Going through a divorce can leave you feeling emotionally drained, financially insecure, and even worried about your future. No matter how long you were married or how the relationship ended, divorce is never easy. It can cause you to feel like you’ve lost part of your identity, and you might not know which direction your life is headed.
Take a deep breath. Those thoughts and feelings are perfectly normal, but they don’t have to be permanent.
Reclaim Your Life after Divorce
Now that you’re done dealing with judges and lawyers, you can start writing the next chapter of your life and reclaim your identity after a divorce. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve got a few suggestions on how to give yourself the fresh start you deserve.
1. Consider a Move
Typically, one person will remain in the marital home after a divorce, especially if kids are involved. Or, a couple might choose to sell the home and split the profits. Whatever the case, it can be beneficial to move to a different home or new location entirely if you have the ability.
There can be countless memories attached to a house, a town, and even specific buildings. Any place that reminds you of the negative aspects of your relationship can be detrimental to your healing process.
If you have the freedom and the finances, consider moving to a place that offers a good social and entertainment scene. Doing so will encourage you to “get out there” and jumpstart the next phase of your journey.
2. Take Care of Your Body
It can be hard to find the motivation to work out and eat healthy after going through a stressful divorce. All of us have seen the stereotypes of women in movies and TV shows sitting in bed eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and watching romantic comedies.
There’s nothing wrong with that – in moderation. It’s okay to grieve the loss of your marriage and find comfort in the things you love.
However, it’s not a long-term solution, and won’t get you started on a fresh path in life.
Instead, try to focus on taking care of your body. It’s a wonderful form of self-care, and regular exercise has countless benefits, including
- It can improve your mood
- It boosts your energy
- It reduces stress
- You’ll boost your cardiovascular health
- You’ll increase your stamina
- You’ll sleep better
It’s okay to start small. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or commit to jogging every morning. Join a dance class or a sports team. Find what works for you and makes you feel happy. Playing a sport or joining a class can be especially effective for your mental health as they’ll allow you to meet new people and not feel so alone.
3. Manage Your Mental Health
Speaking of your mental well-being, it’s crucial to make it a priority after a divorce. According to a study done by AARP, 28% of people over the age of 40 experience depression after going through a divorce. If you’re truly struggling with your mental wellness, one of the best things you can do is consider seeking professional help. A therapist can work with you to overcome those feelings and start you on a healthier path forward.
However, there are also things you can incorporate into your daily routine to prioritize your mental health and reclaim your thoughts and your life, including
Self-care is hugely important when it comes to your mental health. Try to do something each day that reduces your stress and makes you feel good about yourself. By finding more activities that boost your mental wellness, bit by bit, you’ll start to feel more like yourself than you have in years, and you’ll have more confidence in yourself that you can “start over” and enjoy a new life.
4. Reclaim Your Finances
A divorce can be financially draining. Between attorney fees and potentially owing your former spouse, you might be worried about your financial situation while you’re trying to start over on your own.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reclaim your finances and start building a better nest egg.
Start by reevaluating your job. Maybe your spouse was the “breadwinner” in your marriage and you’re looking for a job for the first time. Choose a career path that you can see yourself in for a long time. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to work from home or work as a freelancer. Do you have a specific skill that you can advertise to others? You might be able to start a side-hustle or full-time job by putting it to good use.
If you already have a job but you’re looking for more ways to build wealth and secure your finances, consider looking into different investments. Even if you’re on a budget, you can build wealth through various savings accounts, or by looking into nontraditional investment types. Investing is a great way to secure your retirement and provide for your kids in the future.
5. Let Go of Your Past
This is perhaps the most important tip for reclaiming your life after divorce.
You’re never going to be able to truly move ahead unless you let go of the pain and frustration caused by your marriage and the divorce process. No matter how things ended, you have to be able to forgive yourself and your former spouse.
Don’t hold grudges. Be willing to co-parent if you share kids. Focus on moving forward in life, rather than holding on to the things that caused so much turmoil. You don’t control what happens to you, but you do control how you react to it. While it will take time and effort to fully heal from your divorce, choosing to “let go” is a good place to start. The longer you hold onto the pain, the longer it will take for you to reclaim your life.
You’ve been given a clean slate. It might not feel like it right now, but this is a chance to start fresh and not only write the rest of your story but reclaim your identity while you’re at it. Use this opportunity to rediscover who you are and who you want to be, and use these tips to help you get started on that road of discovery.