Yes, my friends it’s that time of year again, the holidays are upon us. The chill is in the air. And if you are fresh from divorce or even been divorced for some time, the holidays can bring up a lot of emotion. Thoughts about how it was and whether you and your kids and family will get into a new family routine and new traditions.
And the answer is a big affirmative. Yes, you can. You can have beautiful. Family holidays and memories moving forward. What if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could happen to you? I’m Doreen, Yaa, marital, and family, lawyer, and certified life coach. I’ve been coaching and consulting women for over 26.
I’ve seen it all. Now I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into your amazing divorce. So I wanna talk to you today about some tips on how to do that, and some thoughts that you might wanna consider. So let’s get started. So when I got divorced, it was a bit easier for us as my ex is Jewish and I’m Christian.
So that meant. That I could still have my Christmas Eve and my Christmas day holiday traditions as they were minus one. But the truth be told because of my relationship with Sam. I still invited him over from time to time to celebrate with us. I know that with you and your ex, that things may be more challenging and that’s understandable.
And the holidays, you know, starting with, let’s say Thanksgiving, they bring up a lot of raw emotions and that’s okay. So if you are dreading Thanksgiving, there are some things that you can do to make this time easier for you. And to keep a perspective that makes sense for your kids, but also, and most importantly for you and your health emotionally and physically.
So let’s talk first about the emotion of sadness. The first thing is to know that it’s okay to feel sad, the question that you need to ask yourself, however, and something that will really help you to start healing and moving forward is knowing the why. As to why you are being sad. What is causing the sadness?
Is it because you miss having family around even his, or is it because maybe you have some sadness surrounding how Thanksgiving has changed for your children or maybe it is because you won’t have your children this year for Thanksgiving. Knowing the why behind your sadness is important to start to heal the pain for this and years to come.
So dig deep on that question. You see the sad is a feeling that goes into what I’ve taught you before. Which is called the model circumstances, create thoughts that create feelings that create an action or inaction that create a result. This is called the model. And what we do is we learn. To exercise, these thought downloads.
So we can figure out where between the circumstance, the thought, the feeling, the action and the result. We might change things up a bit, look at things differently so that we can get the results that we want. In our life. So whatever feeling you are having about Thanksgiving or the upcoming holidays, I would ask that you work a thought download on it.
You can start with placing the feeling into the model. So. You might put sadness into the feeling part of it now work backwards. What is the thought that is causing the feeling of sadness? And then go backwards again to the circumstance. And remember that a circumstance is something that is factual, for example.
If you don’t have your kids this Thanksgiving, because that’s what your custody arrangement caused for. Then that’s a fact, and then go the other way through the model. So when you have your circumstance, for example, not having your kids, this Thanksgiving, you have a thought about it, and then you have a feeling of sadness.
Now I want you to go through the rest of the model. What is the action you are taking as a result of your feeling of sadness? And then what is your result? Just the other day, I was working with one of my clients on the why as to her sadness about the upcoming holidays. And it ended up that when we peeled away all the layers that she really was mostly sad about her thought about what she thought Thanksgiving should look like, stay with me on this one, the many pictures, movies, social media posts that she kept seeing.
that send us these messages of happy, intact families sitting around a large table with a Turkey and all the fixing, sharing, smiles and conversations. That’s what she was thinking. She was thinking that that’s what her Thanksgiving should look like. So when we worked on her model on this, her thought, download what she realized that her sadness wasn’t because she missed her ex at Thanksgiving, or even that she didn’t have her children, this Thanksgiving, it was instead her thought that she should have this perfect, intact.
Something that in reality she doesn’t have right now, it was good because with that, we were able to work through why she thought the way she did. And she realized it was all the messaging around her that she could then start to heal with knowing this and start working on her thoughts. You see, in her situation, she was mostly sad about the idea, the image that she was being fed on, how Thanksgiving should be.
But what if Thanksgiving is more about being with your new family, whatever that looks like for you and being thankful for what that looks like and what it is. I mean, if we know that close to half of the people out there get divorced, then there must be something said for all these less traditional, intact families and how they celebrate the holidays.
I want you to think about that and to make your holidays about what makes sense for you and your new family and your new life and your future, amazing life, the life that you want to create now, and in the future traditions is the next thing I wanted to talk to you about. You see, I want you to consider.
Making new traditions, you have traditions that you’ve typically made throughout your marriage. And now it’s time to create new ones. Why not? If in the past, for example, you always went to your ex’s family’s house for Thanksgiving. Then may I suggest that those days are a thing of the past and that you have a fresh, clean slate to make your own new, beautiful traditions.
Maybe you could realize that now you are free. To make a trip and travel to one of your relatives homes that you’ve always really wanted to do on Thanksgiving. You know, but if traveling is not practical or in the cards for you, there are other traditions that you can consider such as volunteering at your local soup kitchen, inviting your neighbors over, or that coworker who is also maybe a bit sad this year, or having your kids in you get up early and make everything for your Thanksgiving dinner from scratch.
Enjoying that meal, prep time together. My first year after my divorce, I decided that I was going to start a tradition of getting up early and going to the beach to watch the sunrise, do a little meditation and then volunteer at the local shelter you see giving thanks and giving back for me was a great new.
Thanksgiving tradition that I never really thought I had the time to do when I was preparing for a big family, get together. When I was married, you see, for me getting up and getting out of the house and volunteering was best and just what I needed to feel grateful and to feel like this was a great Thanksgiving that somehow I could give.
