Approaching 2016 Fresh After a Painful Divorce in 2015: 7 Lessons for the New Year
The conventional wisdom tells us (rightly) that going through a divorce can be an immensely painful process. Even when both parties agree that divorce is in their best interest, stress, sadness, regret and other negative emotions can make advice to the effect of “move on” and “put the past behind you” seem trite and disconnected to your reality. And of course, that pain only increases when one spouse wants a divorce and the other one does not.
Even so, no matter how painful your divorce was (or will be), you can learn powerful lessons from what happened and make the New Year ahead full of growth and happiness and redemption.
In the words of great American writer, Joseph Campbell, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
To that end, here are 7 lessons to make 2016 renewing:
- Find a support group. Recognize that “it takes a village” to recover from stressful and painful events. Acknowledge and accept that your divorce-related depression is a normal response, and connect with a support group. You need a place where you can express your feelings without judgment as well as people who will listen actively and empathetically. Here are some divorce groups in Maryland; and here are some in Virginia.
- Keep a journal. Write down your hopes and dreams for yourself. If you are angry, express it in writing, and probe on paper to determine the feelings and unmet needs behind the anger. Also, use your journal to concentrate on the positive things you can do for yourself. Here’s a link about how to journal your gratitude.
- Engage in activities that have always interested you, but that you did not make time for during your marriage.
- Set small goals. Do not try to do everything at once. Consider doing just one thing. When that task is complete, do one more. As the old saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Plus, accomplishing even small goals gives you confidence that you can do more and boosts the production of “happy hormones,” like Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin.
- Take care of yourself. Avoid binging on “comfort food” like ice cream and pie. This type of eating backfires, and the sugar rush generally ends in depression. Focus on eating a healthy diet – full of plenty of healthy fat and protein and green vegetables and a minimum of processed sugar and carbohydrate, particularly if you’re diabetic – and getting enough exercise.
- Let go of the anger and recriminations. It is so easy to spend time raging against the ex-spouse and concentrating on all the things he or she did wrong. Self-recriminations can also take up a lot of energy. Let the anger go, and focus on helping yourself heal. As talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, eloquently put it: “give up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
- Treat yourself. Read a good book. Take a long walk. Soak in a bubble bath. Get a massage. Go to a concert. Take a class in a subject you have always been interested in.
Relish in the new life awaiting you. Know when to seek outside help if you find you are unable to enjoy the benefits of your new single life.
The team here at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC can help you with your divorce case. Please call us to schedule a private consultation about your rights and options at 202.609.7446.
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