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First Christmas divorced, how to make it a happy one.

8 Tips to help you enjoy the festivities

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Making new traditions at Christmas
Making new traditions at Christmas

Sarah Woodward is an award-winning breakup and divorce coach for women, helping them to rediscover themselves as individuals and rise up after the turmoil of their breakup so that they can move on with their lives and embrace their future, in a way that excites them. It is her mission to empower women to believe that even though that future may be different, it can still be amazing, and she helps her clients move on with their lives, let go of the past, and find the happiness again that they deserve, because she was that person broken by divorce wasting years devastated, in therapy, with chronic depression, grieving and truly lost. Brought up as a Catholic and having met her husband at University when she was 19, she believed in the fairytale of marriage and her world was shattered when this came crashing down around her.

Having found a passion that really helped her find herself again she beat chronic depression and fell in love with life again and using her corporate skills from senior roles in global brands such as Sony, she tapped into her change management and relationship management skills, to help her learn to embrace the change in her life and to start to build new relationships.

When a friend divorced several years ago, Sarah realised that there was still very little support for women going through this traumatic life changing event, and that she could use her training and experience to help them move on with their lives and leave behind the heartbreak to find happiness again.

One of the first Accredited Breakup and Divorce Coach Practitioners in the UK and having been awarded the Most Influential Woman in Divorce Coaching by the Influential Businesswomen Awards in 2020, Sarah is a well respected expert in her industry.

The first Christmas after my marriage ended, I remember being in a card shop and just standing there in tears staring at the Husband cards, knowing that I wouldn’t be buying one that year. I couldn’t comprehend spending Christmas without my husband.

The thought of Christmas after your breakup, makes the heartbreak and loss feel even more unbearable, if that’s possible. It seems like everyone around you is happy and full of Christmas cheer, whilst all you want to do, is curl up on the sofa with your box of tissues. Know that how you’re feeling is totally normal and it’s ok to be upset and emotional.

Here are some tips to help make your first Christmas after your divorce a happy one;

  1. Start new traditions – It took me a long time to realise that I was still doing the same things as before – just without my husband. All this does is emphasise the gaping hole in your life. Instead, look at this year as an opportunity to start some new traditions and get rid of the ones that you never enjoyed.
  1. Make a plan – Make sure you have a plan for how you will spend the Christmas period rather than leaving it to chance. This doesn’t mean you have to cram it with loads of activities – but have a good balance of spending time with loved ones and time to yourself. Be selfish and spend the time exactly how you want to.
  1. Treat yourself – Buy yourself your own Christmas present. Show yourself that you’re special and worth it. Treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on for a while or something that your ex would never have bought you!
  1. Volunteer – Although it may not feel like it – there are a lot of people worse off than you at this time of year. Think about volunteering for a charity that’s close to your heart. It’s a great distraction. As well as doing some good for other people, the act of kindness makes you feel better about yourself and activates your ‘happy hormones’.
  1. Take a break from social media – The last thing you need is to be seeing everyone else’s idyllic Christmas posts in your feed. Remember most of what you see on social media isn’t real – it’s how people want to portray themselves. Instead follow some inspirational, positive accounts or better still have a complete break.
  1. Gratitude – When we acknowledge what we’re grateful for – we immediately tap into a more positive mindset and start to notice more positive things around us – rather than focussing on lack. Write a list of everything you’re grateful for, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.
  1. Learn to say No – don’t say yes to things just because you feel obliged to. It’s difficult enough at this time of year, so learn to say No to things you don’t want to do, and be ok with that. If you don’t want to send cards or do presents – that’s fine. Don’t put yourself under added pressure.
  1. Make time for you – It’s difficult to make time for self-care at the best of times, let alone over Christmas which can be really hectic. Try and carve out some time that’s just for you and do something you love – whether that’s reading a book, taking a soak in the bath or going for a walk, in nature

Even though it’s likely this will be a difficult time of year for you – remember that it will pass, and you will find happiness again. Use some of the time to reflect on what you want your life to look like this time next year. Think about what you could do now to start moving closer to that. Reach out to your friends and family for support when you need it – they’ll be more than willing to help.

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