What am I doing?
“My life has been so wrapped up in this marriage and being a couple, I’m not sure I remember how to be me again.”
“I know I can’t keep on like this.”
“I’m just putting on a brave face and throwing myself into my career to keep myself very busy.”
“I’ve lost touch with the real me.”
“I’m not happy. It’s hard to remember back when I was happy. How did I get here?”
“I’ve tried so hard to make it work but I can’t any more.”
“Where do I begin to pick up the pieces?”
“Is divorce the right answer?”
This was the kind of conversation I had with myself when I was going through divorce. I speak to many women who have similar conversations. I wish I’d known then that I was not alone in my topsy-turvy world. I wish I could tell my younger self that there’s a better way.
I tried a lot of things to make my divorce experience easier and here are just three tips based on what I learned. I hope they help you.
Tip One — Seek help to navigate through the chaos of divorce
This is the number one thing I would recommend to reduce the feeling of isolation and learn that you’re not alone.
Establish a network of support for yourself—friends, family, co-workers—positive people who will stand by you and be there when you just need to talk. Leave those who judge or are negative behind for now. You can always pick up with them again, if you choose, when you’re feeling more like yourself.
Counselors and coaches can help with the personal journey. When I found the right person for me, she brought clarity and perspective to my situation, which made it much easier for me to consider options and make decisions. And don’t forget the kids, if you have them. They need supporters, too.
There are divorce mediators to help avoid the court system. And, of course, there are divorce attorneys to help with the legal process, if that becomes necessary. There are financial advisers, real estate specialists—you name what you need, they are there to support you.
The challenge is to find supporters whose advice and guidance resonates highly with you. The decisions you make as a result of their input should feel right for you—after all, they are ultimately your choices and decisions to make. So, make sure the advisers you engage have your best interests at heart.
Tip Two — Give yourself time
Time to think; time to talk things through; time to BE with your thoughts.
Divorce is one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life. According to many studies, it’s second only to the death of a spouse or child. I believe that!
Forcing decisions while you’re in this highly emotional state—confusion, doubt, anger, frustration, concern, worry, self-deprecation, defeat, stuck-ness—only clouds your thinking, depletes your options and makes decisions harder.
So, give yourself time to work through the emotions. Don’t rush into making choices and decisions that don’t yet feel right. When you’re thinking more clearly, you’ll know that the time is right because your intuition will come into play. Your inner wisdom will speak more loudly than the doubting voices in your head. That will be a good time to start testing out your options.
Tip Three—Take care of YOU
Once you’ve created your network of supporters, coach and advisers, make it a priority to set time aside to take care of yourself—this will also help you with tip #2.
Self-care can come in many forms—does exercise help you to de-stress? What about a facial or massage? Lunch with a friend? A hobby that takes your mind off things, one in which you can lose yourself for a while? Do you meditate?
Whatever form you choose to take care of you, be sure to schedule time on your calendar to give yourself a mental and emotional break from the day-to-day worries about your divorce and life in general. We all need a break once in a while.
If you can manage it, do something for yourself at least once a day—even if that is just to take a quiet bubble bath at home without interruption. Or a 15-minute walk to clear your head. Or ten minutes to play with your favorite fur-baby.
If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up. Find a way to do it the next day. Avoid letting too many days go by without doing something to put you at the top of your priority list.
It will help to start thinking of yourself as the “Leading Lady” of your life. Who knows best what you need in order to rest and recharge than you? So, who is better suited to ensure you become your own priority? I can’t think of anyone better than you to take on that role—even if it feels odd at first. Try it. Leading Lady, step up and play the role until it fits you like a glove.
Making the transition…
…from (unhappy) married lady to a centered, empowered single woman can be a tough road. It can take some time depending on the complexity of the circumstances. And the reality is there is often great forward progress fraught with backward slides before the momentum shifts and you feel like you’re on the road to the new YOU. That’s normal…there is nothing wrong with you!
Patience, friends and good advisers, and taking care of your Leading Lady will be three of the keys to moving forward through your divorce transition and onto a path that offers you clarity and empowering thoughts.
You are not alone—many of us have endured the chaos and thrived to tell about it—reach out. We’re here for you!
From my “thriving” heart to yours …
P.S. If you’re a divorced professional woman and would like to share how these tips have helped you or tell us of other ideas that work, as well as to get support for that journey you’re on, please join the conversation in our exclusive, by-invitation-only Facebook group called Thrive after Divorce: Your Journey Begins.
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