Divorce is a pruning of your life. Limbs are removed and the whole is pared back, perhaps to its base, leaving only the bare minimum needed to sustain life. There are many areas where it is prudent to downsize to simplify and remove excess stressors, focusing only on the most critical needs.
But divorce is more than the removal of a life; it is the beginning of a new life. It is the intersection of loss and opportunity. And even though there are some areas where contraction makes sense, there are other areas where you can expand and grow.
The following are 7 areas you may want to consider upsizing during divorce:
We all start out life passionate about something. And then, over time and with increasing responsibilities, that passion is often relegated to the dusty shelves as it is replaced by more practical affairs. Now is the time to dust them off. Your passions help to reunite you with your core self, reminding you of who you were before the marriage. They provide welcome relief from the pain as you enter into a state of flow, acting as both distraction and sustenance for the soul.
Pick up that untuned instrument. Unearth your old paints. Sign up for a softball team. Brew your own beer. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it is something that you truly love to do. So leave the excuses and just do it.
Divorce is draining and exhausting. Maybe you normally balance taking care of kids, pets, coworkers and aging parents with barely a blink. It’s okay to take a break. To ask for help. To allow others to carry part of the load. So that you can take time for yourself. No guilt allowed. Until your oxygen mask is firmly affixed and you are breathing deeply, you can’t do much for others. So, carve out time for yourself and then take it.
Divorce can make the future a scary place. The well-laid plans were washed away by tears and the new blueprints have not yet been drawn up. That’s okay. There’s no rush. Yet even when you don’t know where you’re going, you can still start making some investments in your future. These may be financial, seeding your own savings or retirement. The investments may be in the form of education, starting a new degree or certification program that will open up new doors. Maybe it’s taking the first steps towards completing your first triathlon. Or even something as small as planting a tree that will shade your favorite spot on the patio. You will have a full life after divorce. Start funding it now.
This is an area that may need both upsizing and downsizing. While you may use this time to remove friends that no longer fit, divorce is also a great time to make new friends. I know it may feel overwhelming, especially if you are of a more introverted nature. But the effort is worth it. New friends introduce novelty and excitement. They give you an opportunity to try on your new persona and shed the skin of “the divorcing one.” The making of and keeping of friends require that you remain engaged in life. They encourage you to get out of your house and out of your comfort zone. Some of these friendships may be lasting and others may come and go. That’s okay. Let your friendships evolve as you do.
There is a positive association between movement and mood. It’s easy to feel depressed when fully couch-locked. It’s much harder when peddling for your life in a spin class, shaking your booty in Zumba or power-walking through the park. If you had an exercise habit before the divorce, take this opportunity to upgrade it. Give yourself a new challenge. Try a variation or increase your mileage. If you normally go at it alone, see what a group class is like. If you gravitate towards the crowd, experiment with a solo venture.
If you haven’t been exercising, this is your chance to start. Here are some ideas to help you make movement a habit and create lasting change. And, if you’re unsure where to start, this list can give you some pointers about which type of exercise may be best for you.
Feeling low? You just need to supersize your confidence. I know it’s hard to do when you feel like you’ve been kicked and then kicked again. The good news? – Just the process of divorce serves to build your confidence. And in the meantime, here are 21 ways, both large and small, that can boost your confidence. Everything starts with conviction. And that faith comes from trusting and believing in yourself. You’re awesome. You can do this.
Life is a series of choices. And each decision we make eliminates the possibility of other paths. Divorce is a do-over in many ways. Some of those dreams that were sacrificed for earlier choices may be on the table again. See your dreams as a type of brainstorming. Allow them to flow without judgement or censorship. Explore the possibilities and alternates. Don’t rush into making decisions; enjoy the fantasies for a time. Expand your potential. And then act on it.