Special to DadsDivorce.com
The aftermath of a divorce can leave you feeling lost, lonely, and perhaps even a little scared. The future that you once had planned out is now gone, replaced with a looming question mark.
However, though the future is uncertain, it doesn’t have to be dark.
Learning to see the hope and focus on the positives in your life will help you cope with the fallout of divorce and begin to heal and move on. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.
Here are a few tips you can apply to get your life back on track and avoid falling into a post-divorce rut.
1. Keep Friends and Family Close
The end of a relationship is a painful loss. While no one can replace that person, you can heal from the emotional wounds they left. Spending time with your closest friends and family is a great way to cope.
These people have your best interests at heart and have likely been with you from the beginning of your marriage to the end. Rely on them.
They can offer informed advice, perspective, and, most importantly, love and support as you go through the grieving process.
2. Make Weekend Plans
Anyone who has been through a breakup knows that weekends are often the hardest to handle. Rather than allowing yourself to stay in bed all weekend (as tempting as it may be), try to fill your weekends with plans.
While having a night in to mope and mourn can be therapeutic – and you certainly should give yourself time to grieve – don’t allow it to become a habit.
Make plans with your friends. Babysit for a family member. If you have kids, take them out to a movie or go to a local park.
The point is to keep your schedule full so you don’t fall into a self-pity rut.
3. Indulge in Your Interests
Divorce is both an ending and a beginning. Embrace the new opportunities and experiences post-divorce life affords you.
Have you always wanted to take photography class but never had the time? Do it now! Indulge your interests.
Find a new hobby or learn a new skill. Learn a new language, make your way through that booklist you’ve had for years, or join a club.
Spending time doing things you enjoy is a great way to pull yourself out of the fog of post-divorce trauma and begin being happy again.
4. Exercise and Eat Healthy
One of the easiest fallbacks in the midst of emotional trauma is eating and sleeping. Though a couple days of moping in bed are not going to kill you, it is important not to lose sight of your health.
Make a point of doing something active every day. Whether it’s a walk around the block or an hour lifting weights, every little bit counts.
Exercise releases endorphins, making you feel happier, more satisfied, and generally healthier. And when you are suffering from heartache, a little shot of happiness goes a long way.
In addition to exercising, continue (or start) to eat right. A large bowl of ice cream is fine now and then, but don’t become a comfort food junkie. Make sure you eat three well-balanced meals a day.
If you aren’t sure where to start, there are nutrition education programs you can follow, as well as other health and fitness resources online and in your local communities, to keep your wellness on track.
As you keep your body healthy, your heart and mind will follow soon.
5. Keep a Journal
It may sound cliché but writing down your thoughts and feelings is a therapeutic activity. After talking your friends’ ears off about your divorce, sometimes it is better to vent to your diary.
Write down your feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Share your deepest fears, your darkest thoughts, and even your hopes and dreams for the future.
The sheer act of writing these things down will help you to set those emotions free and release some of the hurt that lingers after divorce.
6. Don’t Feed Your Self-Pity
When you are wallowing in self-pity it is almost impossible to see the good in the world. Happiness is much less dependent on your situation than it is on your attitude.
Therefore, whatever perspective you feed, that is the reality you will experience. So feed the positive in your life! Divorce is hard enough without dragging yourself further into self-pity.
Whenever you start to feel yourself indulging the pity-monster, stop. Get off the couch, get moving, and practice positive thinking.
You don’t have to feel happy, but sitting around feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help.
7. Stick to Routine
Finally, rely on a routine.
Divorce is a traumatic experience that can turn your world upside down. Don’t make your life any more hectic by making other big changes. Avoid making big decisions (like a move or a new job) until you have had some time to recover.
Stick to your routine. It will help keep other aspects of your life feeling “normal” and give you some needed stability during a particularly unstable point in your life.
Moving on and bouncing back after a divorce takes time. No one thing will help you get there, but there are steps you can take to alleviate some of the pain and set your life in the right direction.
Take it one day at a time and remember that with all endings come new beginnings. Embrace those opportunities and start living your life.
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others.