Being surrounded by holiday cheer and high spirits can make things that much more difficult for people suffering through marital problems, even divorce, during the holidays. Such couples would benefit from any kind of support, but that can prove to be quite elusive at this time of year.
For one thing, the desire to spare others from the trauma they themselves are undergoing adds pressure to an already stressful experience for troubled couples. Indeed, they may decide to shoulder the burden all alone for weeks, rationalizing that sharing their pain with children, friends, or relatives would be selfish during the holiday season.
But there is no honor, no benefit at all in this kind of unnecessary suffering.
Readers faced with their own prospects of divorce in 2014, and willing to invest some effort in keeping on track, can look to the suggestions below for direction. Even the smallest of steps in matters like this can alleviate some of the stress.
- Limit the gift budget to avoid creating debt, or spending savings.
- Assemble records of all financial assets for the discovery process.
- Go over all bank and investment records. Take note of any sizable withdrawals, and act to prevent the depletion of any accounts by a spouse.
- Get a camera and take pictures of everything in the house — everything in the closets, drawers, the garage, as well as any storage units and the safe deposit box. Date each image.
- Carefully document valuable collections. Store photos of these in a secure place, possibly online. If anything disappears during the divorce process, an accurate record of the items will be critical.
- Rebuild relationships with old friends and anyone else you have lost contact with. Strong social connections can relieve stress throughout the process.
- Think about hiring a certified divorce financial analyst for guidance concerning the typically complicated financial aspect of divorce. An analyst provides the expertise to help list assets and debts, answer financial and tax questions, locate hidden assets or debts, deal with settlement arrangements, and develop a post-divorce budget.
- Take care of yourself. Indulge in a massage or a pedicure/manicure. Take walks. Do yoga. Meditate. Take control of your diet and alcohol consumption. Good health will contribute to making better decisions in the weeks and months ahead.
- Each day, take note of something to be grateful for, and why (posting this in your computer makes it easier to update daily). This exercise can help maintain perspective and inspire a more upbeat attitude.
If even these initial steps are too much for you, put the divorce out of your mind during the holidays. Do keep in mind, however, that it is still there and will require your complete attention soon. Follow through on your holiday traditions, but take care of yourself and begin to get ready for the near future. You want to be able to launch yourself into the coming new year as a healthy, well-adjusted single.