How To Manage Thanksgiving/Holiday Stress After Divorce

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Feelings of stress and heartache seem to be on steroids during the holidays. Not only do we have to deal with overspending and logistical nightmares, but we’re also going through an emotional roller coaster dealing with separation or divorce that we do not want to wish even on our worst enemies. 

This magical time of the year is bound to have some challenges for you and your kids. But I’m here to tell you that there are some things that you can do to help everybody get through it and possibly experience a lot of joy.

Top points you’ll discover:

✔️ Tip 1: Make new traditions. If you always spend Thanksgiving with your spouse’s family, get them to go to yours this year. Or perhaps you create a Thanksgiving tradition at your own home. You might also want to consider volunteering or possibly inviting friends over or asking if you can attend dinner with your friends. When you guys deal with divorce, we tend to dwell on the past and how things used to be. So if you’ve always wished that you had more connection or relaxation over the holidays,  take a second to think about how you can get them mapped out and take steps to achieve them. 

✔️  Tip 2: Model being grateful. Thanksgiving is a holiday about being grateful, and I understand it may feel impossible, especially if you’re still in a place where you feel sad, angry, hurt or lonely. You don’t need to fake your feelings; I’m encouraging you to identify things you are grateful for in your life. Perhaps it is your close relationship with your kids, an amazing, supportive community. Or maybe it is your family. When we highlight what we are grateful for, you model what positive coping looks like for your kids. 

✔️  Tip 3: Acknowledge what your kids are feeling even if they don’t share yours. They might feel sad or angry. Instead of trying to spin things positively, recognize that they think it’s not easy. Your kids get to know that you hear them, and they get to feel understood. 

✔️  Tip 4: Take care of yourself. I invite you to plan for how you want to spend your alone time. There isn’t a right or wrong way to spend the holiday; it’s about what feels most enjoyable and meaningful for you! Be sure to reach out to family or friends and stay connected. Please don’t become a hermit and don’t retreat, which is what we tend to do.

Connect with Wendy Sterling:


Instagram: @divorcerehabwithwendy

Twitter: @thedivorcerehab

Facebook: @wendytsterling 


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