Sadly, “I do” has turned into “I don’t”; as in, “I don’t want to be married to you anymore.” So what’s next after the separation, the meetings with lawyers, the divvying up of assets, the parting of the ways? It’s the start of a new way of living, or a resumption of the life you knew before you tied the knot. Here are some healing, helpful, and happy activities that can help you as you chart a new course following your divorce.
1. Make Your Decor Yours
Whether you redecorate in ways large or small, make changes to your living space that your ex-husband would have given a thumbs-down to.
2. Drink In The Strength Of Friendships
Meet up with your divorced or separated friends as much as possible. It will give you an opportunity to laugh, linger over cocktails, and let your hair down. Camaraderie can be a great healer after you’ve gone through a major life event like divorce.
3. Take A Vacation Alone
Visit a foreign country. Relax at an oceanfront destination. Take a cruise. Going it alone allows you to experience new places and new things on your own without having to take into consideration others’ needs or expectations. Down time has a way of lifting you up.
4. After Taking A Stance On Divorce Try A Yoga Position
The physical and psychological benefits of yoga are well documented so this might be the ideal time to try a class and give yourself a boost. At the very least you’ll be in a position to meet new people and perhaps start up a new friendship or two, and there’s no downside to that.
5. Buy A Beautiful Bouquet
Whatever the season, a bunch of flowers has a way of brightening your day. Place them in a room where you’ll see them often; in that way, you’ll be reminded throughout the day that doing nice things for yourself is, well, nice. And that you don’t need to wait for someone else to add a little light to your life.
6. Put A New Spin On Getting In Shape
A spin class? Maybe. Running? Possibly. Swimming? Whatever floats your boat. Joining a gym or starting a new exercise regimen is a great way to feel like you’re taking control of your body as well as your life as a single person. The best part: you’ll be doing it for yourself and not someone else.
7. Get Your Finances In Order
Where does your money come from primarily? How much do you have in savings and assets? What are your short- and long-term financial goals? Conduct a review of your finances and you’ll feel empowered to make better financial decisions not only on a day-to-day basis but also in the future.
8. Slow Down And Meditate
Going through a divorce can be physically and mentally draining. As you move forward into the world of the no-longer-married, take time to recharge with daily meditation. Start out by doing only a few minutes a day, if that’s all you have time for; even a small amount of meditation time can help put you on the path to a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
9. Start The Day (Or End It) On A Good Note With A Theme Song
Certain songs can make you feel empowered, optimistic, or encouraged — maybe all three at the same time. Choose a song that can serve as the backdrop of your life and play it as often as you like whether you’re heading to work, picking the kids up from school, or looking for a boost after a trying day.
10. Do Therapy
Divorce is difficult. Period. Meeting up with a therapist can help you through the process of deciding to divorce, going through a divorce, and building a life post-divorce. Choose a therapist who specializes in marital or divorce counseling.
11. Make A Massage Part Of Me Time
Tension can wreak havoc on your physical self. Make an appointment for a massage and let someone soothe the soreness and caress the kinks. Just an hour of uninterrupted me time can help you feel calmer and more empowered to face life on your own terms.
12. Swim Naked
Doesn’t matter if it’s in a pool in your backyard (if privacy allows!). A nude beach. A deserted lake darkened by night. Diving in sans suit can make you feel as though you’ve been freed from expectations and demands placed on you by other people (as well as yourself).
13. Sleep In, Zone Out
If you live alone, choose a day every week when you skip setting the alarm and sleep uninterrupted well past the usual gotta-get-going hour. If you have kids, choose a day when they’re spending some quality time sleeping at their dad’s house.
14. Sleep In Your Bed Diagonally
Because you can. ‘Nough said.
15. Say Yes
Saying yes can help you move forward: yes to dating, yes to a new job, yes to a new place to live. Change doesn’t always come easy but it can bring a new perspective and a renewed sense of joy to your life.
16. Say No
If you felt you couldn’t set limits in your married life, now’s the time to think about establishing boundaries that could make your life easier or more enjoyable. The trick is to not only set limitations but also to do so without feeling guilty about it.
17. Have a one-night stand if you feel so inclined
It’s not for everyone – just use your best judgment. If you think it will be a liberating experience, an exciting adventure, then go for it (make sure, however, that you’re not in an unsafe situation).
18. Get Your Cards Read
Either go for a reading alone or bring along a couple of friends; either way, make it a fun and enjoyable experience that doesn’t necessarily come with any gravity. You might just get some insight into your life from someone who doesn’t know you all that well and that isn’t a marriage counselor or therapist.
19. Reel Fun: Watch A Movie Alone
Choose a favorite movie from years ago and watch it at home or pick a present-day flick that you’ve been wanting to see at the local cinema for weeks. Go it alone and you don’t have to coordinate with others’ schedules; you can just settle in, grab a handful of hot buttered popcorn, and lose yourself in movie magic.
