The New Year is a good time to rethink how a recent divorce may still be impacting your daily life. While I respect that your marriage was significant and ending it was a real lifetime trauma, there is life after divorce. Look around you and see all the happy people, many of whom are divorced and you wouldn’t even know it.
As you contemplate what you want 2016 to mean for you, consider these suggestions for diminishing the role that your divorce will play in your everyday thoughts and activities:
1. Stop talking about your divorce. No one wants to hear about it, and it is just not healthy to remain so stuck on something that is done, over, and cannot be changed. Move on. Most of all, do not relive it, play by play, or discuss its implications with your children. They cannot handle it, nor should they be expected to. This includes adult children.
2. Develop at least one new interest. You should have some time now that you did not have before. Think of a sport or hobby that you always wanted to develop but never quite got around to it. Make a commitment to take some initial steps toward doing that. Take some classes, join a relevant group, team up with others who can help make it happen.
3. Love yourself more. Focus on your positive traits rather than perceived shortcomings. Chances are people who know you do not even see those flaws. Be truly grateful for what you have. Literally make a list of things for which to be grateful, if you need to, and look at it often. Treat yourself to some small luxury, according to your means, once in a while. This is not because you “deserve it” or “earned it,” but simply because it is nice to be nice to yourself.
4. Fully assess your financial stability. This is the opportunity to make a fresh new start in many ways. Do so with a strong sense of financial responsibility. Money is the cause of tremendous stress and anxiety, on many levels. Part of your new self-care is to not cause yourself unnecessary harm and pain. Seek the advice of a financial advisor who is familiar with post-divorce issues and can most relate to your situation.
5. Reevaluate your work life. This is a time to start deriving more satisfaction from all that you do, and that includes your work. If it is no longer a source of great satisfaction and pride, then you need to be doing something else. Open your mind to all the interesting things you hear of others doing. You know those articles that profile the most interesting things you can ever imagine? They are being written for you, so pay attention.
6. Be open to new relationships. Sooner or later, there will be a post-divorce “first date.” Give yourself permission to move at your own comfortable pace. Maybe just an impromptu lunch with a colleague or a friend you might like to get to know better. Meeting at a destination rather than being formally picked-up at your home may make it more tenable and easier to get away from if it was a mistake. Like anything else, this may take some practice before you are ready to really “put yourself out there.” That’s fine. The last thing you want is a rebound doomed for disaster.