Divorce is a life-changing experience. Anyone who has been through the experience will agree. But although it is certainly difficult, it doesn’t have to be devastating. With a positive attitude and good coping strategies, you can survive the transition and build a happier life than you ever thought possible.
1. Accept that your life has changed: Don’t live in a state of denial. Accept the fact that you are now single and life will be different. Look for ways to build new friendships and support systems. Force yourself to get up off the couch. Take small steps.
2. Be open to counseling: Pain, fear, and anger come with the territory when we go through a divorce. After all, we are human. But there are excellent psychologists and counselors in every city who can help you work through your feelings and find healthy ways to cope. You would go to a mechanic if your car broke down. They are experts at fixing the problem. So, why wouldn’t you look for a good counselor to help you with trouble in your life? Counselors have worked with hundreds, or thousands, of people whose problems are similar to your own. They have developed techniques that work. A professional counselor can assist you in overcoming the obstacles you are facing, and help you find your way to a better life.
3. Join a support group: If you are newly divorced, or in the process of ending your marriage, it may feel like you are the only person to ever have experienced such wrenching distress and loneliness. But you are not alone. Don’t try to navigate those difficult emotions all by yourself. Look for a divorce support group in your area. It’s not as uncomfortable as you think. There are others who have experienced what you are feeling, or who are going through the same thing as you are now. They can be a great source of friendship, inspiration, and support. You may even meet new lifelong friends.
4. Become involved in positive activities: A person going through divorce can feel that he or she is literally drowning in troubles. It is easy to fall into a pattern of obsessing over your problems and your misery. You may find yourself “living in your own head.” The best remedy is to become involved in something bigger than yourself. Find an interesting job. Volunteer with a charitable organization. Join a gym, take yoga, or sign up for a Zumba class. The choices are unlimited. Once you become immersed in a positive activity, your own problems seem much smaller.
5. Take time to exercise: That old saying, “Strong Body, Strong Mind” . . . Modern science has proven it to be true. The beneficial effect of exercise on the mind is now universally accepted by doctors, scientists, and behavioral health experts. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s own natural “feel-good” drug. Exercise makes the heart and muscles stronger, lowers our blood-pressure, and provides a sense of well-being. So, why wait? Start an exercise program today.
6. Choose healthier foods: Food is what fuels our body and our brain. You can feel better, happier, and stronger simply by reducing or eliminating sugary sodas and fatty fast-foods, and replacing them with fresh vegetables of every color, along with fish, poultry, and lean meat. This is an easy and delicious way to change your life.
7. Get a good night’s sleep: There is no more important factor on our mental functioning than sleep. The problem is that, as a society, we are all sleep-deprived. Your first step in bouncing back from divorce should be to make sure you get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each and every night.
8. Find a hobby: Yes, we need to be able to support ourselves, but there is more to life than work and chasing children around the house. Find an outlet, something you like to do – and pursue it. It might be a sport, such as softball, running, or golf. It could be music, or art, or reading. Whatever gives you pleasure. Having a hobby breaks up your day, and can make your life more enjoyable and exciting.
9. Plan for the future: For someone going through divorce, it is often hard to see beyond today. But planning for the future is crucial, and doing so can alleviate stress and anxiety and give you a sense of empowerment. Find a CPA or divorce financial planner to help you prepare a budget and map out a game plan for saving and investing your money. It may take some discipline today, but you will thank yourself tomorrow.
10. Create a New Mental Picture: You are more powerful than you think. None of us has the power to control all the circumstances of our life, but we can absolutely control our response to those circumstances. Take action, despite the fear. You will soon begin to see yourself as someone who is capable of controlling your own destiny. Divorce may be the end of your old life, but it is the beginning of your new life. You have the power to make that life great.