If there's ever a time you need a little distraction in your life, it's during the divorce process. That's why we launched our Divorce Care Package series. With each post, we'll show you what things -- books, movies, recipes -- helped others relieve stress in the midst of divorce, in the hopes that a few of their picks will serve you well, too. Want to share what got you through your divorce? Email us at email@example.com or tweet @HuffPost Divorce
Dating coach Lisa Copeland believes everything happens for a reason -- even really crappy divorces.
So instead of jumping right back into dating after her divorces, she paused and took the time to process the pain.
"I did not date for almost a year after both of my divorces," she told us. "As painful as it is and it can be really painful, the healing journey ended up teaching me so much about myself, men and relationships. During those periods, it was important to gather the pieces of myself that I’d lost or never known when I became the other half of a married couple."
Below, Copeland shares six things that helped her heal and rediscover herself after her divorces.
"As I started putting a single life together, I began asking my married friends if they knew other single women. Almost everyone did and these women were grateful when I’d call and say, 'Would you like to do something this weekend?' I made some great friends during that time who were my support system when I started dating. And since I went out almost every weekend, I didn’t feel like I was missing the social part of my life even though I was single."
"Journaling became really important for having a place to dump feelings like grief, sadness, anger and even guilt over feeling a sense of freedom. I’d buy pretty journals that resonated with me. My favorite ones had inspirational sayings and quotes in them. I also tapped into my creativity – another area of myself I’d abandoned. I started by buying an inexpensive keyboard and began taking piano lessons, which I’d abandoned as a child but became intrigued by as an adult. A decade later, I’m learning how to write music. I’d always wanted to paint so I signed up for a watercolor class. Although I was often a perfectionist about the process, I discovered an activity that brought me peace. Plus, I was pretty good at it! I also play bridge. When I started playing I thought, this might be a place to meet intelligent men my age. Or course, it’s not. But it is a great way to keep the mind active and get together with girlfriends. I still love playing."
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"After my first divorce, a friend encouraged me to get some much needed pampering and nurturing. She and I splurged on a spa day together. It really felt great having someone just take care of me. In the past, I’d neglected myself, putting spouses and children’s needs ahead of my own. It felt funny being so generous to myself but this first step helped me realize that I could only be there for others if I was first there for me."
"Within months of separating, a beautiful black Lab named Gracie came into my life. When you live alone, it can be hard to come home to an empty house. I was fortunate to still have my daughter at home when I divorced but when she went off to college, having someone greet me at the door with loving eyes was exactly what I needed. Gracie opened my world to walks in the park, being outside in all kinds of weather and a lot of unconditional love and bonding."
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"I remember sobbing over the movie 'Must Love Dogs' with Diane Lane. She met her boyfriend in the movie, John Cusack, at an online dating site. I’d met my second husband online so it was really painful to watch this couple be so happy while my marriage was falling apart. After that disaster, I focused on fluffy romantic comedies that made me laugh or artsy movies by independent directors that made me ponder a life and world that had nothing to do with divorce, dating or falling in love."
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