Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday spirit by allowing family and friends to gather and engage in gratitude. However, if you are dealing with divorce, the holiday spirit may not feel the same this year. While the current COVID-19 pandemic will likely interrupt classic traditions and large gatherings this year, enduring Thanksgiving as a divorcee can also put a halt to familiar customs. Here are a few tips to navigate the holiday if you are an empty nester and recently divorced:
Gather with friends Considering many families likely will not be able to gather as usual this year, do not be afraid to reach out to friends or colleagues to inquire about spending Thanksgiving with them. If your children will not be with you and you do not have the option to be with a significant other, you can host your own Thanksgiving with friends or request to join others at their table.
Be flexible Figuring out which parent children will spend Thanksgiving with may lead to high emotions. The best-case scenario for your children is for you and your ex to be as civil and flexible with each other when it comes to holiday scheduling. If it is arranged that your children will spend the day with your ex, consider planning an additional Thanksgiving with your children on a separate day.
Do something for yourself Consider spending Thanksgiving doing something for yourself if you intend to spend the holiday alone. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may have to get creative with activities. While travelling for a mini-vacation may not be the best option this year, you can cozy up at home, decorate for Christmas or Hanukkah, practice yoga, organize your living space, and watch your favorite holiday movie to kick off the season. Facetime with your parents, siblings, or good friends during your day. End your holiday journaling or reflecting on what you are thankful for.
Remember, Thanksgiving is just one day. Moving forward, every year will likely be different and unpredictable, so take the time to settle into and embrace change during this critical time of year. Though things might be different, your children, family and friends still love you. Take the day to express gratitude in ways that are available to you.