Did you know that the average time for a person to give up on their New Year’s Resolution is one month? We’re now about six weeks into 2023 and now is the perfect time to check in to see how your New Year’s Resolutions are coming along. For many people who find themselves newly separated, the New Year brought the prospect of a new start and so they resolved to “move on” for 2023. That however is easier said than done. After all separation and divorce are hard work. Some people report that breaking up is harder on them than having lost a spouse to death. This can ring especially true if you’re the one who was left.
So how can you make 2023 the year of letting go and moving forward? The answer is nuanced and complicated. Below are just some tips to help you navigate your new reality.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE
Divorce brings with it a rollercoaster of emotions that can turn on a dime. Some days are good, and others are bad. Just when you think you’ve made progress you find yourself ruminating over what was. Remember that processing grief takes time. Be patient with yourself and your emotions. Allow yourself to have “bad” moments without beating yourself down. Instead acknowledge your feelings without assigning them any judgement. Speak to yourself in the same way that you would speak to your best friend – with compassion and understanding. Lastly, avoid setting deadlines for when you “should” be over the separation. Progress does not happen overnight but with time and effort you will eventually move on.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF & FOCUS ON TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
The mind and body are intricately connected. Tears are proof that emotions become physical. So along your journey of moving on make choices that are gentle and nourishing to your mind and body.
1. Try incorporating an exercise routine.
2. Eat foods that give you strength and energy.
3. Make choices that facilitate a good night’s rest.
4. Establish a routine to help you feel centered and grounded.
5. Choose your entertainment wisely —
a. Watch, listen or read things that are uplifting and bring you joy.
b. Turn off the news.
c. Avoid your ex-partner’s social media or better yet block their social media.
d. Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.
6. Join a divorce care group to meet others who can relate and validate your experience.
7. Consider going to counselling.
8. Make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss any relevant medical treatments that might help you get through this difficult period of time.
9. Reach out to friends and family for help.
10. If you are spiritual, consider speaking to a spiritual leader.
11. Make plans for the holidays and special days which can be very triggering for a lot of people.
12. Treat yourself to a small gift, some flowers, a massage etc.
13. When you wake up in the morning write down three things that you are grateful for. This will help remind you that there are still good things happening in your life.
14. Find a way to express your emotions in a healthy way.
REDISCOVER WHO YOU ARE
People often give up their own pursuits to prioritize their relationship and their spouse. For many of you, your identity is intimately tied to your spouse. Your separation has likely left you questioning who you are and what your purpose in life is. While those questions can feel daunting, with the right perspective it can also be exciting. That’s because your separation has given you the opportunity to rediscover your hopes and dreams, things that make you feel happy/fulfilled, and what you want out of life.
Start by visualizing or writing down what your “ideal self” looks like. In other words, in a perfect world
1. Who would you be?
2. What would you be doing?
3. Where would you be living?
4. How would you be feeling?
1. What do I really want from this life?
2. Where do I want to be in 5 years?
3. What things make me excited?
4. What is something I’ve always wanted to do but always put off?
Once you have some answers to the above questions, reflect on the steps you need to take in order to make them a reality. Then…DO those steps.
Have fun with the discovery process. Try something new you’ve never tried before – maybe a dance lesson, a language course, a music lesson, etc. Explore your passions.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
In addition to the emotional and physical rollercoaster that comes with breaking up, separation and divorce have legal and financial implications. Maybe you’re too worried about keeping a roof over your head and food in your belly to start the work of discovering who you are. Maybe you have serious concerns about the safety of your children while in your ex-spouse’s care. You’d love to try out a dance lesson but let’s be real you have bigger fish to fry.
Sometimes before you can work on the day-to-day healing process, you need help to address your basic needs. That’s why it’s important to reach out a family law lawyer to talk about your rights and obligations arising from the breakdown of the relationship.
To sum it up, everyone’s experience is unique. What may work for one person may not work for another. What is certain is that the path to moving on will take a community of professionals, friends, family and time. Lawyers are just one piece to that puzzle. When the time is right for you, we are here ready to help with your legal needs.