A Day-By-Day Survival Guide to Get You Through the First Month of an Unwanted Divorce, Part 2
Click here to read how to get through days 1-10!
Breathe. In times of trauma and transition, it’s all-too-easy to limit the breath. Set aside some time, sit or lie down in a safe and comfortable space and invite the breath in. Put one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and feel them expand.
You are learning to breathe again.
Watch your words.
Be careful what you say to others. Once it is uttered, it cannot be unsaid. Speak what you feel. Give voice to your fears. Try not to lash out in blame.
Be mindful of what you say to yourself. The words we say to others have influence. The words we say to ourselves have power. To thine own self be kind.
And when you slip up (and you WILL slip up), be gentle with yourself. And vow to keep working at getting better.
Take note of your support system. Who and what do you have in place to help you through the next several months? Are there any gaps? Brainstorm how to fill them in.
Compose a message to your primary supporters. Let them know specifically what they can do to help and also communicate anything you don’t want from them.
Get outside. You’ve spent two weeks feeling like your world is over. Get into the environment (I don’t care if it’s too hot/ too cold/ too wet – just do it!) and observe the natural cycles and the grand scale of life.
Your life isn’t over. It’s a season change. A painful and sudden one. But a change, not an end.
Give yourself permission to grieve. You may feel as though you don’t have the right to mourn because everyone involved is still alive. You may feel as though you have not earned the right to be sad because you were somehow not enough. You may feel pressure and blame from others for “failing” at marriage.
That’s all bullocks.
Divorce is a loss not only of the past but of the imagined future. And it hurts like hell.
Lose yourself. Allow yourself to be fully consumed by something – a book, a movie, a Netflix binge, a birthday party, a day at the zoo with the kids.
For a few hours, set aside reality and just be in the moment. When the intrusive thoughts come, gently push them away with a promise to attend to them later. If you’re afraid they’ll ruin the day, set aside some time before the escape to cry yourself dry. I promise, it helps.
Tackle the task you’ve been putting off. Maybe this is starting to pack some items. Maybe it’s telling the kids. Or maybe it’s some paperwork the lawyer has asked you to assemble.
Divorce is full of unsavory assignments. And as with anything, procrastination only prolongs the dread. Striking that one thing off you to-do list will help you feel a little lighter. A little more hopeful.
Move. Whether you’re vibrating with anxious energy or you feel drained of all vitality, exercise will help you feel better. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You’re not looking to win any awards or even to commit to a program. Just move.
Go for a walk, take a yoga or Zumba class, or even just spend some intentional time stretching your body. When we’re stressed, the mind and the body disconnect. Make the intention of the day to begin to reconnect your mind and your body.
You don’t have to wait until you are healed to begin living. There are smiles to be found amongst the tears.
So today, find your smile again. You may have to hunt for it. The effort is worth it.
You have lost so much. You are hurting and scared. Lost and lonely.
But that is not all you are and all you have.
Write a gratitude list (nothing radical yet, that comes much later), enumerating all that you currently have in your life to be thankful for.
Post the list where you see every morning. And read it as you begin each day.
There is beauty still in your life. Embrace it.