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How to Get Through the Holidays After a Big Life Transition

4 Minute Read

During Christmas, we’re constantly thinking of others. But if you’ve experienced a big move, a job loss, a divorce or a death in the family, take some time to care for yourself this season.

Loss and life change are hard at any time of year. But they can be particularly tough during the holidays.

So if you find yourself struggling to face the demands of the season, give yourself some grace. You’ve been through a lot. Here are four ways to ease into the holiday hustle after a big life transition.

1. Don’t make any quick decisions.

If you’ve just moved, it can be tempting to rush into homeownership right away. But if your old place doesn’t sell quickly, you could end up juggling two mortgages for Christmas. Or, if you’ve suffered a financial setback after a divorce, you may want to dip into your 401(k) to cover gifts and travel expenses. But you could lose up to 40% of your savings in penalties by cashing out early.

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When our emotions are fragile, we tend to make impulsive decisions, and those decisions tend to cause more stress for us in the long run. So take some time to heal before you make any big moves with your money. It’s better to cut back temporarily than to pay for your regrets for years to come.

2. Skip the stress, but keep a few traditions.

Seeing all those happy families at the mall can feel like torture if you’ve just lost a loved one. But don’t let that keep you holed up in your house for months. It’s important to get out and still enjoy a few of your favorite holiday traditions.

If you’re not up to Christmas shopping, or if you really can’t afford it right now, that’s okay. No one will think any less of you. But make an effort to keep some family traditions intact. Decorate your tree or watch a movie marathon. You may not feel enthusiastic about these activities now, but they can help bring back some much-needed cheer to your life.

Related: 8 Holiday Traditions You Can Cut, Keep or Totally Rethink

3. Surround yourself with people who care.

Explaining your job loss to every second, third and fourth cousin on your Dad’s side is the last thing you want to do right now. So if you’ve recently been laid off, forget the pressure to crisscross the United States to visit distant relatives. Now is not the time to keep up appearances.

Instead, surround yourself with the family and friends who love you most. These are the people who can shut up and listen or step in and help. So pick your support system carefully and allow yourself to lean on them during the holidays.

Related: Family Feud: 5 Holiday Fights to Stop Before They Start

4. Talk with professionals who can help.

Close friends and family members are crucial for support, but you may need to go a step further and find a counselor or pastor to help you move forward and heal. Make sure you find someone you can trust then commit to weekly or monthly sessions with them as soon as possible.

And if you have some huge financial decisions to make, Dave’s team of financial coaches can give you a helping hand. Again, this is not your well-meaning aunt or friend—this is someone who knows how to guide you through the difficult twists and turns of financial transition.

Give yourself permission to slow down, take a break, and find the support you need.

There’s nothing harder than an abrupt life change during the holidays. So if you’re struggling to just make it through the season, don’t force it.

Give yourself permission to slow down, take a break, and find the support you need. And remember, a new year is just around the corner.

For a little more cheer in your life, click here for details about our Making Futures Bright $100,000 Giveaway.

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