Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the holidays: what to cook, how to decorate, what to buy (and what to ask for…). And gradually it dawned on me -- these articles are all about what to do for others, or what to ask others to do for you!

Don’t get me wrong – I think “doing for others” is generous and noble and kind. Problem is, when you’re going through a divorce, there’s likely to be a whole lot of “doing for others”, and usually not an “Other” to do for you. So instead of experiencing the joy and peace of the holiday season, you probably find yourself feeling tired, stressed, resentful and lonely.

I want to suggest something different. What if, this year, the gift you give yourself is to be your own “Other?” What if you promise to treat yourself with kindness and compassion? And this year, give yourself those things that will inspire you, energize you, and fill you with joy and gratitude.

So I challenge you- instead of waiting for someone else to fulfill your dreams and desires, write your holiday wish list and then use the next few weeks to give yourself those gifts.

[Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting you max out your credit cards at the closest shopping mall. However, there is something gratifying to purchasing a long desired item. If your bank account can handle it, go for it. And do it guilt-free which is often more valuable than the item.]

So with the material item bought, here are some suggestions to put on your holiday list (and then begin granting them to yourself!):

• A good night’s sleep
• A delicious meal with a good friend
• An hour to really play with your children (with no distractions)
• An afghan, cup of tea and a great book/movie
• Lessons that empower you to enjoy the single life (mastering the grill, cooking a healthy meal or using a power drill)
• Permission to ask for help
• Financial wisdom (adhering to your monetary limits so January’s bills do not defeat you)
• Acceptance that this is your life right now
• Clarity to realize this doesn’t have to be your life in the future
• Courage to make the changes so you live the life you want

If you use this holiday as an opportunity to take a step in learning to be your own best friend, you’ll hopefully create a pattern that will continue all next year!

Author's Bio: 

Renee Cooper is a coach and co-founder of One Journey Consulting, a coaching practice in Wayland, MA dedicated to personal growth and rediscovery through life transitions such as divorce. More information can be found at