As a young girl, you might have dreamed of what your wedding day would be like. You put flowers in your hair, maybe with a tiara and a makeshift vail. And you run around the house screaming “I DO! I DO!” Almost every little girl has masterminded the details of their wedding before they are even old enough to drive. There’s something magical and nostalgic about thinking and dreaming of what your day will be like. And not once during the time you start planning, to the moment you finally say “I DO” does it ever occur to you that divorce is in the future.
So how do you cope with divorce? People deal and cope in very different ways. Some may start a vicious cycle of destructive behavior ranging from binge drinking to promiscuous relationships, or worse, a new found drug addiction. This article will give you a few tips on learning how to cope after a divorce.
- Breathe…. Now I realize breathing may not be the first thing that would have come to your mind, but breathing is the single most important thing you can do in any stressful environment. Give yourself a 10 minute time out. Whether you take a walk, lay down, or merely close your eyes at your work station. Just breathe and try to relax. The mind can take a hold of you. Between the emotions you are feeling and working out the logistics of how to separate your assets, that is enough to make any sane person completely crazy. If you take the 10 minutes to focus on your breath you will find that after the allotted time, you will feel renewed and less stressed.
- Let your emotions flow. Some people have a harder time allowing their emotion to come freely. For others, it’s purely natural to cry on a whim. Crying or getting angry or even laughing at the situation are all healthy ways to release and grieve the relationship. Allow yourself to let out those emotions.
- Indulge in a Hobby or Interest. Whether you get decide to volunteer your time to a local charity or walk the aisles of the local flee markets for antiques, indulging in a hobby or interest will provide positive energy. It will put your thoughts at ease for at least the moments you are engaging your indulgence. The more time and energy that is spent on things that make you happy, the less time is spent on you thinking about your current situation.
- Change Your Vision. Whether you are in your 20’s or in your 50’s, your plans for your future are no longer set in stone. It might be time for a vision adjustment. Because even though you may have never thought you would be in this position, the fact is that now you are. Create an ongoing list of possible visions you may want for the future. Maybe log this into a journal so you can retrace the steps along the way and watch how you have progressed. Trust me, this isn’t an easy assignment, nor will it appear in an hour. Rather this will be a process that will evolve and eventually take on a life form of its own…so take some time to truly think about the endless possibilities you have for yourself and your future.
- You Are Not Alone. People typically are hard wired to be connected with others. Because of this fact and this fact alone, there is no better time than NOW to reach out. Reach out to your family and friends. Join a support group of other divorcees. No matter what the outcome, you must know that you are not alone on this new path of single-hood. The emotional roller coaster of the “hows and whys did this happen to me”, are completely valid and normal. Surround yourself with others that may understand your journey of being a newly single adult. Embrace the banter back and forth of the ups, the downs, and the uglies. You just might find out that you aren’t the only one to feel the way you do.
- Re-define You and Your World. WAKE UP!!!!! Your marriage may be over, but you aren’t! This may be a tender time for you. And with everything you have it may feel almost impossible to feel positive, but it is time to WAKE UP! It is time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get moving. Regardless of how long you and your spouse were married or together, relationships in general tend to start to define who we are or how we act and react in life. The most amazing and liberating feeling about what is happening now is that you get to re-define you…and who and what you have in your world. Start moving your ideas into action and start truly living for yourself. You will be so glad you did.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653