Facing the winter holidays post-divorce can be less-than-festive. Rather than dwell on the pain you may feel from being divorced, begin to see the gifts from your divorce that you have already received. Let’s explore further three such gifts that are now ready for you to receive. These are gifts are friendships, self-reflection, and self-love.
Here Are 3 Gifts From Your Divorce
1. The Gift of Friendships
When you were married you probably had couple friends, work friends, childhood friends, and neighbors. Now that you are divorced, some of these friendships have changed. Couple friendships can get complicated, especially for your friends. They may want to be there for you, yet do not want to alienate your ex- spouse. Some couple friends simply gravitate more toward your ex because of shared interests or work. Friends you made from your neighborhood may be more difficult to sustain if you have moved post-divorce.
The gift this holiday season to you, thanks to your divorce, is the opportunity to create new friendships. We live in a technological age that makes it very easy to find groups that meet and enjoy hobbies that you have or may want to begin. These brand new friends can be found while you enjoy hiking, cooking classes, book clubs, wine tastings, and more. You may find that there are newly divorced parents in your child’s school who are also seeking new friends. Allow your divorce to be a catalyst for your personal growth in creating a community of friends that you personally enjoy.
What keeps us fresh as we age is the newness of friends. Reach out and discover who is near you, who enjoys what you enjoy and invite them on your life’s journey.
2. The Gift of Reflection and Growth
The process of divorcing consumes your mental, physical and emotional energy. It is a time rife with reactivity that stimulates your body to shift into survival mode. Your cortisol surges when you are in fight, flight, and freeze modalities. Cortisol spikes are triggered by the financial, emotional, parenting, real estate, retirement, and career decisions necessitated by divorce.
Now that the holidays are approaching, you could choose to feel more stress. But doing so will put your body through more emotional and chemical duress. Instead, I invite you to give yourself a gift this holiday season. And it will not cost you anything.
Schedule time to reflect upon your strengths and identify new aspects of your life in which you would like to grow. Consider your emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It is important that you assign a time on your schedule to write your reflections. In a journal of any type, identify and list your strengths. List the times that you advocated for yourself and/or your children. Recall how you came up with creative solutions. Remember how you maintained grace under pressure, or peace among malice.
As you write down your reflections of your own abilities, allow your accomplishments to wash over you. Next, write about areas in your life in which you want to grow. Consider your physical wellness with regard to exercise and wholesome eating. Write about new things you want to learn, books you want to read, skills you want to develop. What do you want more of?
Your journal is your gift to yourself of your past strengths and your future desires. Once you write these down, they will always remain accessible to you.
3. The Gift of Self-Love
When you met your spouse and you were courting, you were clearly in love with yourself. Really. Before you can fall in love with someone else, you must be in a state of love for yourself. You were at your best and you were ready to give love your all.
Now that you are on the other side of that relationship, it is time to examine how you treat yourself. When you love yourself, you treat yourself kindly. You feed yourself well both physically (with food) and emotionally (with kind thoughts). It is helpful to imagine the little boy or little girl inside you, and ask yourself if you would speak to them the way you speak to yourself. Quite often, thoughts are berating, filled with the story of not being good enough.
Give yourself the gift of becoming aware of your own self-talk in order to redirect it to be gentle and kind. Recovering from divorce can trigger turning to food for solace. Rather than choose processed foods that meet your cravings, begin to love yourself again by drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables. I realize this is not an easy go-to behavior in the midst of a craving when you are feeling down. By drinking water before your snack and eating a fruit, you will nourish yourself without depriving yourself of the snack. This is love. You are worthy.
Notice all the ways you want to be nourished and begin to give this love to yourself. Start with movement, exercise, drinking water and eating. Add on enjoying conversations with friends, journaling, and walks in nature. Just be You. You are enough.
The holidays post-divorce can be rough. Remember to give to yourself these three gifts that will last all year and help you become your best self as you continue on your journey as a single person. Take these gifts from divorce and enjoy them during the holiday season!