When you get divorced, you lose a piece of yourself. Even if your marriage was contentious for years before the papers were signed, once it’s over, you’ll struggle with re-creating a new identity that does not involve your ex.
This can leave you stuck in a holding pattern of just getting through each day with your sanity intact. But, there will come a time when you’re ready to prioritize yourself.
Here are a few ways to reclaim your sense of self after divorce.
Go on a date.
Anna Wilkins of DivorcedMoms notes that you’ll need to work on yourself before you start dating. However, at some point, you have to accept that your marriage is over, not the end of your desire for emotional and physical attachment. Even if you’re not ready for a full-blown relationship or commitment, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying dinner and a movie.
When many marriages end, the family home is sold and the profits are split between the two parties. This is a great opportunity to move into a new neighborhood, or if you don’t have children with your ex, even a new state. Start by shopping for mortgage rates and then find a realtor that understands your budget and needs.
Start a new business.
If you feel just as chained to work as you did your marriage, unlink yourself in the same way. Even if you have to slowly distance yourself from your job, you can start a business part-time that you can turn into your full-time income. A quick tip here is to file an LLC early on. Depending on the rules where you live, you can probably file online by yourself once you have established a business name (it’s cheaper than paying an attorney). As an LLC, you are legally separated from your business, and that offers some financial protection against business losses.
Earn your degree.
When you would rather upgrade your career instead of becoming an entrepreneur, go back to school. Look for grants and scholarships that will help you pay for your MBA (or find an affordable online program). With your master’s degree in hand, you may be able to find a new position in marketing, accounting, planning, or research as you will learn and refine these skills. The rigorous coursework will also teach you how to be a more self-aware leader so that you can assess your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace and at home.
One of the best things you can do after a divorce is to look at yourself in a different light. Change your makeup, get a new hairstyle, go clothes shopping, or consider something meaningful and permanent to commemorate the new chapter in your life.
Join a fitness class.
Joining a gym or fitness class has many benefits for your physical and mental health. Not only do you have a chance to exercise with an instructor by your side, but you will also make friends and, importantly, get out of the house.
Try new foods.
Chances are, your divorce took a toll on your mental health. If you’ve suffered from depression, which Priory Group explains can have a significant effect on the way you eat, try adding new foods to your diet. Changing things up here may excite and entice you. Further, eating healthier foods now can help you get your mental and physical health back.
When the changes you’ve made to your daily routine don’t help, maybe it’s time for a true change of scenery and pace. Traveling alone is not only empowering but will help you become a better decision-maker and appreciate your time by yourself. You may find that you are more trustworthy than you give yourself credit for, and you’ll have a chance for self-reflection.
Divorce hurts, and it takes a huge piece of you with it. But, once you get over the hurdles of pain, you must heal yourself so that you can be a better you. From dating to starting a business to changing your hair, changes made now will mold who you are in the future. And, you never know, you may just find that the best in life is yet to come.