Divorce means different things to different people. Common emotions range from fear, grief and anger to euphoria, freedom and excitement.
Kinda depends which side of the divorce you're on -- Leaver or Leavee.
And they often change at lightning speed.
Yet however much we want to deny it, getting a divorce (or ending a long-term cohabitation) can be an extremely stressful, painful time in anyone's life. Mishandling it can cause more damage to you, your family, your bank account and your kids (if you have them) than most people realize when they begin this process.
If your divorce is already a "done thing," there are three things you can do that REALLY will help you get over this faster. WARNING: Some of them seem counter-intuitive!
1. DON'T rush into -- or out of -- anything. Believe it or not, your brain is scrambled right now. You're under stress, even if it is "happy" stress. The first 12 months after a divorce, try not to remarry, move in with anyone else, give up on your kids, sell your house, quit your job, move out of the country, or do any other super-random, wild things that pop into your head. Hundreds of divorced people I know do some crazy action like that only to wake up at some point in the future and say, "WHAT was I thinking?!"
2. DO spend enormous amounts of time taking care of yourself. Under times of great change in our lives, sometimes we get overwhelmed and forget that it is our body and our life. Now's the time to take extreme care of your physical self -- eat right, get ample sleep, cut back on bad habits, exercise, drink more water, all that stuff. Experiment with what makes you feel vibrant! Have you always wanted to try being a vegan? Been planning to kick the smoking habit for a decade? Now's your chance! But don't stop there! People who thrive after a divorce are usually those who invest in talking to someone - a counselor, a therapist, a clergy person. (Hint: Not a friend who agrees with every bad thing you say about your ex!) Part of the reason the relationship ended IS your fault. Figure out what part and you'll open the door to a happier future with whomever you choose next. And don't forget your spiritual and mental life, too. Read a good book, take a class, go for more walks in nature, become the parent you always wanted to be. Now's your big chance to make major changes in YOU.
3. DON'T throw gas on the fire. Here are some basic things that will come back to bite you in the you-know-what: Bad mouthing your ex to the kids, family or mutual friends. Saying wicked, cruel things to your ex that should have been resolved long ago. Bringing up endless lists of things he/she did wrong. NOT hiring an attorney if conflict escalates and instead trying to do it yourself by either emotionally clobbering your former love or by just taking a beating out of your own sick sense of guilt.
Divorce gives you an truly awesome, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime chance to become the person you always wanted to become. Let yourself grow! Now is a great time to get healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritual and then, when the tempest has settled, make smart, healthy choices you can live with for the rest of your life.
For more tips and ideas on effectively managing your divorce and getting the most you can from this tumultuous time, click here.