Focusing on the present and not the past and making it about you and what makes you happy is okay. And really my friend should be on the priority list for you. So to recap, number one, it’s okay. To feel sad. Just do your thought, download and understand why you are feeling sad. What is the thought that is causing.
Your sadness. And what can you do to start to shift that sadness to happiness? The second thing is traditions, starting new traditions, making a new future tradition that you can share and enjoy. The next thing is your friends and people that are close to you, the people that you trust, the people that you can talk to and maybe, and may suggest more likely than not.
It might just be one or two people that fit that role in your life, but keep those friends that you can talk to freely and you can express yourself. Nearby, you know, when you’re dealing with divorce and I always prefer that you be careful who you confide in. I guess that comes from my 27 years practicing as a family, lawyer and managing cases, but it’s okay to have someone close to you that you can trust to vent to.
It’s better to have that one trusted friend or confid. Hey, even if a therapist is the person that you go to, why Doreen? Why should I have this person? Well, because sometimes getting things off your chest can be very cleansing so that you can let it go and then go on to enjoy Thanksgiving and the holidays and do your best to be free from the bitterness that you’re feeling surrounding the holidays.
And. You see, being around your intact support system is reassuring to the reality that you are not alone. People do care and you will, my friend continue to heal. I care. And I know that there are others in your life that truly care about you. The next thing I wanna talk about is your child and the access schedule, visitation, schedule, custody, arrangement, whatever it’s called in your state.
You see most people that go through a divorce are required to have a visit. Or a parenting plan in place that outlines when the children are to be with mom and when they’re to be with dad. But I want you to consider something about that schedule. You want to consider being flexible, if you can, with the schedule for the sake of your kids.
And of course for yourself, In my divorce, our written agreement alternated the Thanksgiving holidays between me having the odd years and Sam having the even years. But keep in mind that a visitation schedule is a fall back schedule, meaning that it is, as I say, a fall back position. In my case, I decided to agree to let my girls spend the majority of the Thanksgiving with Sam and his family.
Why? Because they have a huge family, lots of cousins and children running around aunts and uncles, grandparents, where in my family, we’re a very small family, no real children around. We just don’t have a big family. So we and my family make a big deal out of Christmas. Where in Sam’s family, Thanksgiving is a huge event.
So it turned out being better for the girls. And also to be honest with you, easier for me to let Sam and the girls enjoy the Thanksgiving with his. And, you know, for me, it wasn’t that important to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving day in lieu of what his family was doing. So I said to the girls, listen, you go have a great time, enjoy yourself, bring me back some goodies.
Haha. And. When you get home, we will do a second go around to Thanksgiving. And if you’re not up for that, We can always go to dinner on Friday, we started to make a tradition, the girls and I, that we would just go and enjoy black Friday, do some shopping and then have a nice meal together. So that was a great way of handling it again.
The visitation schedule, being a fallback position that can be flexible depending on what is best for your family. The next thing I wanna talk about is FaceTime. We have all used FaceTime more over the past few years with the pandemic than we all care to even probably think about. We’ve learned how to stay connected, to see each other on computer screens and cell phone screens.
So if you are away from your kids or your family, why not invite them to a little FaceTime celebration? Maybe doing something like have each person list what they’re thankful for as we know how much our kids love that, or everybody bring a joke, a clean joke to share. It can still be a way of seeing each other if you don’t have the kids and they will enjoy it as well.
The next thing is rituals. Give yourself a Thanksgiving ritual just for you. You deserve a big, thank you. And it’s okay to thank yourself for what you do, where you are and for being you, you deserve it. So I encourage you to take no less. And hopefully more than 30 minutes to do something kind for yourself every day.
But I really wanna encourage you to take the time for yourself this Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving after for me, as I told you, I like to take some quiet time for myself to meditate in the morning and to write in my journal on Thanksgiving. I have made it a tradition for myself to write down all the things that I am thankful for.
It feels good. and it can immediately change your perspective and is a great way to start the day. You can make it serious things like you’re thankful for your health to silly things like, mm. I don’t know, run, not running into traffic yesterday on your way, home from work, make it, whatever it is. Just keep writing all the things that you are thankful.
So when I was getting ready for this podcast, of course I did some research and Oprah in her 2014 book. What I know for sure. She wrote being grateful all the time. Isn’t easy, but it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give. Perspective gratitude can transform any situation.
It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to affect change in your life. This I know for. When I read those words from Oprah, I thought of you. And I thought about Thanksgiving and giving back and being grateful for the things we do have for being here today, listening to this episode, to waking up this morning to all the beautiful things that we do have in our life.
So just as Oprah suggest. Looking at what you’re grateful for can really change your perspective and the way you feel physically. It does have a noted physical effect on you. You know, I get, and you know, that divorce is not easy. Taking little steps, add up and help. Having patience with yourself and looking forward to the days ahead, the new traditions and the memories you will and can make is what it takes.
It’s going to be a good Thanksgiving for you, whatever. That may look like a big family. Get together, small gathering with a few friends, hanging out with your fur babies and pampering yourself. Be thankful for the things you do have and breathe. Remember that you will get to a better place and yes, you can have and will have an amazing life for me.
I wanna thank you for listening to me for inspiring me to be the best version that I can and bring an absolute smile. As you always do to my face and my heart every day. I cherish this time with you. I wish you all the best and am sending you many hugs and good wishes for a beautiful and blessed.
Thanksgiving and until next time, have an amazing rest of the day. And remember, yes, you can buy everybody. Thanks so much for listening for tips, updates, and expert advice. Be sure to visit your amazing divorce.com. And remember my friends. Yes, you can have an amazing life after. See you there views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by YFA family law group or your divorce law center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.
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