Getting back on your feet after divorce

After the distress and upheaval of a divorce, getting back on your feet can seem rather daunting. There are often serious legal and financial matters that distract and consume your energy, but it’s also important to address other areas that might need your attention, such as your personal and emotional well-being.

Let’s look at ways to get back on your feet:

– Self-esteem and confidence regularly take a battering before and during a divorce. Many people feel like they’re a failure, that they have let themselves and others down. Disappointment often features too. Counselling and hypnotherapy can help with understanding what went wrong, help you learn from the experience and become positive and stronger as a person. Therapy can help you heal, recover and hopefully avoid repeating unwanted negative patterns in the future.

– Standing on your own two feet and becoming more independent is an important next step to take. Over time, couples often share friends, social interests and decision-making, so taking these steps on one’s own can feel scary at first. Many couples have their respective his and her jobs, so one may deal with the finances, car and household maintenance whilst the other is responsible for cooking and domestic chores. Let friends and family help, maybe ask if you’re struggling, take things a step at a time, keep a sense of proportion, laugh at your mistakes – all these tips can make the transition a little easier.

– Establishing a new social life is often difficult in the beginning, even when you’ve maintained separate interests. Time and money may now be limited, children may be unsettled and not want to be separated from you, plus children and friends may struggle with divided loyalties. There’s no need to feel pressured to progress faster than you’re comfortable. Take time to settle into your new lifestyle. Accept invitations for coffee or dinner, get used to being single and gradually build friendships as a person in your own right.

– Aim to keep yourself relevant and up to date. Watch the news, follow a little popular TV, start paying attention to the way you dress, maybe book a make-up session. Invest in your self-confidence, because you’re worth it.

– Money will most likely be tighter. You may be ready to socialise more now that you’re single, but you and your single friends may be operating on stricter budgets and need to be careful with spending. Get out your polishes and treatments and plan a pamper evening at your girlfriends’ homes, or throw supper parties where everyone contributes a dish and/or bottle. Dust off your cards or board games and suggest competition evenings; I know several people who started games evenings during winter months and enjoyed them so much they became a regular event.

– Home may feel very different after a divorce, after all the arguments, distress and trauma of the breakup. You may want or have to relocate and need to commit energy and enthusiasm into making a new home for yourself and any children. Or financial considerations may make selling the marital home prohibitive. Sometimes it’s viable, in the short-term, to continue living at home, especially if children and their education needs accommodating. Doing so allows time to settle, heal and decide on the next step. But it is often not the most satisfactory long term solution.

– Possessions can be a dilemma. Keeping items of significance or special sentimental value can be a mixed blessing. You hear of heated discussions about who keeps what, but often getting rid of things can be both cathartic and symbolic. Do you really want to remember the time when you bought that picture or television set every time you enter the room?

– Sleeping alone can feel strange at first, but it’s amazing how quickly people get used to occupying an entire double bed when they previously managed fine on their ‘own’ side. Encourage the readjustment and make your bedroom a haven where you celebrate your new situation. Now you can open/close the windows, change the curtains, get rid of the hard mattress. Put some lavender on your pillow, take a relaxing bath and get cozy in your bed. You can even wear your flannelette nightie if you want!

– Work often becomes more important. It may be essential to earn money or you now feel motivated to achieve something special for yourself. Get help in re-writing your CV, investigate career options or re-training. Is it opportune to consider a fresh start and look at a new career path, something you’ve always wanted to do? If you can, use the time as a catalyst for change. After all, everything’s already packed in boxes!

Why not choose to seize the moment and make positive changes for a better life. Get back on your feet and appreciate the new start.

Susan Leigh, Altrincham & Cheshire Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Relationship Counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She’s author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

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