Your divorce is now final. You made it through to the other side. You have settled on your co-parenting plan, divided your assets, crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s. Now what? For many, the end of a divorce can feel like a tragic loss. Life as you once knew it is over, it’s the end of a chapter and the end of an important part of your life.
But life does go on even after divorce and, if you create it, life can be even better. If you take the time and effort to process and glean the lessons from this challenging period in your life, you can become a better, stronger, more actualized version of yourself.
Below are five steps to creating a life you love after your divorce.
Feel and process your feelings.
Divorce is truly a loss, and is considered by many to be the second most stressful life transition that people can experience, next to the death of a spouse. It is important to allow yourself to go through the grieving process. Many of us are familiar with the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Obviously, the goal is to finally arrive at acceptance, where we can be at peace with our current circumstances, and begin to move on.
The stages vary for everyone after a divorce, and are unique to the individual. Some pass through all the stages step by step, and some will skip steps or get stuck in stages. The key is to recognize and accept where you are in the process, and do what you need to do to move through it towards acceptance. Tuning into your feelings without resistance is helpful for progressing through the grief process.
Exercise: When negative feelings arise, tune into them, identify where you feel it in your body, breath into it and consciously release it. Try not to get caught up in the story.
Determine who you want to be.
Often, this starts with remembering who you once were. Now that you are no longer a “we” it is time to remember who you are as “me” and create a new identity based on that. What parts of the old you do you want to revive, and which are better left behind? How do you want to show up in the world? In order to determine this, you’ll need to do a little soul searching.
Take time to turn inward, get to know yourself again and determine who you will be in this next chapter.
Journal Exercise: Describe in full detail the person you would like to become. Who are you? How do you show up in the world? What do you wear? What do you eat? What do you believe? Who are your friends? What are your hobbies? How do you take care of yourself?
“Creating your vision map for your new life involves setting your intention for what you want, how you want life to look, what you want to achieve and accomplish in this new phase.”– Lissy Des Voigne | Divorce Coach at Divorce Strategies Northwest
Create your new vision map.
Creating your vision map for your new life involves setting your intention for what you want, how you want life to look, what you want to achieve and accomplish in this new phase. Rather than living your life on autopilot, you create a clear vision of what you want out of life.
Do not focus on the how, your job is to decide what you want, how you want to feel, what changes you would like to make, and then you allow that new creation to unfold for you in its own time. Stay focused on the vision, hold the vision, and continually take the steps that are presented to you to support that vision.
Journal Exercise: Describe your new ideal life in full detail. What does it look like, sound like, feel like? Give as much detailed description as you can. Hint: use lots of adjectives, until you can truly feel what your new life will be like.
Take time for yourself daily.
It’s always important to take time out for yourself for self-care. As you transition through and out of the divorce process, it becomes even more essential. Self-care means different things to different people, but usually involves caring for yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Taking time to eat well and move your body.
Being gentle on yourself, giving yourself time to fill your cup with those activities that you love. Whether that is taking a walk, going to a yoga class or getting a pedicure, this is the time to give yourself that extra grace and TLC, to keep yourself calm and replenished.
Exercise: Make a list of the activities that make you feel great and refill your cup, and make sure you are finding time for at least one activity per day.
Let go of the old.
Not only is this a great time to clear out physical clutter from the past, but it is also a great opportunity to clear out the emotional and mental clutter. If you find yourself carrying around a lot of anger or resentment towards your ex, start finding a way to let that go and clear that out. Forgiveness is such an important step in creating a bright new future.
It takes energy to create a new life. You cannot open up to new opportunities and experiences if you’re dragging around old resentments. If you find that you are stuck because you are angry about things that happened in the past, it is time to work through those feelings and begin to let them go.
Exercise: Write a letter to anyone who has wronged you in the past. Tell this person everything that upset you and angered you, list all of their transgressions until you have emptied it all out. Once you feel clear, that you have gotten everything off your chest, burn the letter.
Your Trusted Partner
If you and your ex-spouse are struggling with co-parenting, or perhaps you’re in the initial divorce process, we’re here for you.
We’re here for you. We help you consider your options, arm you with practical information, and strategize with you how to navigate your divorce. Feel free to get in touch with us; we are always available to help!