Getting divorced can be a very difficult and overwhelming experience in a person’s life. It can also be difficult to pick up the pieces afterward, and many divorcees find it challenging to recover emotionally and physically after divorce and learn to enjoy life again.
I know this because 18 months ago I, too, got divorced and it felt like my world had shattered around me. Picking up the pieces was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I didn’t enjoy life for long periods. I doubted and blamed myself and honestly didn’t know how I could ever go forward and enjoy life again.
Eighteen months on I am the happiest I have ever been, my personal and work lives are both thriving, and I’ve just started dating again for the first time in 20 years. I may not be the best person to take advice from when it comes to online dating (or using the latest dating apps), but I can give you some tips on how to put the pieces of your life back together after a divorce.
Here are eight tips that pulled me through one of the darkest times of my life; I hope they help you, too, recover emotionally and physically after divorce.
Recover Emotionally and Physically After Divorce: 8 Tips
1. Believe in yourself.
I would consider myself a confident person, so when I got divorced and self-doubt came from everywhere I was shocked. Over the last year and a half, I’ve talked to others who have divorced and nearly all of them have told me at some point that their confidence took a massive knock and they blamed themselves entirely for the divorce. Many have told me they thought they weren’t good enough and their partners were looking elsewhere.
I too felt like I wasn’t good enough. I thought my wife had left me because at the time I wasn’t making enough money and I was slightly out of shape. Looking back this is absurd, but these thoughts go through your mind.
My first tip would be to block out these negative thoughts and make a list of all the things that you are good at and when you feel down revisit this list and read them aloud to yourself.
Your list could include your qualities like:
Kind, loving, fun, generous, a good parent, interesting, have cool hobbies and so much more. List them all down, repeat over and over until no negative thoughts can get in.
One of my main motivators was that I’m a good dad. That’s very important to me as my parents also got divorced and my dad wasn’t around much. There is no way I would do that to my children.
2. Make time for yourself.
Getting divorced left me with so much time on my hands. Having time when you are grieving can make the experience so much worse than it is. My tip for you would be to fill that time with something you enjoy. This could be reading a new book, binge-watching that latest show on Netflix or walking the dog.
Alone time is good, as long as it’s spent doing something you enjoy rather than moping around. Finding something that you enjoy doing will allow you to be happier and that rubs off on everyone that you meet, including friends and family who are also affected by your divorce.
3. Forget being bitter.
Being bitter is a natural feeling, and it’s worse if your partner left you or was unfaithful. Thinking of “what if’s” can drive you crazy and they won’t make you feel any better. My tip to you would be to just let it go, whatever has happened, just forget about it. That’s easier said than done but it’s what you need to do if you want to move on.
Being bitter and angry not only affects you but also the people around you who care about you. There’s only so long they can put up with you being bitter and the sooner you snap out of it the better.
Bitterness only makes your life worse too, while you are being angry at home your ex-wife/husband is out enjoying their lives.
4. Recognize that you’re luckier than you think.
Being divorced will open your life up to more responsibilities than ever before. My ex-wife handled all of our finances and home life. When we broke up this was something I needed to learn how to do. It was stressful.
This added stress in a difficult time can be too much, but what always helped me was taking a step back and realizing how lucky I still was. I’m healthy, my children are healthy, even my ex-wife is healthy and we all have food, clothes and a roof over our heads. To me, this is something to be thankful for and I’m sure there are things in your life that you can also be thankful for. Maybe you have awesome parents, siblings or friends that are always there for you. Maybe you have a great job, cool hobbies or can cook amazing meals.
Take a look at your life and whatever stresses are involved there are positives that can be taken from there somewhere.
5. Find your passion.
Above I mentioned that you are going to have some free time. Take this time to find your passion if you don’t already have one and if you do spend more time doing it.
For me, I tried a few things like learning to paint (I’m still terrible), learning to dance (terrible at this too) and I joined a CrossFit gym which I love. I go to the gym 5 times a week for an hour a time and it’s a great way of meeting new people and bringing positive feelings into your life.
Joining the gym is one of the best things that I have done in my life. I feel like a million dollars when I work out and get a rush from doing so. I’m not sure of the science behind it but I always feel so much better after a workout than before it, even if my muscles are a little bit sore.
If you haven’t been to a gym before, I would highly recommend it. Don’t feel intimidated in the gym either, some of the people I have met in the gym are some of the most friendly people I have ever met. This is coming from someone who had never exercised, was a little overweight and didn’t know the difference between a barbell and dumbbell.
6. Improve your health.
A divorce can no doubt damage your mental health. One way to get out of this rut is by improving your overall health. One way as discussed above is exercise, but there are other ways of improving your health like eating healthier foods and getting more sleep.
Being busy in my life before and after my divorce meant that I often found myself eating fast food and it made me feel terrible afterward. Eating healthier foods high in proteins and low in bad fats made me feel less tired and lethargic.
Being tired and lethargic can make you feel down. Eating healthier and getting more sleep will improve your life so much. I eat much better than I did when I was married and not only do I feel better, I also save money by not eating fast food every day. My tip to you would be to try it just for 2 weeks. You will be surprised how much better you will feel both physically and mentally.
When it comes to sleeping, what worked for me was to set an alarm for the time you want to be in bed by. When this alarm goes off, drop what you are doing and go to bed. It works, and it’s so simple that I feel everyone should give it a go.
7. Focus on growing.
Setting goals and hitting them is a new thing for me and I must say it works. Setting a goal, planning on how to reach it and then carrying it out is a rewarding experience.
You can set goals in your personal and work-life. Maybe you have always wanted to run a marathon or you have wanted to go for a new position at work. Whatever your goal, write it down and then work out what you need to do to reach that goal.
Having goals will focus your mind and stop it from thinking about what your ex-wife/husband is doing and allow you to live and enjoy your life.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Being newly divorced can be a lonely experience. Having friends or family to lean on in desperate times can help you from making silly decisions such as drunk calling your ex or posting nasty things about them on social media.
Everyone will need help at certain times in their lives so don’t feel any shame from asking for help. Divorce can be a painful process so if you feel you need help, ask for it. If you don’t have any friends or family you can lean on you can seek professional help from a counselor.
Getting divorced isn’t easy; it was one of the most challenging things that I have ever had to do in my life. I’m sure you also feel this way too. The tips above helped me out of a dark place to one of the best places in my life. If I can do it, so can you.
Mathew Jones is a who that writes for multiple websites including DrMajidShah.com, which helps men and women increase their confidence and appearance through non-surgical methods. When not writing, Mathew loves to go to the gym and binge-watch the latest shows on Netflix. www.drmajidshah.com