Thoughts

25 Things to do to Make You Feel Better While Divorcing

by Deirdre Hally Shaffer, MSW, LCSW

During times of loss, transition, and grief we feel helpless and out of control. When divorce occurs, life is turned upside down with legal disagreements, emotional swings, custody issues, financial upheaval, social changes, residential transitions, and lifestyle shifts. All this turmoil can leave us feeling powerless over our daily life and our future, which is frightening and depressing. So here’s a list of 25 things to consider doing to help you feel like you DO have a say in the direction your life is taking:

  • Meditate
  • Walk
  • Update your resume
  • Exercise
  • Review your finances and develop a financial plan
  • Ask friends and family for help and hugs
  • Keep a daily gratitude list
  • Volunteer and/or help others in need
  • Join a club, sports team, or gym
  • Participate in a spiritual program and/or church
  • Take a road trip
  • Go to the zoo, a museum, a movie, a play with your kids
  • Attend a concert
  • Get a massage
  • Make a list of 2 month, 6 month, 1 year, and 2 year goals
  • Journal
  • Run or do yoga
  • Join a divorce support group
  • Enjoy cooking a new recipe
  • Go to a festival or street fair or flea market
  • Get organized with bill paying
  • Watch a comedy on TV or rent a funny movie
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Do something that scares you (without risking your health)
  • Learn something new
  • Spend a few minutes in quiet thought about what is causing you the most stress. If the answer is financial uncertainty, focus on finances. Gather information about assets and debts and expenses. Participate in a professional consultation with a financial planner to feel more secure in moving forward. Open a new savings account. Speak with a mortgage representative or realtor for financial specifics about your living situation. Your personal banker can also be very helpful with separating marital accounts and investing monies. Examining your career, job options, and P/T ways to earn additional money can also be empowering.

    If being alone is your biggest stressor, begin by assessing your social support network. Organize an ongoing weekly or monthly gathering with a group of friends. Invite friends or family members to come for dinner and spend the night. Join a book club, sports team, gym, meet up group, professional organization. Reconnect with old acquaintances on Facebook. Say yes to any invitation you receive.

    If you are feeling like you’ve lost your identity along the way, identify and pursue things that interest you. Art? Music? Athletics? Take some lessons. Do some reading. Go to therapy. Remember past hobbies or embark on new ones that intrigue you.

    When you focus on the present and actions you can take today, you will propel yourself forward, step by step. Each interest you pursue, each responsibility you fulfill, and each personal value you rediscover will be the foundation for the individual life you will be building for yourself. You will naturally choose things that make your new life enriching and authentic.

    Stress can lead to feeling overwhelmed and immobilized. Or it can propel you into action, which often results in reduced stress and greater self-confidence. Take a few steps today towards self-care and to empowerment.

    To contact Deirdre, see her listing in the Alpha Resource Center Professional Directory

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