For many, Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving.
However, it can also be a stressful time, especially for kids of divorce.
Acknowledging this stress and how to deal with it is really important.
Your Christmas matters - you deserve to experience joy irrespective of your parents' divorce.
Let's break down the things you CAN control at Christmas time.
A Special Time
Christmas is a special time for many.
It’s a time to celebrate, a time to be grateful and a time to reflect on the big year of 2021.
Christmas is also an incredible opportunity to spend time with the people that mean the most to us (where possible).
A Stressful Time?
Personally, Christmas has always been a stressful time.
Some people find Christmas stressful simply because they have to buy a heap of presents or prepare a heap of food.
Kids of divorce may find it stressful because they are more concerned about a parent being lonely or the various places they have to go.
Not being with both parents on Christmas Day simultaneously can be tough.
The difficulty of not being able to be with loved ones should never be discounted.
Trust me, I get it -
In the past, on Christmas Day alone, my brother and I would visit six different places.
At times, it felt as though we were spending more time in the car then focusing on the present.
Leaving each parent on 'the most joyful day of the year' is never easy.
You are not alone.
So, What Can I Do To Help Alleviate Christmas Stress?
Whatever stresses you may experience on Christmas Day, there is no greater advice to give other than to be present.
Wherever you are, no matter the duration of time you are there, be present.
What Do You Mean By ‘Be Present?’
It means focus on the NOW - what you can control, what is in front of you.
For example, when you speak to someone on Christmas, listen to what they are saying, be active in the conversation.
If you're with your mum in the morning, focus on spending quality time with her rather than stressing about what your dad may be up to. Apply this again when you're with your dad in the afternoon.
Fuel your body with food and get a decent sleep Christmas Eve:
Low energy and lack of sleep = big difficulty managing your emotions.
Being present and focusing on the basics that you can control can make a hell of a difference to your stress levels.
There is nothing more disappointing then looking back and feeling like the day flew by because you did not allow yourself to take it all in.
Where possible, routine can be super valuable.
For example, each year I wake up at Mum’s on Christmas morning and fall asleep at Dad’s on Christmas night. This has been our routine ever since I can remember.
Having a set routine, whatever It may look like for you, can help create stability around the Christmas period.
Knowing what the general gist of where you are going, who you are seeing, and the order of your Christmas day can certainly ease some of the stress.
Parents - this is something you can really help with!
Whatever your circumstances, you can always turn to gratitude.
It can be very easy to fall into a slump and focus on the stresses and negatives.
However, these stresses are usually concerning things that are out of our control.
Rather, try telling your loved ones that you are grateful for them. Say thanks to those who care and love you. Celebrate all that you have achieved in the year that has just been.
You Are Not Alone
Christmas time is not always easy, believe me - I know!
Attempt to give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy the special time of the year.
Focus on what you can control, be present and have a think of what you're grateful for.
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