The article I just read about summer depression and seasonal affective disorder triggered my thoughts about special post-divorce summer issues. Specifically, how to handle your kids being gone with your ex. Often summer visits are longer, sometimes as much as two months when geography is an issue. Here are the tips for handling the special challenges:
1. Try optimism. Thinking about longer visits as vacations exudes optimism. It’s a vacation from your kids. Not that you don’t love them to death, but they don’t say absence makes the heart grow fonder for nothing. If you’re kids are going on an actual vacation, perhaps one for which you done have the time, money or inclination, think about how positive this is for them.
2. Make good use of the opportunity. Everyone has things that pile up. This is an opportunity to get some things done. Whether at home or at work, it’s catch up time. When the vacation is over, you’ll be able to give yourself a huge pat on the back for accomplishing something that’s been looming.
3. HAVE FUN. Even with all caps I cannot emphasize this enough. Whatever fun is for you (and if you can’t remember, this is a great time to figure it out), whether reading novels, renting videos the kids would hate, going zip-lining, having dinner with friends, not cooking, cooking what you’d like to eat…whatever it is, do it. A lot. It’ll counteract the pain of the loss.
4. Refresh and renew. Fun refreshes and renews, but so do other things. What refreshes and renews for you? You probably have more time to get to the gym or your yoga class (that you’re about to sign up for), for a long bath, a solitary walk, a facial or a massage. This is “me” time.
5. Accept. This is how things are going to be. It may be difficult, but acceptance is key to moving forward and flourishing in your new circumstances. Breathe, notice and use your strengths to brighten your days. You can do this, and it gets easier.
And totally dating myself, as usual, for a blast of summer, Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful