Guide to Recovery After Divorce

Divorce is tough. There’s no way around it. Even if the decision was mutual, the most amicable separations and divorces cause some level of emotional trauma for both parties. The level of trauma varies from person to person dependent on a variety of factors, but no matter the situation, going through a divorce means that the partnership you thought you were going to have for the rest of your life is now over, and with that comes inevitable sadness and uncertainty on what your new future will hold.

It is important to embrace this new stage of your life in order to effectively move on after a divorce in a healthy, positive direction. Divorce marks the end of one chapter of your life, but it also marks the opening of another. Try incorporating some of the below tips for recovering after a divorce and embracing the new, exciting possibilities that this new chapter of your life has to offer.

Make New and Old Friendships a Priority

Often times during the grueling process of separation and divorce, people tend to be so wrapped up in their personal issues that they isolate themselves from their friends and loved ones. After a divorce, it is important to resist the urge to continue to isolate yourself and wallow in what is lost. While a grieving period is expected – and healthy – you have to push yourself to reach out to your loved ones and even make new friends. Make it a priority to reach out to old friends and loved ones, making plans to reconnect (and sticking to them), and keep yourself open to the possibility of meeting new friends that could help you navigate and enjoy this new stage of your life.

Get Out and Keep Busy

It is easy to stay in and watch TV all day instead of facing the outside world. This is tempting even for those of us that aren’t going through a major life change, but particularly tempting for those trying to cope and adjust in a new reality, like following a divorce. If this new lifestyle is met with other changes like retirement, it can feel even more overwhelming as you feel like you are embarking on a whole new life and don’t know where to start.

The best way to start is to jump right in! Make an effort to make plans with friends and get out of the house, even if it’s just going to the mall or taking a fitness class at the gym. After some time, it will become easier to keep yourself busy and you will not find yourself being as tempted by the allure of the television.

Try New Things

This is a good time to put all of those fun activities on your wish list into motion. You are in a period of inevitable change; you are already out of your comfort zone, so you may as well embrace life and start accomplishing some of your goals. Perhaps this is a good time to take that trip you’ve been looking into for years, or sign up for classes to learn how to cook a new style of cuisine, or learn a new language. Moving forward into something positive and accomplishing your goals will help you start to embrace your new lifestyle with optimism after the end of a marriage.

Talk About Your Feelings

When you go through a period of change, and particularly when going through a painful one like that experienced when going through a divorce, it is important to talk about your feelings with those you trust. Keeping your emotions bottled up will only grow your feelings of sadness and anxiety, and when left to fester, can escalate and result in negative actions and behaviours.

Talk with trusted friends and family, and perhaps consider joining a group to learn from others who have been through divorce. If you are a more private person, or you don’t feel quite ready to share in a group setting, speaking with a therapist may help you come to terms with your feelings and help you begin to embrace your new normal.

Speaking with an Ottawa therapist can help you move on after a divorce and embrace a new stage in your life.