When going through a divorce, you’re facing a challenging, confusing, time in your life. While you’re working to take care of your family, you must also remember to take care of yourself. With so much uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to let the emotions obscure your perspective on the situation. But, it’s time to start taking back your control and putting yourself first. Give yourself permission to take the time to heal and grow past this challenging event in your life. If you don’t allow yourself the space to do just that, you’ll only hold yourself down to feelings of bitterness and frustration. Here are some tips to help you on your path forward to find optimism and acceptance from a difficult place.
Divorce is a loss and there is a lot of emotion that comes with navigating that loss. This involves grieving and the many ways in which that is felt differs from person to person. It may feel like you have to hold everything together and keep on track, yet, that’s just not feasible. You have to open yourself up to process the emotions that you’re experiencing. Whatever you may be feeling is valid. Try not to fight it or repress it, even if that may feel like a short-term solution; in the long run, it’s only going to cause more harm.
With that said, feeling your emotions is just the first step because you don’t want them to overrun you. The next step is to talk it out. Talking through your thoughts, along with your mental and emotional state in general, is a way to grow and move forward. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or licensed professional, having someone to help you make sense of what you’re going through and acknowledge it without harboring it will help you to form healthy coping mechanisms.
The process of grieving is intense and is not linear in any way. It’s not a simple process to come to acceptance, but having that as an underlying goal can guide each day in a positive manner. It’s easy to look back on the situation with a mentality of what you should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve done differently. However, this is not productive or fair to you. At the end of the day, you can only focus on the present and move forward into the future.
Finding ways to come to terms with your current situation can include recognizing any judgments you have towards yourself and others, identifying the things that you are grateful for presently, and taking note of actions you can take for the future. Getting into the habit of journaling is a great way to work through these ideas, especially ones that draw you back to the past. Anytime you feel a judgment or resentment from the past, write it down to get it out of your head and leave it behind so you are not occupied with these thoughts and you can turn your focus to the future.
The one constant thing you can take control of in life is yourself and your reactions. In a time when it feels like you’ve lost all control and sense of order, you can look to yourself for a grounding presence. You can explore more about who you are, your feelings, opinions, likes, and dislikes. You can get to know yourself all over again, being able to learn with fewer outside influences. Ultimately, this is a time to define who you are outside of marriage.
This exercise should feel grounding and healing, rather than hyper-critical and defeating. Self-reflection is meant to bolster positive growth and a strong understanding of who you are. Self-awareness and introspection can actually be a very tricky thing if you’re not careful. When you’re taking part in these activities, be cognizant of the ways in which you are talking to yourself, and make sure that you are offering compassion, patience, support, and understanding, the same way you would if it was a loved one.
Newness can be scary. Going through a divorce brings about a lot of change, but this doesn’t have to be as concerning as you might think. By reframing your take on this time in your life, you can turn this into something more positive and exciting, with the idea that you can make anything you want out of your new situation. Change is inevitable and constant, but don’t forget you are adaptable and resilient.
Start with making a list of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Then, start checking things off that list! Find ways to spark your joy, creativity, and passion. Look at this as a time to reorganize and redesign whatever you want. One thing you can do is find ways to embrace healthy choices throughout your daily routine, not just for you, but your family too. Something to try would be a new workout class, not only does this benefit your health, but it’s a great way to meet new people. Maybe play around with a new style to find ways to build your confidence and security in this more ambiguous phase in your life. Try to remember the possibilities for you are endless in the best way.
This is not a situation that is going to consistently feel exciting. There are going to be lots of ups and downs, but the best way to move forward is by harnessing the ups and focusing your energy on growth and healing. Luckily, there are so many different ways to channel your energy. Now’s the time to take on a project you’ve been meaning to do or learn something entirely new. Whether it’s a new hobby or just an opportunity to revamp something in your life, find an outlet that brings the passion inside of you to the forefront.
Leaning into your social circle or finding a new community entirely can open you up to new experiences. Whether it’s through close friends or meeting new people through shared interests you are doing new things. Take a step back and think about the things that interest you and have always wanted to try, this is a great starting point to find a community that is similar to you. If you’re an avid reader, you might love to join a book club. Whether it’s local to your area, or you take advantage of online resources, there are numerous ways you can get involved and put yourself out there. Use this time of newfound independence to share the passions that were once kept to yourself with others to find more joy in every day.
The space which surrounds you daily can have a huge impact on your mood and emotions. Your home, especially what was once a shared home, can pack in a lot of memories of loved ones and the past. Sitting in the past as it once was is only going to hold you back. Rather than tiptoe around the shell of the old, it’s time to start bringing in new life. There is so much that can be done to refresh your space that will also allow you to refresh your mindset.
Investing in your space is investing in yourself. Now’s the time to take on the home projects you’ve been waiting to get to and build out the design that truly speaks to you. These projects can be of any size large or small. Whether it’s as simple as repainting a room or a little more involved by breaking out the power tools, this is a moment of empowerment for you to experiment with different styles and decor that inspire you. If you’re still trying to find your personal design style after so much time living in a shared space, lean into transitional pieces while you figure it out. One great project to start with is installing a shiplap accent wall. Shiplap is a popular design element because of how subtle yet versatile it is- it fits into every style of decor without overwhelming your space. As you transition, adapt, and thrive, with the many changes in your life your home will be a reflection of your growth. If you think your style is trending toward farmhouse but in a year or so, you find it’s actually more modern, the shiplap accent will still fit perfectly as you swap out decor. Pair this accent with furniture pieces and other design elements you’ve always wanted and transform your home into a space that reflects not only your personality but brings you peace in this challenging time; a space that should continue to grow with you for the years ahead.
You can’t change the past, but you can look to the future. Maybe this is an unexpected time in your life, but that’s what makes it all the more unique. Now is your time to do whatever feels right for you. Yes, you’re still grieving a relationship that once was, and that will continue to be a part of your journey, but it is certainly not where the story ends. Rather than hold on to any resentment or negativity, continue to move through it as you heal, grow, and learn more about yourself than ever before. Ground yourself in your strength and resilience, and work towards creating a brand new life to fall in love with.
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