Divorce can be devastating. It is a wrecking ball hitting a supporting pillar of your life and you get to watch that pillar crumble away bit by bit leaving you feeling unsupported on shaky, unfamiliar ground. You may find yourself unsure of who you are and clueless as to how you will ever find a path forward.
When I went through my divorce, my world was wrecked. The hand I was used to holding was no longer there and dreams of togetherness were uprooted and left to die. My partner and best friend was suddenly gone and I was crushed emotionally, mentally, and financially. I felt alone and something of a stranger to myself. I wondered how I was going to get through.
Amid the murky feelings of loss, anger, sadness, and confusion, divorce is crystal clear in its message – it is time for change. Ready or not. Divorce is a transition, and like any transition in life, it pushes you out of the familiar and forces you to find a new path forward.
But how do you find that path forward when everything feels bleak? You can abdicate your choice and simply go with the flow – the do nothing, default choice of business- as-usual. Keep your head low and just get through. This default choice may seem like the easy one because it asks very little of you. In the long run though, nothing ventured is nothing gained and the opportunity that your transition offers you for transformation will have been squandered in favor of the status quo.
On the other hand, you can consciously choose your new path. This approach offers transformation though not without some hard work. The conscious path asks you to look honestly at yourself and to take responsibility for your choices. It expects you to be courageous and feel your raw feelings – the ones you desperately may want to ignore and pretend don’t exist. The conscious path requires you to forego mindless and numbing activities such as overeating, alcohol, isolation, and other distractions.
While the conscious path seems harder because it asks more of you, it ends up creating greater ease in your life. By consciously loving yourself through your difficult transition and healing the wounds opened by your divorce, you move forward from the old you to the new, transformed you – the one who is ready for the next chapter of your life.
Here are the 5 tools that helped me stay aware during divorce and create my conscious path forward. May they help you in your time of transition.
Sleep. You need it now more than ever. Sleep is the #1 way to relieve stress. Go to bed early and get a solid 8 hours of sleep – or more – each night. I often take a warm Epsom salt bath or foot bath before bed to relax the body for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Feel your feelings. Often, we try to avoid painful feelings. Don’t. Feelings are meant to be felt. The more you allow yourself to feel, the quicker you will move through the pain. Create a safe space and time to cry, yell, or whatever you need to do to let those feelings flow. Be conscious about releasing your feelings. Don’t just ruminate but consciously release the pain. Do this in privacy or with a trusted friend or guide.
Spend time in nature. Get outside and take a walk, write in your journal, or just sit. See if you can build a relationship with the place and allow yourself to be grounded in and comforted by nature. You are part of nature and taking time to feel her embrace will help keep you grounded.
Avoid numbing out. This can include eating the wrong foods or overeating, alcohol, isolation, and rebound relationships, to name a few. When you feel the urge to slip into these behaviors, substitute for something healthy such as journaling, meditating, or walking in nature.
Meditate. In the storm of divorce, meditation is a safe harbor. It helps you find the courage to look within, feel your feelings, and to love yourself through the transition. Meditation gave me the clarity to envision a path forward and the strength to stay the course and it kept me sane when I felt like I was breaking down. Even 15 minutes a day is enough to calm your nervous system, settle your emotions, and find comfort in yourself.
Allow the opportunity that divorce presents you to get more real with yourself and create a conscious path forward – one that has the power to transform your life.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on how you stayed mindful during your divorce? Share them in the comments.