Finally. It’s quiet. Bright orange leaves are blowing off the trees as I look out the large windows of my living room. There’s a chill in the air. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s November or because he just moved out.

No matter the reason, I needed to warm my space. After lighting the logs in the fireplace, I sat on the couch with my arms wrapped around my knees, resting my chin, pulling the afghan over me. I closed my eyes and let warm tears roll down my cheeks. I’m feeling relief—and sad at the same time. It’s like I can breathe freely for the first time in a long time—and I’m scared, too. I’m safe at last. And I’m alone.

As the two cats snuggle closely, they seem to sense that things have changed. The tension in the air is gone. The silence feels peaceful rather than strained with unsaid, hurtful words. There is emptiness, yet we’re relaxed in it—for now.

Once the tears subside, I start pondering what it’s going to be like this time around. What did I learn from my previous divorce that I can use this time to make my recovery easier?

The first thought that occurred was: Divorce is not my failure—it does not define me.

So, how could I start defining the new me? By taking care of myself, for a change.

I learned that self-care is not self-ish. In fact, it is essential that I am at my best so I can give my best to those I care about. No one can take better care of me than I can. It’s my new commitment to me.

Tips for Self-care during Divorce Recovery

  • Trust that your emotions are normal. Whether you’re feeling grief, sadness, loneliness, anger or fear—allow yourself to feel the feeling. The emotions are evidence of your healing. You have to feel them to heal them.I reached out—I had a coach and talked to other women who were going through the same thing. They created a safe space for me to experience the feelings, talk about them and learn how to control them, so they didn’t crop up at inopportune times. I knew I wasn’t alone.
  • Trust that you can control your emotions. It takes time and practice to learn to control your emotions. But once you do, it’s okay to take off the mask that declares “I’m just fine!”—because you are. You are becoming stronger and you’re beginning to relax—it shows on your face. I tested the waters at work, where I most wanted to be in control of my emotions. I kept my mask handy just in case I needed it—soon it was collecting dust in the corner. That’s when I knew I could choose when and where to let my emotions out.

For more tips, download all 5 of my T.R.U.S.T tips HERETRUST Tips opt-in: T.R.U.S.T. Tips:

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P.S. If you’d like to join a group of awesome women who support each other on this journey through divorce, please join us at Thrive after Divorce: Your Journey Begins on Facebook.

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