Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Handling your Holiday Stress Triggers

Here we sit in the middle of the holiday season. The actual holidays are starting to fire for some while others the planning continues. Our state is still recovering from the hurricane so many are struggling with the daily life and just giving their children a happy holiday while others are trying to fit in a few minutes to volunteer or a few extra dollars to give. Clients are visiting my office with issues of child custody and where their children are going to spend time over the next few weeks. Many of you are going through your first post-divorce holiday. There seems to be a overwhelming feeling of busy and stress in the air.

I have helped many clients through this difficult time of year and know that you will be ok. Here are some ideas to get you through this rough time.

Stay within your budget:
Gift giving for your children is not a competition with your ex-spouse or any of your family members. Make a commitment to give within your means. It will be less stressful for you now and, more importantly in January as you won’t have to face a stack of bills.

Establish new Traditions:
This is a time of acceptance as you move into your post-divorce life. While your day-to-day has changed immensely, so have some of your annual events. Make sure to mark your new life with different traditions both involving your children and also just for yourself. Take a trip to NYC to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and visit the windows on 5th Avenue. Bake cookies or decorate gingerbread houses. Go out for a special meal or exchange presents at a different time than in the past.

Do not look back:
It is very tempting to spend time looking back and wallowing a bit in what went wrong with your marriage. You may receive holiday cards from friends and families with in-tact families and wonder how that is not longer you. You may also be missing your ex-spouse. Experiencing this range of thoughts and emotions is not only normal, but expected. While hard, when those thoughts arise, practice pushing them away. Look forward and practice mapping out your perfect future. If you need help getting through this time, you might want to consider enlisting the help of a mental health professional.

Plan…plan…and then plan some more: I leave this for last because it so essential. I have this great saying I always use “plan your work, work your plan.” The three major issues above can be planned for well before you need to deal with them in crisis mode. And it is never too late to start planning. Get a realistic understanding of your financial picture and shop within your budget. Start researching and planning time for new traditions with your children. Work on yourself by making sure you have support around you and acknowledge that the holidays may be a tough time to get through this year.

Of course, as we approach 2013 you may need legal support to work out support payments and even child custody arrangements with your co-parent / ex-spouse. Hire an expert New Jersey divorce attorney to put the necessary legal supports.