Last year at this time, I shared strategies for Letting go of the Holiday ‘as it always was’ by creating new traditions in your family and releasing your expectations that this holiday season will be exactly the way it always was before divorce.
Yet here we are one year later and, new traditions notwithstanding, I still find myself dreading a season I used to adore.
As a divorce coach, I know things aren’t going to change unless I choose to think differently and take action steps. Okay, coach, what can I do to change this pattern?
Below, I share the questions I’ve asked myself to help me get to the root of my anxieties and enable me to enjoy the holidays again. I hope they’ll help you, too.
In a perfect world, how do I envision the holidays? Closing my eyes, what do I see, feel, hear, and taste?
I’m considering decorations, food, music, people.
How realistic are these expectations?
Which elements are within my control? Which realities might I find disappointing?
What are three manageable actions I can take to help realize my vision?
Plan decorations for the house.
Plan the food I want to serve.
Decide on a movie for the evening’s entertainment.
What are some resources available to me that will support these steps?
My daughter, who will love my new attitude and will jump right in to help.
My grandmother’s recipe box of favorites.
Friends and family – even if they’re far away.
Am I willing to accept it may take a number of years to achieve my vision?
Yes, my life is a work in progress. I must remember not to expect perfection.
How can I control my present unhappy thoughts and perceptions of the holidays?
Identify any negative thoughts and immediately replace with something positive.
Don’t make it about who isn’t there.
What can I physically do to symbolize letting go of negative thoughts?
I’m going to write down all my anxieties and put them in the fire.
What can I do to remain hopeful and not feel defeated?
I’ll remind myself:
“You are working toward regaining joy. Stay positive and realistic.”
“Even though the holidays will be different than they were in the past, this season will be as good as I can make it.” and…
“You can do this!”
Change is always uncomfortable, especially when we resist it. But there’s no need to operate under the assumption that different is bad. We have to be willing to make changes in ourselves so we can move closer to a positive new reality.
We can do this!