It is the Christmas season, and as a divorced dad, you’re forced to recognize the possibility that you might spend the holiday without your children. This can be a devastating emotional blow during what is supposed to be a happy and momentous time of the year. Missing the precious moments with your children can be awful, and if there still are residual feelings, missing an ex-spouse can be just as emotionally taxing.
During this reflective period of time, it’s important to remember there are still people that care and things that you can do to improve yourself and your emotional well-being during the Christmas season without dwelling on missing out on Christmas with your children. Here is a list of six of them!
- Visiting family and friends: The data and research proving that visiting family and friends is beneficial to one’s health is everywhere. Research at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research suggests that social capital boosts one’s health and overall happiness, and during a time in which one’s emotionally struggling as one spending the holidays without their children, it is understand able to find an emotional haven in the relationships you have.
- Treat yourself: Like Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle would suggest on the TV show, “Parks and Recreation,” it’s important to treat yourself at times, in order to boost your own self-worth. According to Psychology Today, rewarding yourself better and with more kindness promotes key components of self-compassion. In a time of great vulnerability and need, allotting yourself small comforts could greatly benefit your mental and emotional health. So, go out to dinner. Order a drink. Grab some ice cream. Enjoy your self-rewarding moment, so you can come back from the experience refreshed and ready to devote your time to your kids during your next visit.
- Working: The idea of diving into one’s work does not exactly appeal to everyone, but it can be a great distraction to take you away from emotional anguish. Work has a way of meeting basic psychological needs. The distraction will allow you to regain some semblance of focus and autonomy over your own mental wellness. It also gives you the opportunity to help someone who might otherwise be forced to miss out on a holiday with their family. This generous act will reward you through the kindness you’ve shown to others.
- Volunteer: Speaking of generosity and kindness, find a volunteering opportunity and do some good for a cause that you’re passionate about in your own community. According to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, there are several health benefits to volunteering, including having a lower mortality rate, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life. In addition to your personal benefits, you receive the satisfaction of incorporating service into the lives of others and making a difference in your community and country. The needed distraction will help your case, while you help others and help your own self-worth all at the same time.
- Enjoy your hobbies: With children in the mix, the opportunity to enjoy one’s hobbies does not come around very often, so make sure to enjoy them while you can. Research has shown that people who have hobbies are generally healthier and have a lower risk of depression and dementia. It also helps them keep their blood pressure down, enables them to manage their anger and daily frustrations and puts them in a better frame of mind, positively impacting their quality of life. Even if you don’t currently have a hobby, it’s always beneficial to explore something new, or perhaps something old, if you used to have a particular hobby.
- Working out: The health benefits of exercising are well-documented. According to the Mayo Clinic, working out controls weight, combats health conditions and disease, improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, and promotes being social and having fun. In a time of stress, anxiety, and emotional anguish, physical improvement through exercise can add a self-esteem boost and create an outlet to channel all of your negative feelings during the holiday season.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, observing the season with custody of your children can eat away at you, but hopefully, through these activities, you can find yourself refreshed and ready to refocus your attention on gaining custody of your children heading into the new year.