Let’s face it, divorce sucks! It is emotionally draining and heart-breaking. As terrible as divorce can be, it can also be a very beneficial time in your life if you allow it to be. It is important to remember to take care of yourself as you mourn your relationship. So how can you use divorce as a tool to reinvent and better yourself?
- Rest & Relaxation
For the first time in years, you have no one to answer to. You no longer have to think about what your partner wants for dinner, what your partner wants to watch on tv or what he/she wants to do this weekend. All of the decisions are entirely yours to make and you should savor this moment! Stress, anxiety, and the pain that accompany divorce can be very taxing on your mind and body, so take some time to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you go to a spa for a massage, light some candles and take a bubble bath, or curl up on the couch and just chill, by giving yourself the opportunity to rest and relax you are doing something to aid your healing process.
2. Discover What You Really Like to Do
Many of us allow our favorite hobbies and desires to do new things to fall to the wayside when we get married. Our lives mesh with our spouses and we do the things that they like to do or find activities that work as a couple. As we enter the world as a divorcée, it can be painful to engage in the same activities we once did with our ex or we may even realize that we never really enjoyed those activities in the first place.
This is the perfect time to start trying new things. Sign up for that class you’ve always been curious about, try that hobby that you have thought about but never had the time for, listen to your favorite music on full blast and dance around naked, do that thing that your spouse may have held you back from doing. You just may discover something that you really love to do and it could be just what you need to distract your mind as you navigate the world as a newly single person.
3. Get Healthy
As we get comfortable in a relationship, many of us allow our healthy habits to slip and we gain weight. Whether it is because your eating habits change as you accommodate the way your partner eats or because the gym doesn’t seem as inviting as watching tv with your spouse, it is quite common for people to let themselves go a little bit once they have settled down. Now that you are experiencing a divorce, you really need those extra endorphins to help you to get through the difficult days ahead. Moving the body and burning calories isn’t just good for your physical health, but it will also help you to release stress, build confidence as your body strengthens, and feel happier.
Find an exercise that is both fun and works well for your body, because if you don’t enjoy it or it makes you miserable you won’t stick with it and defeats the entire purpose of working out. During my first marriage I forced myself to run for years. I HATED running, but I thought that it would burn the most calories and I would lose weight. All that resulted from my years of running was bad knees and countless hours of misery. After divorcing I started Jazzercise and yoga and found that I loved both activities. I had a blast and the time seemed to melt away as I engaged in both forms of exercise. Not only did I find that exercise could be fun, but I saw that my body was changing for the better in a way I had never seen as a runner. Each of us has a different idea of what is enjoyable and beneficial to our bodies, so just experiment until you find something that works for you.
4. Focus On Yourself
Now is the perfect time for you to reinvent yourself and become the best version of yourself. You no longer have the responsibility of making a spouse happy, so you can use all of that energy to make yourself happy. Do what you want to do. Have you always wanted to go back to school? Do it! Is there a business you have dreamed of starting? Go ahead and try it! Take some risks and find out what really makes YOU happy.
It is so true that we can’t truly love someone else until we have learned how to love ourselves. You are special, you are unique, and you deserve to be happy, and now you have all the time in the world to find out who you really are as an individual. Maybe all of those things you have been doing were merely to appease your spouse and didn’t truly feel right with your soul. You are the only person who controls your happiness and you have the capacity to do something that you love with your life. Once you have found happiness within yourself, it is so much easier to find people to share that happiness with. So do it! Go to the concert, take the job, enroll in the degree program, take the ballroom dance lessons, travel, whatever it is that you have always wanted to do, DO IT! You just may find that the love you have always been searching for is within yourself.
5. Become Someone You Can Be Proud Of
We’ve all made mistakes in our lives and in our relationships. Maybe you even blame yourself for the failure of your marriage. We can’t erase the past and honestly, I don’t believe that if we went back and erased those mistakes that life would be any better. Mistakes happen for a reason, whether it was to teach us something important or to set us on a different life path. One phrase that helped me to get through my first divorce is, “Your mistakes don’t define who you are. Your history does not determine your destiny.” I’m not sure if this is a quote by someone or something I personally wrote during that devastating time in my life, but reading those words always gave me comfort in knowing that I had the power to become someone I could be proud of.
Regardless of what you said and did in your relationship, you have the ability to become someone you are proud of. I speak from experience! I was deeply ashamed of the things I said and did, the things I put up with, and the way I allowed my life to be manipulated for so long during my first marriage. I left that marriage broken, depressed, and feeling worthless. But I rose from the ashes and I went back to school, I worked on those flaws in my personality that embarrassed me, and I matured to become a wife, mother, and the strong woman that I am truly proud of today. If I could take the darkest moment in my life and blossom because of it, you can too!!!
I wish you the best as you conquer this terrible time in your life. Know that as horrible as this experience may be, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can make it through this and you will change for the better if you to take time for yourself!