While coronavirus is ranging on with no near end in sight, most of us are feeling a bit overwhelmed (at best) and unhinged. With emotions as heightened as they are, and social distancing back in the picture, it’s no wonder divorce rates are up. Spending loads of time with your spouse is hard on any marriage — but when you’ve already had a conflict and the core issues remain unresolved, divorce can be a positive decision for lots of people. Not every couple is meant to stay together for decades!
For those navigating divorce in early 2021, the resolutions we once had for ourselves when exiting a relationship don’t seem to really apply. We can’t go to the gym or be more social. We can’t spend more time with family or really even date. So this year we’ll have to be more creative with how we put ourselves first. Below are a few ideas.
Instead of “get fit” how about doing something fun? I don’t know about you, but green drinks and going for a run isn’t exactly what I feel like doing after experiencing heartbreak. Oftentimes in a relationship, we stop doing the things we loved when we were single in exchange for spending more time with our significant other. So, how about returning to what you enjoyed pre-marriage?
Yoga, an awesome hike, or scheduled walks with a friend. Perhaps you could volunteer for a cause that means a lot to you. Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? Now’s the time to start! Make a list of things that bring you joy, or hobbies that have always interested you, and make time each week to do a few of these things. So enough you’ll feel your energy – and joy – start building!
Productive YOU Time
Spend sacred time alone, reflecting deeply, or decompressing. Even though we’re all at home a lot more these days, most of the time we aren’t really prioritizing what those hours look like. Maybe it’s reading a travel magazine or some Rupi Kaur poetry. Or, maybe you start a garden or reorganize your clothing. It might not feel like you are making headway but hours like these are the key to self-growth and care.
During this time, make sure your focus is on YOU, not your ex. It is easy to let your divorce become all-consuming and to spend precious hours wondering what your ex is doing, or what they are thinking. It’s totally natural, but not productive to help you move on with your new life. Now is the time to be selfish and make your time about yourself and what you want to do.
Related: Check out our Self Care Worksheet!
Grow with Support
Seeking professional support seems like a luxury, but it isn’t, it’s about building your foundation and helping you grow and maintain. If divorce is weighing on you, get clarity with a divorce coach. If it’s emotional or mental stresses, resolving them with a life coach or therapist can give you peace and strength. And if you simply can’t afford it, scheduled, recurring talks with a friend (preferably with planned topics) is always a winner.
When life feels too heavy to shoulder on your own (and there is a lot going on right now that can make it feel that way), it’s ok to let someone else take a bit of the weight off for you. If you have kids, perhaps a family member could babysit and give you a couple of hours of uninterrupted time for yourself. Order your groceries online so you don’t have to spend hours at the store. Seeking support from others can allow you the space to grow, learn and process.
Be mindful by getting out of your head – that’s right. Ready to feel better than you have in years? Curb your anxiety? The best way I’ve found to do this is by noticing. Start by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath. Notice how the floor feels under your feet. Notice how the air feels around you. Notice the sounds you hear and what you smell.
Now, notice any thoughts or feelings that come up. Noticing when I feel stressed or sad and reminding myself that those pesky thoughts are not fact — let them cycle in and cycle out and don’t pay them too much attention. It may not be easy at first, but keep at it! It’s that inner knowingness we are looking for to make meaningful changes in our lives.
Strategize your split. Really, I mean it. It sounds sneaky but it’s actually the best way to keep your divorce moving forward, save money and have peace (not knowing what divorce will look like is disconcerting). Create security by being informed and having a plan. You wouldn’t buy a house without researching where you want to live, knowing how much house you can afford, or seeking out the best mortgage rates and it is the same for your divorce.
Speak to a legal coach in your state about what the divorce process looks like. Make a list of any areas of contention that you think might come up during the divorce (maybe spousal support or retirement accounts will be hot topics). Every divorce is different, but having a plan – or strategy – in advance can help you avoid getting blindsided during the divorce process. And remember, HOW you do divorce is crucial to how you feel during it and how quickly you bounce back (or better yet, evolve into a better next chapter).