If you’re in a process of recovery from divorce, life is going to be different and may well bring challenges you’ve never faced before.
Perhaps you’re in shock. Or maybe you know it was for the best. No matter how you feel, there will be upheavals. Here are some suggestions you might embrace as you begin to redefine your present and your future:
Keep it simple: Change = stress and divorce can bring many changes–for example, where you live, how family relationships play out, job and financial issues–so it’s helpful to prioritize what’s most important right now to minimize stress. Don’t waste your time and energy focusing on things you can’t control; doing so will just burn you out and generate even more stress. Instead, address the things you can control, recognizing that you’re embracing a major life transition and settling into it will take time.
Find outlets for your emotions: Recovery from divorce necessitates finding ways to release and manage the many emotions you may be feeling. They can run the gamut from loneliness to guilt, anger to sadness, frustration to exhaustion, and fear to self-pity. Try turning to familiar, comforting interests or activities for an outlet. Or look for new outlets: Write down your fears, worries and goals in a private journal (and store it where your kids won’t find it). Do something fun for yourself at least once a week. Rent a sad movie and cry it out. Find a receptive friend, family member or therapist who’ll lend an ear and help you work your way towards your future.
Ask for help: Particularly if you have primary custody of your children, you may find that time is at a premium, which will greatly reduce the level of self-care you can achieve as you work through the logistics of your new life. Even if you can’t reciprocate right now, ask friends or family members for help when you need time for yourself. If you’re not normally assertive, now is the time to become so.
Let go of perfectionism: With much on your plate during your recovery from divorce, you may have to make some sacrifices. Letting go of perfectionism can help you cope. If you’re setting the bar too high in various aspects of your life, you could unwittingly create a sense of failure. Remember that adjusting will take time and you are doing the best you can.
Trust your feelings: There is often much loss involved in divorce, but there’s also a new path to be forged. Things can’t go back to the way they were, so gradually redefine your future, even if that means thinking outside the box. Tap into your instincts, interests and aspirations so you can eventually create the kind of life you want to lead.
As you move through recovery from divorce, you’ll be living a different life. Whether it’s a better life can depend on finding the strategies that allow you to focus on you, your needs and your emerging vision of your future.
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