5 steps to turn your life around following a divorce or breakup
We can all relate to the fact that some years are better than others. If 2016 has been a difficult year, particularly if you have been hurt with the ending of a significant relationship or a divorce, then take heart with the fact that you can start to heal and make 2017 a year for starting over again.
“The first step in turning one’s life around is to make a conscious decision that 2017 is going to be a good year,” says Stacey Lewis, author of Divorce 101: Survive and Thrive and founder of the online support platform, The Divorce Source. “Everything begins with mind-set. Once you have made an active choice that you are going to have a good year, the next step is to create an action plan with that positive intention in mind.”
Stacey recommends making a list of the activities or hobbies which you enjoy. Ask yourself: “What makes me happy?,” in order to schedule in time for engaging in activities which feed your soul.
Although the Christmas and New Year period can make it harder to be alone, it can also be a time of introspection - discovering who you are, what you want. Every experience can be an opportunity to learn, to grow and to move forward, no matter how sad or difficult it may be.
“It’s all about your mind-set and the story that you tell yourself about your experiences,” explains Stacey. “One can choose to be a victim, seeing how a situation ‘happened’ to you. Or you can choose to be your own hero – finding a new way forward, taking baby steps to make yourself a little stronger each day with the following:
AcceptanceIn order to start over, a person needs to accept that they are, in fact, getting divorced or that a relationship is coming to an end.
The first secret is letting go of the picture of how you thought your life would turn out. This letting go allows space for something new….and perhaps even better.
It is important to be patient with yourself – know that transformation takes time. As the adage goes “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. The secret is to make sure you take at least one tiny step each day. Do one small thing each day that contributes towards creating a new and better life. This can be anything from going for a walk to starting a new hobby, or anything else which makes you smile.
Also, remember to acknowledge your progress and express your gratitude towards yourself and the Universe for any progress you have made.
Processing and healingIt is very important to feel your feelings – be it anger, sadness or any other emotion. Experience your feelings and acknowledge them, especially in the early stages Moving on is a conscious choice, which starts with a decision to move on from the pain and turmoil.
This process requires energy and commitment – healing from divorce or a break-up is not just simply a matter of “this too shall pass” or “time heals”. In order to allow divorce to be a catalyst for a new beginning, one needs to be an active participant in taking action towards creating a new life.
Nurturing yourself: the rule of 5
- Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you are human.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Make sure that you have enough sleep.
- Remember to “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting someone to put on their oxygen mask” = what does this mean? Fill your own cup first. You are no good to anyone else, unless you have given to yourself first.
- Be patient – remember that transformation takes time.
Coping with the fear of being on your ownA breakup or divorce can sometimes feel very lonely. This is normal. Many people fear this lonely space, and as such, they make sure their schedule is jam-packed in order to avoid the feeling of isolation. If one has been part of a couple, the thought of being alone can be absolutely paralysing.
The truth is anything can happen in life, and even if you are part of a couple, things can change in a heartbeat. People get sick, people die, people leave. The only way to deal with this fear is by facing it head-on. However, it is also an opportunity to start to embrace the chance of getting to know yourself and of experiencing the satisfaction of being able to do things yourself.
Top Five new habits to cultivate for your new life
- Keep a gratitude journal – find 5 things each day to be grateful for.
- Schedule time every day to do something that makes you happy or feeds your soul.
- Remind yourself regularly that you are good enough….in fact that you are great. Remind yourself that you are loveable and worthy of finding love.
- Exercise at least three times a week - his produces feel good hormones called endorphins.
- Don’t give up. Be patient and persistent – transformation takes time and energy.
Although we don’t always want to hear that an experience is going to be difficult, sometimes we have no choice, other than to face our challenges head-on, knowing that the only things we can control are our thoughts and our attitudes. We get to choose our response to the situation.
Acknowledge yourself for having gotten to the point where you are now. Divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship is a massive life trauma….and the fact that you are alive and breathing today is an achievement!
Recognise the progress that you have achieved. Forgive yourself for being human – crying and expressing emotion does not mean that you are weak; it means that you are human. Remind yourself that no matter how hard it may be, you are stronger than you could ever imagine and that you are equipped with all the inner resources that you require in order to get through this divorce or breakup experience,” concludes Stacey.For more information, please visit www.thedivorcesource.co.za