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Divorce can certainly be expensive financially, but no matter how successful the person is, the highest costs are usually emotional and psychological. It is essential to begin the healing process to avoid snowball effects upon physical and mental health, business decisions and the genuine ability to show up and proficiently run your life and business.
Getting through a divorce involves rewiring the body, mind and spirit; the deep work is personal and requires effort before differences can be felt and seen. There is no set time frame for the work, and it often involves guidance, but it usually gets easier with time and commitment.
Here are five ways to begin the healing journey and create a new life after divorce.
1. Put yourself first
Whether you are good at putting yourself first or not, this tool may feel different when related to divorce. Since divorce is a trauma, it can come with many feelings, like sadness, regret, anger, frustration and even anxiety or depression. When lawyers are involved, these feelings can be magnified if the split becomes contentious.
During this time, it is imperative to make time for yourself, away from work and responsibilities. This can be as simple as waking up 20 minutes early to meditate, go on a run, take a walk in nature or whatever makes you feel grounded. Learn to spend this “me” time alone, without a phone or electronic devices, to establish and deepen feelings of self-love.
Do not fear being alone, as it genuinely allows tuning into feelings and sensations to get to know yourself and create your new life. By making an effort to take time for yourself to grow and heal, the personal costs stirred by emotions and your mental state will be minimized.
2. Let go
Letting go is diving deep into whether negativity is blocking one’s ability to live the best life. By surrendering the connection with people, beliefs, ideals and behaviors that do not elevate personal happiness, we can focus our choices on creating a more fulfilling life.
This involves tweaking the mindset to understand that culture, religion and society often negatively portray divorce and that we do not have to subscribe to these beliefs. It is important to recognize that many of these false “truths” have been ingrained into our own belief systems since we were children.
True happiness means not focusing on how others or the “rules” dictate how life should be lived but instead learning to trust what comes from the heart. Once we learn to be governed by our own intuition and desires, we lessen the costs of divorce in multiple ways.
3. Support networks
Although many of us feel we can figure everything out by ourselves, the fact is that support systems are a basic necessity to existence, especially during divorce. Finding the right people on which to rely is paramount to happiness, allows for successful healing and lessens the non-financial costs of divorce by helping to boost the inner strength and focus on the self. However, often humans have the wrong people in their support networks, so a big part of the journey is discovering which people will lift you and celebrate your decisions instead of telling you how they believe your life should be lived.
Granted, there are always people who want to offer support but may not see things in a positive light, and some who are incapable of letting others make their own decisions (such as family members who come from older generational mindsets), but it IS possible to keep these people in the support network as long as boundaries are set. The key is finding like-minded people to form the backbone of your support team.
When most people think of forgiveness in divorce, it involves forgiving an ex- or soon-to-be ex-spouse, which is necessary to prevent falling into a victim state, full of blame and shame. The victim mindset brings our energy and self-worth down and thus is a high cost of divorce. It cannot promote healing because thoughts are controlled by negative perceptions and emotions instead of positive ones.
The other aspect of forgiveness comes from forgiving the self, which tends to be more difficult. Part of this work involves letting go, as discussed above; it is important to understand that we are not bad, wrong or immoral for getting divorced. Not only is forgiving oneself an act of self-love, but it helps prevent undesirable emotional and psychological tolls and leads instead to personal growth.
5. Take care of your body
Our bodies are our temples, and although we’ve all heard and understand this concept, it is especially true when it comes to getting through divorce. Many studies show trauma can affect bodies physically and mentally/emotionally. These problems can exacerbate disease, pain and other health complications, so staying healthy and exercising during the difficult times, even when it feels impossible to motivate, is a necessary part of healing. Staying healthy also prevents the non-financial costs of divorce from piling up, enabling the discovery of a blissful new life.
Addiction is also heightened when dealing with divorce, making it necessary to curb habits like drinking, binge eating or taking drugs to alleviate emotions that may be difficult to control. Finding time to ground oneself and make healthy choices not only keeps our bodies clean but also affects our mental state and the spirit — our inner compass. These steps to good health can provide clarity toward creating a new life post-divorce; what we imagine is easier to achieve.
The ideas mentioned in this article encompass only part of the divorce healing process, and there are many other tools to utilize. The most important concept is to understand that finding a new life and happiness after divorce IS possible by committing to healing, thereby preventing the personal costs of divorce from escalating. With a little guidance, there is no limit to what can be achieved.