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How to Handle Divorce During Holidays

Image of a mother comforting her daughter at Christmas time

Brrrr…. separating during this already cold and dark season makes for an extra gloomy winter affair.

Not only are you trying to manage the winter blues, but now you’re also dealing with a whole new set of issues! And let’s face it – as much as you’d want to challenge your soon to be ex to a not so friendly snow-ball fight, you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can to keep up a good front for the kids, family and friends.

Mixing all of these ingredients together – is pretty much creating a recipe for disaster. It can quickly become a slippery slope into depression or unhealthy routines such as over-eating, over-drinking or self-medicating. Anxiety is going through the roof so much so that you sometimes find yourself sleeping too much or barely enough, withdrawing from or clinging to your friends and definitely putting yourself down for not trying “hard enough” to keep the family together. And, when you pull into your driveway, you just sit there with the engine on, a blank stare and a heavy heart…summoning the courage to enter your own home. Whether you’re admitting or not, all of these are clear signs that things need to change. And it starts with you!

I am not advocating for divorce. If you are able to positively resolve your marital issues, that is fantastic and you should definitely do it! But if it’s eating at you every single day and slowly strips you off of your identity, you will need to consider other paths to contentment.

You deserve to feel comfort, love and respect and so do your children.

So, before attempting to push your soon to be ex off the chairlift, consider the following strategies.

Don’t beat yourself up! You are dealing with as much as you can in the best way that you can.

Give yourself permission to feel angry, sad and confused! You’ve invested a lot in this relationship and now you feel helpless watching it crumble. Arranging for a friends’ night out or in, meet-up or a couple of days out of the home can help with the healing process.

Give yourself time! It takes time to re-arrange the pieces, to regain trust and to create new hope. Every single step forward counts. The healing process has already begun.

Buy a new pen and start writing a new chapter for yourself! Write with intention, compassion and gratitude! Work on a new story that looks at the past for lessons, and not hurt, and that looks at the future for hope, and not fear.

Listen to your gut – it’s there to alert and protect you! Most of our troubles arise from suppressing this innate messaging system.

Remember that kids are resilient! All research has been consistently showing that it is not divorce that harms kids – it is the conflict between parents.

Get your ducks in order before moving out of the home! Gather information about your options to separate as amicably as possible (mediation is one of them!) and then make an informed move.

Take time for yourself! If you are thinking that this is not the best time to focus on your needs, you are wrong! I tell this to parents all the time: put your mask on first and then secure it for others! So, it’s time you start investing in yourself again – go for a massage, meditate or escape on a beach if you can. Reconnecting with yourself is a necessary and wonderful inner journey.

As much as it sucks to be in this position, look at it this way: 50% of married couples stay together and the other 50% get a second chance! And this is rare…and this is to be celebrated! So, this holiday season, start celebrating yourself!

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We understand that you might have a ton of questions during this tough time. Don't worry, we've got your back! Feel free to reach out to us by phone at (647) 284-9148 or shoot us an email at

Blog posts and podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

About the Author

Laura Tarcea

Laura is a family mediator dedicated to supporting families through divorce or separation. With a background in Mental Health, Research, Program Development, and a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, Laura brings valuable insight and critical knowledge to parents. She strongly believes that a healthy co-parenting relationship will protect children from short-term and long-term damage. As such, Laura is a supporter of out-of-court processes to help equip parents with appropriate tools to succeed in their next chapter.

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