A Personal Guide to Healing from Divorce
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
There are plenty of posts out there with step-by-step guides and tips for how to survive and heal after your divorce. My goal is to give you more personalized insights, in hopes of inspiring you to act and take those necessary steps forward.
Coping with divorce is challenging and likely one of the hardest things you will ever experience. It’s far too easy to stay stuck and live with anger and resentment. Trust me… I lived there for far too long and it’s a dark, lonely, miserable place.
Healing from divorce takes a daily commitment to yourself and your future. It takes courage to take steps forward, to forgive, to let go. But what other choice is there if you want to live a rich and fulfilling life for both yourself and your children?
How I survived my divorce:
Giving myself the time and space to grieve
The initial grief was the worst and hit me like a ton of bricks. There was no easy way around this unfortunately. I had to find the space and courage to face the tough emotions and not run from them. I tried to run many times but believe me… it just doesn’t work out like you’d hope! I had to learn how to sit with my pain, feel it and let it go. I had to be compassionate with myself and to forgive some of my own crazy actions taken during that time (a future post will include what not to do while navigating divorce because I mastered those!).
Reaching out for support
Reaching out for support to help cope with the pain from my divorce was crucial. I was pregnant at the time and spiraling into a deep depression and my instinct was to withdraw from everyone. Luckily, I had loving family and friends to help advocate for me and get me the help I needed when I wasn’t strong enough to reach for it. Without the help of some of the amazing mental health professionals that I worked with I wouldn’t be here today. Divorce is not for the faint of heart, expect to need support. Be courageous enough to reach out to a trusted medical professional if you are struggling (your medical doctor, counsellor, psychologist etc).
Connecting with other divorced women
I didn’t have any divorced friends at the time and found it difficult finding people that could personally relate to my struggles. Facebook support groups were helpful during the initial period when I needed to hear that I wasn’t the only one feeling the abandonment and betrayal. There are local support groups available often as well. They provide opportunities to meet and make connections in person. I’ll caution you with these groups though because sometimes they make it harder to graduate out of feeling like a victim and to move forward with your life. It’s easy to get drawn into other people’s stories and pain and to stay stuck. Support from others in a similar situation is important but what's more helpful is surrounding yourself with those a few steps ahead and travelling along the same trajectory as you would like to. Not everyone in support groups will choose to put in the work to heal and forgive their ex's and you want to surround yourself with those that aspire to a bright future after divorce.
Self-care is something I’ve always struggled with. I always put everyone else first and often forgot to take care of myself. Falling flat on my face during my divorce left me no choice but to relearn those skills and to prioritize self-care. My self-care is moving my body, getting outside in nature, taking time for myself, lighting candles, sipping green tea, taking a bath, watching the occasional trashy tv show with a glass of wine (my guilty pleasure!). This will look different for everyone. Take the time to tune into your inner whisperings and ask yourself what you need and carve out that time.
Reconnecting with my passions
I lost myself in my marriage and was living out the roles of wife, mom, daughter, friend, and nurse on autopilot. I lost track of my desires and vision for myself. Healing from my divorce allowed me the chance to rediscover those lost parts of myself. I started to get out and try new things. I grew up doing ballet (very prim and proper) and after my divorce decided to try something completely different. I started a pole fitness class and ended up loving it so much that I installed my own pole in my living room. For anyone that knew me previously this was both shocking and hilarious. I had so much fun with it though and felt empowered doing something new, and only for myself. I encourage you to try new things and follow what lights you up. If you love to paint but put down the paint brush when you had kids, bring it back out. Reconnect with your desires and passions and find new ones.
Investing in myself
Hiring a divorce coach was the single most important step I took on my healing journey. I met my divorce coach online and was immediately drawn to her energy and outlook on life. I was not accustomed to spending money on myself and her price seemed outrageous at that time to me. I knew that I had to follow my gut though and take a leap of faith. My only wish now is that I had done it sooner! She helped me turn inwards, take responsibility for my own actions, and take a strong stand for my future. She showed me that I didn’t have to be a victim of my circumstances and that I could take back control of my life. I was so passionate about my work with her that it inspired me to become a divorce coach myself and help others on the same journey!
Quality time with my kids
My commitment and love for my daughters has kept me going through the toughest times. Prioritizing time to connect with them, laugh and be silly has been my medicine. My daughters and I love to snuggle and read together, play board games, get out for walks and to playgrounds. I love to make them laugh while doing the most ridiculous dance moves and making up silly songs. They bring me so much joy and help me focus on what’s most importance. I see the innocence in their eyes and it reminds me to see the beauty in life during challenging times and be grateful.
This list of things I focused on to help survive my own divorce is by no means inclusive. I just wanted to paint a picture of some of the areas that you can focus on to help pull you forward when the pain of divorce gets to be too much. Focus on small steps, one thing a day you could do for yourself to help propel yourself forward. Remember you are never alone and that support is always within your reach. Sending you much love, Susan
#healing from divorce
#coping with divorce