Divorce can be extremely difficult for everyone involved, even in low-intensity divorces where you and your spouse hired mediators rather than lawyers. Some divorces are more high-stakes than others, but no matter what, this will be emotionally taxing on you and your partner, and afterwards, you will need to know how to handle yourself properly. Your finances, your living situation, your health, and of course, your happiness will all be impacted in some way. But this is no reason to give up or “let yourself go.” Here are some tips to properly handle the days, weeks, months, and even years after a divorce and move on with your life.
Keep Track of All Your Documents
A lot of paperwork may be involved in your divorce, related to such matters as child custody, lawyer fees, the divorce papers themselves, banks and credit card statements, and more. Be sure not to lose these. Garter Group once said that 15% of all paper documents are misplaced, and around 7.5% of them are lost entirely, and replacing them can be an expensive hassle. You have enough on your plate without having to turn your house inside-out to find a certain piece of paper. The idea is to have an organized, streamlined, intuitive system for all your documents, and color-coded folders are a fine place to start. Red, blue, green, yellow, white, pink, and more can be used for easy visual cues, and use (or buy) a storage rack where you can place them all. In this way, retrieving the desired document is a snap, and losing them will be pretty unlikely. Feel free to use a scanner (at home or elsewhere) to make digital copies of those files and store them anywhere and everywhere you can retrieve them later.
Go On a Nice Vacation
Within reason (and your budget), don’t be afraid to treat yourself, even if you believe you “lost” the divorce. Getting a divorce does not mean you are an unworthy person; instead, clear your head by visiting somewhere exotic, either a familiar place or somewhere totally new. This doesn’t have to be expensive, either; try using free airline miles with your credit card or rewards system, or simply drive somewhere. Some locales and states such as New York City, Florida and Hawaii’s coasts, San Francisco, and even Alaska are all solid options. You may come back feeling totally refreshed and cheered up, which is just the thing you need. If you have the time and money, why not visit a foreign nation or city, such as a week in Paris or seeing the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Egypt? Now that’s a fine way to take your mind off things.
Your appearance counts too, even if you are not currently dating or trying to impress anyone. Bear in mind that your appearance may impact your mindset as well as the other way around. In fact, dressing well can make you feel more confident, disciplined, and focused, and dressing up can empower you in ways you might not expect. This applies to both men and women, and you are urged to keep up your appearance every day. Donate old old clothes that you don’t like anymore, and refine your wardrobe so you start wearing clothes that make you look and feel your best. Within your budget, go clothes shopping at your favorite retail outlet, and this can also be helpful for when and if you re-enter the dating scene or get interviews for a new, better job.
Beautifying yourself applies to your body, too. Some divorcees may take this time to slim down and enhance their body image, and they can sign up for a gym membership or join an amateur sports team and start eating better, too. It is a good idea to consult your doctor and a nutritionist for this step, especially if you have health complications such as allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure, and the like. Cosmetic surgery may also be appealing, such as liposuction. After all, some 220,000 liposuction procedures are done every single year. Some may opt for Botox treatments, and others might get an FUE transplant done to fill in thin or balding hair patches to look their best. FUE transplants are minimally invasive, too, and result in a natural look. Many people report being very happy with how their FUE transplant turned out.
Do Something Fun With Your Kids
You are now divorced, but you are not necessarily alone. Perhaps you have won custody of one or more of your children, and you can and should spend quality time with them every day (on top of regular child-rearing duties). If you do not have custody of the children, you might still have visitation rights, and you may arrange to meet your kids and their other parent at a neutral zone, such as a park or shopping mall or even the beach. Getting together like this can cheer everyone up, and bear in mind that kids measure their parents’ love for them by the amount of time spent together. Kids really want to spend their time with you and create memories. And you probably want the same thing.
Now, what should everyone do together? This may vary, but you and your kids and the other parent can perform some of the same activities that you did while still in a single household, and this ranges from going fishing at the lake to playing soccer in the park with friends all the way to taking cooking classes or having movie nights. Outdoor activities are a great choice since the fresh air and sunlight are natural mood boosters, which may be something that you and the kids will need more than you realize. Going fishing, for example, is pretty popular; in 2017, for example, there were 11.6 million youth participants aged 6 to 17 who took part in fishing in the United States. Going hiking is another fine idea, or bird watching, or even paddling a canoe boat you own. State parks are a great place to explore the outdoors.
Don’t Date Right Away (Don’t Give Up Either)
Dating too soon may be awkward, since your mind may still be on the divorce, and the divorce may overshadow everything. A dating partner will want your attention on them, not on your past. You need breathing room first. But then again, there is no need to feel that you won’t love again or that you’re not worth loving; far from it. Your marriage was a big part of your life, but it’s over now, and you are not defined by it or confined by it. You are now free to decide once again what your life is about and what to do with it, and when you are confident that you have moved on, it is time to begin dating again.
Let Yourself Mourn
Until your dating life resumes, be sure to properly mourn your lost marriage; that is, let yourself feel, and let all the difficult emotions naturally drain away rather than bottling them up. It’s much better to have a good cry than to repress all of this and end up having a meltdown later. Also, there is no shame whatsoever in visiting therapists and counselors who can help talk you through all this. Besides, it’s possible that your spouse is doing the same. But be aware that grief and depression are two different things, and if you become clinically depressed, action should be taken at once. Getting depressed is nothing to be ashamed of, but then again, it can seriously cripple you. Don’t let it.
Divorce will be an emotionally and financially taxing time for both you and your spouse, but the end of the marriage is not the end of your life or your life’s ambitions. Be ready to take care of yourself more than ever, and support your children the best way you know how while having a cordial and respectful relationship with your ex-spouse if at all possible. Support yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself, and be ready to start a new chapter of your life with both feet on the ground.