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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Lisa Fraser-Underhill married her husband in 1992 at the age of 23, she firmly believed she had found her soulmate. Two decades later, the soon-to-be divorced 47-year-old lawyer subscribes to a new belief.
Below, the mom of two shares the six things that helped her through the split, including her friends and one life-changing vacation.
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"Back in May of last year, when I reached the point of no return, I decided that my two kids and I needed to escape to the sun. I sold some stocks and shares and booked a holiday to Cyprus, an island in the eastern Mediterranean. It was important that we traveled somewhere we'd never been before to create new memories. After diving in the sea and spending so much time in the swimming pool, my son developed an ear infection. A mother and her adult daughter staying in the hotel overheard me trying to comfort my baby (I must point out he is a strapping, 6-foot-tall 16-year-old guy but he is still my munchkin). She very kindly went to her room and came back with some painkillers. We then spent a day away from the pool and in the evening when we went down for dinner, her daughter said, 'Oh! There you are. My mom was asking whether I had seen the nice family -- she missed seeing you by the pool today!' It was at this point that I had what Oprah calls an 'aha! moment.' It made me feel so good to hear we were seen as 'nice family!' There may only be three of us but we were still a family."
"Changing your thought process and views after divorce is never easy. My friends have helped me do this in so many ways. They've been there with coffee, wine and patience when I've needed to talk about the same thing over and over again. They've given me gifts that I wouldn’t feel I could justify buying for myself in recent years (sacrifice and guilt seem to come with the stretch marks of motherhood). Their kindness made me realize that sisterhood is similar to footwear in some ways; it comes in all styles. There's the Timberlands: always there and ready to protect you. The stilettos: ready to make you feel so much better for a while. The loafers: so sensible and practical. And of course, the Birkenstocks: always game to talk it through, even at 2:00 a.m. And the real beauty of these friendships? All of my friends would be willing to pull up some Wellington boots and dance with me in the rain if I were to ask."
"A particular movie that helped me was 'Larry Crowne.' It's a gentle story of self-discovery rather than re-invention. It made me realize that you won't always feel whatever you're feeling now."
The Big Career Move
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"I completed my studies and I am now qualified as a child protection lawyer. It's sometimes personally challenging when I see families in similar circumstances to those we were in. That said, when I have to make crucial decisions about their futures, I have faith that my experience means I have empathy for people in these difficult situations."
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"Some days, picking the children up from school and the thought of going home and setting only three plates for dinner felt like too heavy a burden. It was on these nights that we would go to a local steak restaurant, always asking to be seated in a booth. This made the 'empty' fourth seat seem less prominent. We would fill the gap in the booth with our coats and bags. Then we would all share our 'best bit, bad bit and funny bit' of the day. This was something that the children and I came up with to help us talk through our feelings. Each of us would take a turn, beginning with describing the best part of our day. We would then go on to the bad bit; this was sometimes difficult and would occasionally cause us to cry. It was important that we always ended with the funny bit of the day -- something that had happened that had made us smile. Tears would then transform to tears of laughter. You have to have a little rain along with the sunshine to create a rainbow."
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"Oprah Winfrey, Iyanla Vanzant and Maya Angelou all 'spoke' to me. Through their quotes, thoughts and personal experiences, they each helped me reach the point where the end of my marriage was not my failure; it is not even an event: It is part of my journey. This Maya Angelou quote spoke to me especially. I have to accept what is. I must let go of all that was. Most of all, I have to have faith in what will be."
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