When you get married, you expect it to be forever. So when your marriage ends, no matter how amicable the split may be, it is, inevitably, a trauma. After all, you are tasked with building a new life, with creating a future that is likely far different from the one you had imagined.
Improve Mental Health
But just because you are experiencing a divorce does not mean that your second act can’t be filled with joy, hope, passion, and promise. It doesn’t just happen, however. Cultivating your mental health after a divorce takes effort and commitment. And one of the first and most important steps in this process is to create an environment that nurtures and heals you, mind, body, and spirit.
Why Remaining in the Marital Home May Not Be a Good Idea
When you’re experiencing a divorce, one of the first questions you’re likely asking is who will get the house. There may be a temptation to claim the marital home for yourself, especially if you have children whom you don’t want to uproot during this difficult time of transition.
However, there can be significant disadvantages to remaining in the home you shared with your former spouse. First, your home might anchor you and your children to a past that no longer exists. It may serve as a constant reminder of unhappy memories or, perhaps even worse, it may provide a forum for traumatizing memories, such as what it’s like being married to a narcissist.
Sometimes, the best way to build a new life for yourself and your little ones is to find a new space in which to live that new life, letting go of the old to welcome the new.
But it’s not just about the mental health benefits of starting fresh. Letting go of the marital home can also provide vast tangible benefits, particularly for your financial well-being. Your family home is likely the most valuable asset you own. But your home can be a tremendous drain on your finances.
Selling your home and splitting the proceeds can be a superb way to secure a comforting nest egg in this time of transition. And that added bit of financial security can be a tremendous gift to your mental health, as money woes will be one less thing to worry about during this time of transition.
A Nurturing Environment
No matter the circumstances of the divorce, such a profound life change is always already a trauma. And that will put you at significant risk for detrimental mental health impacts, and particularly for the development of anxiety disorders. You may find yourself having difficulty sleeping, eating, or concentrating. You may find yourself withdrawing from the people and the activities you love. You may feel hopeless, helpless, or fearful.
And it’s not surprising that these would be the emotions that so often accompany divorce, at least in the first months. The unknown is always scary, and divorce is truly a step into the unknown.
But, in addition to learning to recognize your anxiety and to seek out help and support when needed, you can also do a great deal to help mitigate these negative emotions by designing your home environment for comfort and peace.
Whether you will be remaining in the marital home or relocating to new digs, one of the first and most important things you can do to create a nurturing home environment is to get rid of the clutter. When your home is filled with junk, not only are you weighed down by the detritus of the house, but you’re also immersed in chaos. Rooms become a jumble of both memories and purposes and there is nowhere to rest your eye or your mind.
This is why it’s important to ensure that each space in your home has a clear, definitive purpose, whether for work, play, or relaxation. And within each space, there should be allied only items that enhance or contribute to your life and wellbeing in some specific and tangible way.
Hold on only to objects that are meaningful and useful and integrate them into spaces that are designed for peace and purpose. For example, using soft lightings such as lamplight and natural light and a warm color palette on the walls can help to provide the sense of tranquility you want and deserve during this challenging time of transformation.
Divorce, even in the best of circumstances, is never easy. But it is possible to get through it with your mental health intact. The process of healing and transition should begin with ensuring that your environment supports optimal mental health. This often means changing your environment to invite and welcome the new future ahead. You may choose, for instance, to leave the marital home to build a new life in new environs. Or you may prefer to change things up in your existing home, from decluttering your living spaces to infusing them with lights and colors that help you to feel whole and happy.