Give Yourself A Break! DIVORCE?
Give Yourself A Break
The 7-letter word can bring about so different emotions, many of them heart-stopping. DIVORCE. End of one life, beginning of another. But how you get to that new life is tricky. Everybody’s journey is unique to them so give yourself a break and adjust to how you best can deal with the immediate situation.
When they say that divorce is comparable to a death in the family it is entirely true. The life you know is coming to an end. Almost every aspect will change. You cannot be expected to put on a happy face and move on so quickly. Mourning the end of your marriage is like mourning the loss of someone you love. It’s imperative that you marinate in the loss and feel the pain, anger, sadness, denial, and confusion for as long as you need. Your feelings are valid.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to make things all better. However, after counseling many of my divorce mediation and coaching clients I’ve comprised a list of steps you can take in order to get to the other side. You don’t have to follow everything because each person has their own way of dealing with things but I’ve found that these have been helpful for many of my clients and I am happy to have witnessed positive results.
- Don’t Go It Alone: Find your people that you can feel safe and can confide in. People that will build you up and give you positive advice and be there for you when you need it. Friends, mental health professionals, and/or groups that you can feel completely comfortable being open and honest with. Also, if you have some negative friends that make you feel worse, exclude them from your network! It’s ok, you need to take care of yourself first.
- Give yourself permission to grieve. Feel the feels. Don’t hold back your emotions. And try to recognize destructive behaviors that you may engage in to numb those feelings like overeating, drinking, or too much social media. Those that can feel good in the short term will also numb you to the good feelings you can experience once you get to the other side.
- Make Time for you: reconnect with yourself. Whether it’s a new exercise hobby, needlepoint class or a foray into gourmet cooking, find time to invest in yourself and your needs. Feel good in your space with just you. Build on your self-esteem and confidence.
- Practice Good Health: In tune with number 3, become cognizant of healthy habits. Try to get enough sleep, incorporate some movement into your schedule, and nourish yourself with healthy food. When your physical self is in good condition it allows you to heal faster mentally.
- Ingest Knowledge: Gather resources on divorce from media or experts of your choosing. If part of your support network is a recovery group from church or otherwise, they may be able to help with suggestions. The more information we have in our arsenal, the less scary the road to recovery is.
- Practice Gratitude: With a divorce, it can feel like you were dealt the worst hand. Why me?? You are completely justified in your feelings but to help with the negative emotions it can be helpful to remind yourself daily of what you are in fact grateful for. Writing reminders, no matter how small can help you over that hump. Perhaps it’s healthy children, supportive parents, and friends or just a sunny day.
- De-Clutter: Take time to clean up life. It’s ok to get rid of things that don’t work for you anymore. Whether it’s actually tidying up your house or editing your friend list, this will clear space in your mind and your heart for new adventures.
- Avoid Shaming Yourself: You are not a failure. So many times, my clients have feelings of shame like they did something wrong because their marriage didn’t work. But what if you looked at it like you did something right? What about all those people stuck in horrible marriages that don’t get out? It’s important to not feel shamed so you can process your recovery.
- Slow Down and Breathe: Probably my most used piece of advice is to slow down and take a deep breath. The divorce process is a marathon, not a sprint. Even though everyone needs to run (or walk!) at their own pace, there is no need to rush. Sometimes the best decisions are made because we took the time to breathe and explore all of our options.
I hope I’ve shed some light on the steps to the other side. This list is not complete and you don’t have to follow everything. But don’t be afraid to get help and ask questions. Doing what’s right for you at the time is good enough. You will survive and come out feeling amazing, resilient person you always were!