As published in The Florida Villager
Divorce is difficult, stressful, exhausting and at times, downright ugly. Here are 12 great things to keep in mind as you travel down this path.
- Spiritual practice- implement a spiritual practice like yoga, meditation, vision board or a morning devotional time. Keep a gratitude list.
- Strengthen your faith- sometimes when bad things happen to good people, they question why and shrink from their faith. Going through a divorce is not the time to turn away but to run towards it. Whatever your faith is, it will give you strength that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Journal– keeping a journal is helpful in many ways. It is a tool to manage your thoughts and feelings, a way to reflect and revisit on situations and how you felt at the time. It is a great way to see if you have grown through this process. You can vent without consequences and pour your heart out without fear of judgment.
- Get organized- organization is key to feeling in control. If you have children, have a big schedule posted somewhere so everyone knows where they will be at any given time and have a system for after school, homework and signing of papers, keep your divorce papers in a binder with categories labeled. Some people like to renest during this time and clean things out of the house and reorganize it.
- Self-care- this is so important and an area that most women put on the back burner. If you are not healthy physically and mentally, you will make poor decisions, not be present for your children and not feel good about yourself. Take time to do whatever makes you calm, happy and feel good. For some it’s a bath and a book or a spa day or a game of tennis. You decide and put it in your calendar as if it were a doctor or attorney appointment.
- Support system- everyone going through a divorce needs a support system but make sure the people you choose are positive, uplifting and have good advice and not vengeful advice. Sometimes family and friends are too close to the situation emotionally and might not be the best ones to go to. Seek out a divorce coach or therapist if you feel that this is the case.
- Restrain your pen and tongue- Bill Wilson fro AA said, “Nothing pays off like restraint of pen and tongue.” No truer words were spoken when going through a divorce. The worst thing you can do is shoot off an email or pick up the phone when you’re upset with your ex. It might feel terrific for a few minutes to give him/her a piece of your mind but the effects could be detrimental for a very long time. This is true especially when you are approaching mediation.
- Acceptance- this is by far one of the hardest things to get a handle on but it’s the one that will give you peace. Accept where you are, accept your part in the demise of your marriage, accept that things will and need to change, accept that your children will have a whole other family you are not a part of and accept that everything happens for a reason.
- Don’t be afraid of the ‘fishbowl’ effect- you get divorced and suddenly it seems everything you do is discussed and criticized by others. You could be doing the exact same things you did when you were married, but all of sudden because you’re single it’s talked about. Shrug it off. 50% of marriages end in divorce so the chances are good someone will take your place in the gossip circle soon.
- Grow a pair of b—- this goes hand in hand with #9. Speak up for yourself but you don’t have to defend yourself. Also, most soon to be exes try bullying and some even continue after the judge has stamped your decree. Set your boundaries and stick to them.
- Assemble your team- people want cheap divorces so they skimp and then wonder why they have poor agreements and walk away from the process exhausted physically and an emotional wreck. Hire a good attorney and not a friend who is not a family law attorney. Big, big mistake if you do. Get a good accountant on board, a child specialist for your children and a coach to help you navigate the legal and emotional process as well as trouble shoot any post divorce issues.
- BELIEVE!- in yourself, your inner strength, hope for a better life post divorce and that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to.