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By Dana Schutz Keane, MA LMFT and Irving H. Zaroff, JD LMFT
Holidays will never be any good any more
It might be that way for kids facing their first post-divorce holidays. Feelings of anxiety, sadness, and loneliness are common and it might feel a bit better to know you are not alone.
You might consider new rituals with your family and create a different, but separate experience as you adjust to the divorce. For instance, Thanksgiving is a time when the needs of others are often at the forefront. If it's your first Thanksgiving "without your children,” you might consider looking around for opportunities to focus on “giving what you feel you need." One new post-divorcee shared that during a difficult time of strife in her life. Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, a friend advised, "You know what you need to do... You need to volunteer and 'give what you nee'’." Well, as crazy as she thought this was in that moment, she considered the point and started volunteering for an organization that was very young in the making. Every year when she sees the event (which has grown into a major Santa Clarita Valley event), she feels a sense of reward and gratitude for being a part of an amazing foundation. Something about giving what you need brings about receiving an intrinsic gift.
The Holidays are a time for reflection of joy, love, peace, and forgiveness. When you look past the hustle and bustle of what is going on, moments of reflection can also facilitate getting in touch with that inner part of ourselves that may be inspired to take a few steps in healing and moving forward in the divorce process. Santa Clarita (and other cities) offer families many opportunities to celebrate the holiday spirit. If you are ready, take a look at some of the local Santa Clarita resources and find something new and creative to do with your family. Visit the City of Santa Clarita website and look for e-services. There are many opportunities to volunteer and "give what you need."
As the year-end holidays approach, consider creating new options. As Khalil Gibran spoke of the trees in an orchard, "They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish."
For your convenience, we have opened our new office in Ventura, California, making the Center For Cooperative Divorce easily available to anyone located in or around Ventura County, the Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley and the surrounding areas of Los Angeles County.