative yoga class, journaling, an art project, or a session with a life coach or relationship therapist. Use your extra time off around the holidays to focus on who you’d like to become in the year that follows and choose activities that will help support that discovery.

Reinvent Traditions

It’s easy to fixate on a sense of lack when there is a void in your life around the holidays. And while it’s normal to feel that way, chances are that there were traditions or rituals in your previous relationship or marriage that were unfulfilling in your life. Take this opportunity to start new traditions that are truly satisfying and aligned with your personal values. For instance, if your ex enjoyed black Friday shopping and you often spent your day that way at his or her request, maybe it’s time to spend the day after Thanksgiving chopping down your own Christmas tree to ring in the holidays or hosting a friend’s Thanksgiving get-together. Perhaps it’s the perfect day for an annual volunteer opportunity. Tune into how and when you feel more fulfilled and alive and do more of that now that you have the freedom to reinvent.

When working through a divorce or break-up during the holidays, it’s common to feel that you are all alone or believe that you are the only person experiencing feelings of loss and grief during this time of holiday cheer. Know that you are not alone, and remember that hundreds of people in your community are most likely working through grief, loss, and sadness during the holidays too. Stay honest with your needs while evaluating whether spending time with others or by yourself will contribute to a greater sense of well-being during this time of year. Set healthy boundaries for yourself to ensure that you’ll start 2018 in a grounded, focused way, despite working to overcome loss during the holiday season.

Therapy can provide a safe place to feel the emotions related to the loss in your life and navigate the feelings associated with letting go and moving on. A third party can provide a neutral perspective and hold you accountable to healthy strategies to overcome any sense of grief or sadness that might arise for the months following a major life change. Friends can support to a certain level, but a professional can truly assist in the full healing process. Contact the team at Center for Shared Insight to learn more.

Related Blog Posts
March 23, 2020
Dating in the Age of Social Distancing
Dating-in-the-Age-of-Social-Distancing

We are navigating unknown waters with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every aspect of life. With social distancing being the “new normal” for the foreseeable future, you might wonder “what does that mean for dating”? Perhaps “online dating” will take on a whole new meaning as we create new rituals around courtship.  

But, dating doesn’t have to be completely on hold during this time, it just needs to morph and evolve into something new. Much like you’ve seen with workplaces moving to remote structure and schools considering online ...

March 10, 2020
Podcast: Attachment Theory with Kristen Hick
Podcast-Attachment-Theory-with-Kristen-Hick

Dr. Kristen Hick joined Dave Glaser from Believe Be Real Be Bold to record a Podcast about Attachment Theory. On the show, Dr. Hick reminds listeners that not intimately knowing oneself is what holds many individuals back in relationships. She dives into the types of attachment systems and the gravity and polarity those different ways of attaching impact relationships. Throughout this episode, both Dr. Hick and Dave share stories about their own dating and relationship challenges to illustrate how to identify and heal unresolved relationship experiences that ...

If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (720) 644-6698
View the ADA Accessibility Statement
This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal psychological or mental health advice or treatment nor the formation of a therapist-client relationship.
CSIP UPDATE - Now offering In-Person and Online Therapy sessions (to COLORADO residents) during Covid-19!
 
Our therapists are here to help you during this uncertain time. We know you and others are trying to do your part to social distance due to Covid-19, which is why we are happy to provide online therapy sessions through our secure video platform.

Beginning June 8th, we will now be offering a limited number of in-person sessions in our office for those who prefer that option. We are here to talk with you about how we can meet your therapy needs. 
 
Contact us today to learn more!