FIND YOURSELF AFTER SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
Relationships inherently ask us to compromise, and when those relationships end, we’re often left with many habits, behaviours and even ways of thinking and being that are still ‘ us’ rather than ‘ me’. Separation offers a unique opportunity to reclaim y
Exercise 1 Reclaim your home
This is a great exercise to get ‘pin-happy’ on Pinterest with. Yes, I’m giving you permission to waste time on Pinterest, excellent homework, right? Whether you’re staying in your family home or moving into a new one, reclaiming it and making it your own is a great way of rediscovering who you are. It’s also an important way of re-building your self-confidence.
If this seems too daunting, try one room at a time. The bedroom is a great place to start, replace your bedding, pillows and artwork with fabrics and colours that you love - and if you’re low on funds, get busy on Pinterest anyway, that way when you are ready you’ll already have a bunch of delicious ideas that will light you up and make the whole process that much more exciting (and do-able!).
Exercise 2 Get out of your routine
As single mums, we know how important routines are to keeping our lives running, but it’s ok to let go of that routine and make time for you too, in fact, you’ll be amazed at how many new and exciting opportunities it will create.
Even if it seems like more effort than it’s worth, making time for yourself, even at the expense of routine is essential to your recovery.
So, set a monthly girls night out and don’t cancel it no matter how tempted or tired you are, find a baby sitting club or commit to setting aside time each day to really look at what YOU want and need.
Exercise 3 Find a new crew
Separation can also mean a change in the dynamics of your friendship circle, so it’s a good time to make new friends. You don’t need to ditch your old ones, but it can boost your self-esteem to seek out new social interactions. It can also remind you of things you may have forgotten about yourself...perhaps you’re a great conversationalist, or you’re funnier than you thought you were.
Great places to start are your children’s school or day care centre. Be bold! If your child always talks about a certain friend, see if you can leave their parents a note to make a play date.
Adult education courses can also provide comfortable situations for social interaction - you also don’t have to commit too much time and they won’t cost you a fortune.
And then there’s www.meetup.com where you can search for just about any sort of social group you can imagine.
If finding new friends scares the bejiggeries out of you, that’s ok, just focus on being involved in something rather than putting pressure on yourself to make a new friendship blossom. It takes time for that familiarity to kick in.
Exercise 4 What’s stopping you?
Grab a pen and piece of paper and write a list of anything your relationship stopped you from doing. From the little things, like perhaps wearing certain clothes, to the big things like career choices. Then ask yourself if you can do any of those things now. I recently heard of a lady who always wanted to be a Doctor but felt she couldn’t in her relationship. After some introspection, she realised it was really important to her, so went back to school and did it!
You don’t have to take on something as hefty as a medical degree, but what have you always wanted to do? If you can’t think of anything, think back to what you loved doing as a child, that’ll give you some clues.
Exercise 5 What do you want in a new relationship?
Even if you don’t want to find love again yet, writing down what you would like in a relationship will give you some great clues about who you are and what’s important to you. And when I ask you to think about what you want in a relationship, I’m not asking you to think about what you want in a man, that’s an entirely different thing. I mean things like... Is it important for you to laugh every day or to not have arguments or to have arguments and work through conflict honestly or feel that your opinion is heard and valued? This exercise will help give you a place to start for our last one...
Exercise 6 Set yourself some boundaries
Once you start to get an idea of your new ‘you’, get out that pen and paper yet again and write down things you are not willing to give up or compromise on in your new life.
It may be that you won’t tolerate being spoken to in a certain way - by a new partner or even friends or family. It may be a hobby that makes you sublimely happy or it might be a certain time or day that you spend with your children or doing something for yourself. Knowing who you’re not and what you won’t tolerate is just as important as knowing who you are.
You don’t need to complete all these at once, in fact, it should take you some time to work through them all, and then, work through them again at different stages of your healing. Just start at a pace you are comfortable with, and watch yourself blossom... one petal at a time.