The period after divorce is chaotic as demands fight for attention and everything seems to require a decision and an action. It’s overwhelming with its ability to impact every single facet of your life. And it’s confusing as you struggle to make the right decisions when your emotions are smothering your abilities to think rationally.
So here’s something simple. Straightforward. And yet still helpful.
I call it the rule of three.
Rule 1 – Find Something to Release
In the last few years of my first marriage, I made extra money tutoring. I spent up to 15 hours a week teaching math after my day job of teaching math. Accepting the jobs had become habit. And then the marriage ended suddenly and I had to cancel the tutoring jobs that I had while I worked to find my equilibrium.
In those weeks, I realized that tutoring was something that I no longer wanted to do. In addition to becoming a habit, it had become a burden. A drain on my energy and attitude. And so I let it go. And I immediately felt a little better.
Divorce is an opportunity to examine what is in your life and to discard that which no longer serves you. Find one thing that you’re doing out of habit, out of concern for how others see you or because you feel like you “should” do it. And then release it.
Rule 2 – Find Something to Reintroduce
My ex hated the smell of pancake syrup and bubble gum. And so out of respect for him, I eliminated these foods (okay, food-like compounds) from my diet.
After he left, I found that frozen waffles were one of the few foods that I could choke down. With plenty of syrup, of course. And I enthusiastically chewed the pinkest, fruitiest bubble gum within the confines of the car.
Identify something that you have let go of or allowed to slide from your life that you used to enjoy. What have you eliminated because of time, responsibilities or because of your ex? Find it and then reintroduce it.
Rule 3 – Find Something New to Try
I have always been a doer. I struggle with slowing down and simply being. A few months after my marriage ended, I decided to challenge the view I had of myself and I booked a three night meditation and yoga retreat. To add to the test, I left all of my books – my preferred method of escape – behind.
It was a difficult few days, but it was also a transformative and incredibly powerful experience. I met a fear head-on, shook its hand and discovered that it wasn’t so bad after all.
Reflect on those things that you have told yourself that you “can’t do” or “won’t do.” And then pick one and try it.
So that’s it, the rule of three –
One to free in order to create space,
One to bring back to help you reconnect to self
And one to investigate to teach you to be curious rather than afraid.