Newly Single Parent Holiday Survival Kit

Being a single parent is especially hard during the holidays. The commercials are all filled with picture-perfect families living in beautiful places, happy and hopeful. These serve as a frequent reminder that your life pretty much sucks. They feature little jabs that remind you of how less than perfect the season has become.

Single Parent pic.jpgDepending on where you are in the process, the holidays slowly get better with time. The first year is an absolute ball-buster, and you’ll need to take things one day at a time. You will most likely experience one of the holidays without your children around because it’s not “your turn” to take the kids. The holiday parties you both used to go to will be unattended, and most likely, everyone there will be talking about how sad your life is.  Which is true. It’s awful. It feels cruel, and there’s just no way around it.

How do you survive it? Here’s the plan.

1) Have yourself a merry little pity party, but not for too long.

Being a single parent during the holidays is sad. Own it. Feel it. Don’t avoid the loneliness. Go through it. Sit with it. There are days you’ll feel paralyzed by the sorrow. It needs to be acknowledged, really felt, and then you need to grant yourself a little relief. Your children want to have “happy holidays” despite the situation. Feed on their joy and let it pick you up a bit. Maybe the Christmas party scene is too much, but try to do something that requires you to get out of your sweats. If you have a good friend, he or she will not let you sit under a rock for too long. Take them up on that cup of coffee or happy hour, even if you feel like a wet rag. Some fresh air and social distraction will make you feel better, even if it’s temporary. Take it one day at a time.

2) Make a schedule of who’s going where and when, so you can fill in the blanks. 

If you have the kids on Thanksgiving and not Christmas, plan for it. On lonely days, the pity party will continue to invite you over, but try not to spend all your time there. This is where “friends and family” need to step up. Go to a movie, or enjoy the fact that you are home alone without anybody requiring anything of you. Binge-watch something. Go watch a comedy and force yourself to laugh (it’s just the reverse of crying). See a concert or a play. Go look at something that twinkles. Planning ahead will give you something to look forward to and enjoy.

3) Do something nice for yourself.

When you’re feeling frazzled, do something that will make you feel better. Go for a walk, take a long hot shower and make yourself a nice meal. As a single parent cooking for yourself or for you and the kids, there are lots of easy cooking videos that can quickly teach you how to make something simple, delicious and healthy. You don’t have to think too hard or spend all day in the kitchen. Give your body the fuel it needs to help you solve the day’s challenges. Try this example:

4) Embrace the new year.

Thank goodness this one’s over, right? Try to think positively about the possibilities for the new year. Things are going to get better. You’ve made it through the holidays and now have the opportunity to make positive changes in your life. Learn a new skill or fine tune an existing one.  Connect with friends when you are ready, and know that spring is right around the corner. The days will be getting longer and brighter, slowly but surely, and eventually that sun will come out. 

Giving your body the fuel it needs will help manage the stress and give you the best frame of mind to get through the rough times. Eat healthily and give yourself time to connect with your positive side.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to share it with a friend, please do. At MEAL5.com, our mission is to help newly single parents and people who are anxious and stressed eat good food with simple, easy recipes and healthy meal plans. They are offered as quick cooking videos that are easy to learn from. Thank you for taking time to read and share this article. Be well. Be happy!