The first year after a divorce – what to do??
Here are some tips to deal with some of the longer-term challenges that are certain to come your way.
The first year
Buy a new calendar and diary and don’t mark old anniversaries or birthdays.
Keep working with the ETHICS and 7 Foundations of Transformation within the naked divorce 21-day program for a minimum of 3 weeks after completing the program. Whenever I have a tough time of anything, I go back to it and make it a part of my life so that I’m ‘contained’. In those down moments, I feel strong no matter what comes at me.
Review your exercise and diet regime and ‘audit’ how you feel physically.
Review your finances and ensure you have finalized things with your ex.
Put into action some of the activities you came up with from Day 20. Get stuck into the creative endeavors that inspire you.
Plan activities throughout the year so that you have events to look forward to, especially on anniversary dates, as discussed below.
Take up some new hobbies. You’ve always wanted to belly dance or grow bonsai? Now’s the time to do it. And find some new avenues to make new friends. Join a walking group or a book club, or anywhere you’ll meet like-minded people.
Dealing with down days
Whatever comes up in the next 12 months, be kind to yourself. Accept that there will be reminders and times when you feel sad, or have a flash back to the past. Remember, the past is part of you, but you don’t live there any longer. When these emotions surface, feel them and be with them. If you surrender to them, they will pass. There’s no reason you can’t keep practicing many of the exercises you’ve done over the 21 day program of the naked divorce for years to come.
Here are some suggestions:
What to do when you feel you’ve lost the love of your life: Repeat the Pedestal Shift exercise from Day 8. You can never do this exercise too many times!
What to do if you put your ex back on a pedestal: Repeat the homework exercises for Days 7 and 8 (Different Points of View, and Perception is Projection).
When you’re feeling overly emotional: Reread the sections on emotions, ensuring you follow the tips to understand your emotions and where they’re coming from.
When you’re angry or upset: Repeat the exercise from Day 9. I make a point of doing this exercise every few months. It’s very cathartic!
When things are a bit haphazard in a new relationship: Reread and practice all the tips from Days 13 and 17.
When you’re worried or stressed: Repeat The Worry Buster exercise from Day 17. It really works!
When you’re feeling like a doormat and need to set some boundaries: Re-read Day 19 and practice the suggested exercises.
When feeling extreme emotions at work: Practice the Exercise for handling emotions whilst at Work, or practice the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping (described below).
When you’re very weepy and emotional, do this 5 times using both index fingers:
Tap above eyebrow X10
Tap under eye X10
Tap under armpit X10
Tap under collarbone X10
Tap on index finger X10
Tap under pinky finger on back of hand X10
ASK YOURSELF: How am I feeling now?
Keep repeating the exercise until you’re no longer present to your weepiness.
Certain times of the year are loaded with memories and if you can anticipate these occasions and prepare for them, they’ll be easier to get through. Those old important dates will gradually lose their significance as you fill your life with new memories, events and people.
Your divorce day: If your divorce has finally come through, it’s natural to have a bit of a ‘strange’ day. You could swing between elation (you’re free and it’s all over), or you could be nostalgic and sad (it’s finally over). That’s normal. But whatever you do, be kind to yourself. This is a great day to treat yourself to a massage, a new haircut or outfit – or do something creative.
Your wedding anniversary: The first wedding anniversary after a divorce can be difficult if you were in a long-term partnership. You may even have used the date in a password or as your pin code! Plan to do something exciting on this date to mark your progress. Take yourself out on a date or purchase something special to commemorate your achievement. My aunt Helen buys plants to celebrate her milestones and now has a flourishing patio garden that attracts birds!
Your birthday: Pamper yourself. Do something you’ve always wanted to do on your birthday. Take a day off work, take a day trip somewhere new, plan a dinner with friends and serve your favorite food, even if it’s cheesecake for all 3 courses!
Your ex’s birthday: It’s up to you how you handle this one, but plan ahead so that you’re not caught out. If you’re trying to limit contact with him, don’t call or buy him a gift. I have a good relationship with my ex, so I usually call or text him (as he lives in a different time zone). Do whatever feels comfortable for you. Keep yourself busy so you don’t dwell on what he may be doing on his birthday or what you used to do together to celebrate.
Your children’s birthdays: Prepare for the day well ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly. Ensure that the day is about your child and not about you and your ex arguing about them. Agree on who does what, particularly when it comes to gifts and a party. You shouldn’t be trying to outdo each other. It’s not a competition. It’s a day for your child to remember and an opportunity for quality time, regardless of what you do. Focus on your child enjoying the day.
KEEP THIS IN MIND FOR THE DAY: Discuss presents in advance so that you and your ex don’t duplicate gifts or try to compete against each other.
Till next time!