Going through a divorce is one of the hardest things you’ll ever face—even if you initiated it.
You can actually prevent a lot of unnecessary stress by simply having a plan. The first step to heal after a divorce is to
create structure in your life.
The hardest part of divorce isn’t necessarily the legal and administrative stuff—it’s the emotional toll can keep you awake at night.
No matter how optimistic you are, you can still take a pretty big hit to your self-esteem, confidence, and sense of identity or purpose.
So, if you want to rebuild your life and start moving forward again, you'll need a solid game plan that provides emotional support.
The following tips are taken directly from my own journey of self-discovery after my divorce.
These are the insights that empowered me with hope in my darkest moments, kept me focused on making aligned choices that would move me forward, and gave me the courage to keep an open heart while healing and rediscovered myself.
Now, let's talk about structure!
THE FIRST THING YOU NEED AFTER A DIVORCE IS STRUCTURE
The first step to begin healing after a divorce is to create structure in your life.
This sets a foundation upon which you can do the inner work to restore your confidence, rediscover yourself, find your purpose, and start creating a lifestyle that truly inspires you.
Divorce causes a pretty big disruption to your normal routine, so you’ll need to anticipate the subtle, yet powerful effects of the extra space in your life.
Unexpected gaps in your routine can increase your susceptibility to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and stress.
This happens because you brain has been programmed to expect certain events and interactions—in this case, they’re mostly connected to your ex.
Whenever you experience a major shift in the way you’re accustomed to living, it’s important to build in structure so that you don’t experience feelings of emptiness in those gaps.
Within a few weeks, you brain will start rewiring itself with new expectations that are NOT emotionally attached to your ex, and that are 100% under your control.
I’m not talking about busywork or unhealthy distractions—everything you do needs to be moving you closer to what you really want out of life.
CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
If you don’t already have one, the first thing I recommend to anyone dealing with a major life transition (divorce, breakup, loss of a loved one, major illness, etc), is to create a morning routine.
This means being intentional about the first thing you do when you wake up because it sets the tone for how you will experience the rest of your day—no matter what.
3 essential components of any morning routine are Self-Care, Journaling, and Day Planning.
Start your routine with self-care—small acts of self-service that honor your being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This can include grooming, physical exercise, going for a walk in nature, a daily sea salt bath, spiritual practices, eating well, or any other activities that make you feel happy and nourished
Journaling is a very effective tool for self-empowerment. Use your journal every morning to set an intention for the day, list 3-5 things you’re grateful for, and empower yourself by responding to powerful prompts. To get the most out of your daily writing, read my post on 16 Ways To Journal Like a Boss.
After you’ve spent some time on self-care and journaling, you can plan your day by creating a short, simple to-do list. Don’t overdo it, 2-3 well selected items is plenty.
Remember that intention you set earlier? Use it to select what goes onto that to-do list so that you can stay focused on what you most want to achieve or how you want to feel by the end of the day.
You to-do list will provide you with a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day, and can really boost your confidence.
PREVENT LONELINESS AFTER DIVORCE
The #1 cause of loneliness after a divorce is space without purpose—not empty, just lacking purpose.
If you’re used to a daily or weekly routine that involved you ex, you’ll need to come up with alternative activities to re-purpose that space in your life that was one shared with someone else.
Otherwise, you’ll likely be caught off-guard with unexpected feelings of loneliness, emptiness, anger, or sadness—all of which can lead to poor decisions.
I’m not suggesting that you fill your life with noise—but that you make a plan ahead of time for how you want to fill that space in your life that’s no longer shared with another person.
...Perhaps you’re used to coming home from work and seeing your significant other almost every day...
...Perhaps the two of you had a weekly routine such as going to church together, taking the kids out, grocery trips, Sunday dinner, etc...
...Maybe you’re not used to going to church alone, so you start attending women’s group to meet some friends that you can sit next to in the service.
You don’t have to DO anything with that extra time, you can simple focus on the intention you set earlier that morning to keep your thoughts in alignment with what you want to create for that day.
It’s best to keep your structure close to your normal patterns. The whole ideal is to restore that sense of safety and stability that will support your healing, and growth.
Also, don’t socially isolate yourself or stop attending your usual activities, because if you do, you’ll just create more un-purposed space in your life making it even more difficult to move forward.
1) In your journal, list the spaces in your life that once overlapped with the presence of your ex.
2) List how you’re currently filling those spaces. For each item you listed, is it moving you closer to what you want in life?
3) Post a comment below this blog with one action step you will take this week to build healthy structure into your life.
I read every comment!
In Peace & Beauty,