Healing is a slow process, but an important part of how you will recover from divorce trauma.
The early phase of divorce has so much to do with recovering from the shock or just managing to get through every day. In the midst of trauma, your focus is centered on survival - leaving little time to contemplate the bigger picture.
This is a natural evolutionary mechanism that makes it possible for you to manage all that you have to deal with. When that focus broadens to the bigger scope of your life, you start to shift into a phase of feeling lost and adrift, and you start to realize that you don’t know who you are, what to do with your time, or how to start over. This can leave you paralyzed and panicked about how you’ll ever recover.
Once the dust settles, and your life begins to regain some sort of rhythm, you can begin to consider some healing activities that help you move forward. At this point, you begin to focus more on yourself, and you come to recognize that there is value in taking care of yourself through discovery and exploration. This is a slow process, but an important part of how you will recover from this trauma.
Here are 10 actions you can take to move forward post-divorce:
1. Travel Somewhere New
Travel is uplifting and empowering regardless of circumstance, but there is something about hitting the road post-divorce that is extra special. This doesn't have to be an exotic or faraway trip; it's enough to do a day trip to a city or town you've never been to.
2. Retreat in Solitude
Being alone is an essential part of healing post-divorce. A silent retreat would be amazing, but if that's too much, just spending time on your own in a quiet setting will give you the same effects. It's impossible to heal and grow without the space to do it, and the chaos and fast-paced world leaves no room to reflect - making alone time a necessity, not just a luxury.
3. Volunteer Your Time
Giving back is key to healing a broken heart. When you participate in a greater good, you remember your place in the world and get out of your own experience. Volunteering reminds you that you're not alone, and that your suffering can be channeled into something useful for you and the world.
4. Take a Class
Creativity is connected to your soul and spirit, so taking a class in anything is a great way to heal. Some of your pain will not be accessible through talk or processing, making other forms of therapeutic intervention essential. Learning anything new or going back to an old skill builds confidence, improves self-esteem, and generates a feeling of control over your own life. You might explore art, dance, cooking, golf, photography, or gardening.
5. Dine Alone
For some people, going out to a meal alone may not be a big deal, but for others, it's their worst nightmare. This is an important act because it battles the stigma and conditioning you might be carrying around about being alone. While this might be hard at first, you’ll come to realize that dining alone is a form of mindfulness and an opportunity to be with yourself in a loving way.
6. Train for Competition
Running a marathon, hiking a mountain, walking for a cause, or submitting a piece of work for a reward can bring huge mental and physical benefits. It gives you a central focus in your life and a sense of purpose at a time where you’re struggling for meaning. You’ll also be improving your wellbeing in the process by using your brain and body in ways you might not have thought possible.
7. Plant a Garden
Gardening is a highly researched practice that offers many healing benefits, including an improvement in mood, a deeper connection to self and others, and reduction in stress. The nurturing aspects of gardening are particularly healing when your whole life has fallen apart because you get the benefit of watching new life take shape as you rebuild your own.
8. Join a Group
The loneliness of divorce is extremely painful, so joining a group alleviates that sense of isolation. Search for groups that offer a positive experience or find one where you can meet people in your same situation. Finding a sense of connection to others is essential for healing post-divorce.
9. Create a Ritual
Pick one practice that you can commit to daily. Try gratitude, meditation, prayer, or walking in nature as daily rituals to heal your heart, body, and soul. At a time when your world is chaotic and unpredictable, these grounding practices will create a sense of consistency and rootedness.
10. Go to Therapy
Processing your feelings with a professional is a must post-divorce. Even if it’s for a few months, talking with an objective and knowledgeable person will help you feel confident and supported on the right path. Therapy is a great outlet and an important part of anyone’s journey toward healing post-divorce.
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