Even when it comes as a relief, divorce is never an easy process. You are saying goodbye to years of partnership and a shared history, and the future in front of you is not always crystal clear.
Here are 11 encouraging things every divorced woman needs to here that will help you ride the emotional rollercoaster that comes with divorce.
1. Whatever you are feeling is perfectly normal. You will have days when you feel you just cannot get out of bed. And days, when you will feel like the divorce, is a blessing. In between these days, your emotions may go all over the place. Know that these fluctuations are normal. As a divorced woman, you are getting used to a new identity as well as a new life. Your feelings will run the gamut from fear, sadness, and depression to hope, new-found strength and elation. Emotional ups and downs will become more stable over time, but patience will be needed to get there.
2. Seek out women who have been where you are now. A good support group of like-minded divorced women is a comforting resource. Make sure there is a mix of women, from those just divorced to those whose divorces are further behind them. Seek out a woman who has something you want: someone who is living her post-divorce life in a way you’d like to emulate. Make a coffee date with her and ask her for advice. People love to share their expertise and you can learn some great tips from someone who has walked in your shoes not too long ago.
3. Make sure you take care of your outward appearance. Divorce can do damage to your self-esteem. To combat this, take extra-special care with your hair, makeup, and clothes. Try a totally different haircut or get a professional makeover using cosmetics that you haven’t tried before. Paying attention to your appearance will remind you that you are beautiful, vibrant and worth taking care of. And the compliments you will receive will make you feel better.
4. Take care of your inner life, too. At the same time, you spruce up your outside, be attentive to your inside, too. Along with eating healthfully, this would be a good time to involve yourself with a calming, restorative activity such as yoga or meditation. Divorce is stressful; strengthening your inner life will help mitigate this and give you a sense of balance when your life seems out of kilter.
5. Find your mantra. Have a set of soothing words you can bring up when the divorce stuff gets crazy. “It won’t always be like this,” “Breath in, breath out,” “You are strong, capable and beautiful”. Anything that resonates with you and helps you bring down the anxiety level.
6. Remind yourself that you are one day closer to happiness. When the days seem long and stressful, it is helpful to reframe how time is passing. Telling yourself that each new day brings new promise and opportunity and that you are a step closer to a rich, full life again, this can help put things in perspective.
7. Practice self-empowerment. Divorced women report that learning a new skill or sport was essential in helping them feel empowered. It also gave them a chance to get out and make new friends. Look around in your community for an opportunity to learn something new: it can be a sport, like Cross-fit, or a skill, like learning to build a cabinet. Anything that is slightly challenging so you get a sense of your awesomeness!
8. Take the plunge. You are probably used to doing everything as a couple. Don’t be fearful of new opportunities just because you are now divorced. It would be a shame to turn down an invitation because you are no longer a twosome, so ask a friend, even a couple, if you can attend with them if you don’t feel up to attending an event alone. Not used to vacationing without a partner? Don’t stop enjoying your leisure time. Pack up the kids and take them somewhere. Start out with an easy destination where there is perhaps a kids’ club or something to occupy the children while you relax. These “first times” will get easier the more you do them.
9. Shape your environment so it gives you joy. The house is now yours, so make it a reflection of you. Give away anything that doesn’t bring you joy or sparks bad memories. Make your bedroom a haven of luxury and peace, as girly as you like, if that is your thing. The goal is to shape your surroundings so that you feel happiness wherever you look.
10. Express gratitude when those close to you offer help. Sometimes your friends won’t know the right thing to say. Whether it is a simple “I’m sorry you are going through this” or a lengthier conversation offering support and a shoulder to cry on, remember to let them know you are grateful for their presence in your life. Don’t hesitate to take them up on all offers of help. It can be a real comfort knowing that you are surrounded by friends who care and what to be there for you.
11. This, too, shall pass. The one thing in life that you can depend on is that everything changes. Right now your divorce stings. You may be feeling like your entire world is crumbling. But trust that your future will open up to you when you are ready, and you will recreate another loving relationship when the time is right. Keep this thought in mind when you are feeling overwhelmed: this, too, shall pass.