20. Flirt With A Stranger
Do you even remember how to flirt? Find out by trying it with a stranger that seems interesting to you (make sure that you’re in a safe place where there are other people around because a stranger is, well, a stranger). He or she just might flirt back and fun could ensue.
21. Binge Watch A Show Instead Of Binge Eating
Comedy. Drama. Documentary. Binge watch whatever and whenever you like — there’s nothing and no one stopping you. A certain feeling of freedom comes with holding on to the remote and knowing that no one will try to overrule your passion for Game of Thrones.
22. Go To A Museum Alone
Stroll through a museum and take all the time you want to admire paintings, explore an exhibit, or wander among relics. It will feel wonderfully indulgent to not have kids (or a husband) tugging at your sleeve saying “Can we go home now?”
23. No More Pillow Talk: It’s OK To Spend A Day In Bed Crying
The painstaking process of divorce takes a toll on your physical and mental state. Acknowledge the difficulty and dashed dreams instead of pretending; spend a day in bed crying it out then get up the next day, put your feet on the floor, and step forward into a new life that still holds a lot of promise.
24. Get Together With An Inspiring Divorced Couple
Not all divorces end badly; they just end a marriage. Seek out a divorced couple that lives life positively, still manages to get together on holidays, raises the kids cooperatively, and focuses on happy memories instead of their downer divorce.
25. Date Outside Your Type
Going for the usual didn’t work out so well last time – maybe it’s time for something new. Be open to spending time with someone who possesses different traits than what you’re used to and who might be able to open your eyes to new experiences. You’re not committing to anything or anyone at this point so why not put a toe in the water and see if you want to jump in?
26. Help Heal A Heart
Pay it forward: If a friend or family member helped you through your divorce and they find themselves going through their own marital difficulties, lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. It’s a nice way to show gratitude and to apply what you’ve learned about how to make it through hard times.
27. Become Your Own Handyman
Maybe you’re not as all-thumbs as you think: Learn how to complete small handyman-type jobs like unclogging pipes under a sink, stopping the toilet from constantly running, or patching a wall that has one too many dings from furniture moves.
28. Chill Out And Eat Ice Cream For Dinner
Something about eating dessert — and only dessert — at mealtime brings out the kid in us and makes us forget about some of life’s adult tribulations. The end of a marriage can be the start of finding your inner child again and enjoying simple things that once brought a sense of childlike freedom.
29. Wear High Heels Again
There are times when sexy takes second place in a marriage. As a couple you go to the same places, do the same things, and you can find yourself in a pretty deep rut. Now’s the time to break out the six-inch heels that used to make you feel pretty and powerful — you’ll climb your way out of that rut in no time flat.
30. Start A Journal
Writing about a situation or experience can sometimes help to bring clarity. Don’t just record the details of the disappointments and heartaches – give equal time (and space on the page) to writing about how you’ve grown, what you’ve learned, and your hopes for the future.
31. Buy An ‘I’m Divorced’ Ring
You look down at your hand and there it is: the bare finger, no wedding band in sight. It’s a loss that you not only see but also feel deep inside. Why not buy yourself a beautiful ring that reflects your individual taste and style, and that also serves as a symbol of your faith in your own innate ability to move forward?
32. Pack A Bag (A Haute Couture One, At That) For Paris
The City Of Lights can illuminate many things: The fact that you feel comfortable — joyous, even — traveling alone, that you’re still curious about the world, that your divorce hasn’t separated you from the fun-loving and curious wanderer you used to be. Bon voyage!
33. Smile About The Good Times In Your Marriage
Yes, a divorce may sometimes seem like pure hell but don’t let it make you forget the days as a couple that seemed like heaven on earth. Remember even the smallest moments in happier days and you just might find yourself feeling lifted up rather than totally let down.
34. Watch The Movie Heartburn
Simply the best divorce movie ever.
35. Consult With A ‘Divorce Advisory Board’
Bring together a group of family members or friends who can offer not only a shoulder to lean on but also pearls of wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement. With several board members to consult, you don’t have to call on the same bestie all the time to help you through the rough patches.
36. Wear Something Sexy
You don’t even have to leave the house with it on if you’re not ready – just wearing it is enough to remind yourself that you have choices, that you still feel good about yourself, that you don’t have to tone down how you look to please someone else.
37. Take A Dance Class
Sure, it takes two to tango but there are dance classes aplenty that are a perfect fit for anyone going solo. Think about what type of dance you like — ballet, swing, or ballroom to name a few — and find a nearby class that fits your schedule.
38. Go Grocery Shopping For One
Ordering food in is easy and convenient but if it’s overdone it can eat away at your connection to the outside world. Put aside your worn-out, two-sizes too big comfy pants, slip into a casual classic and head to the grocery store on your own. You might not be buying for two anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t savor your new independence when it comes to choosing fresh over frozen.
39. Go To A Bar Alone (A Safe One, Of Course!)
Sip a glass of wine. Enjoy a cool cocktail. Try a new microbrew. Going to a bar alone isn’t a sign of loneliness – it’s a mark of mature independence and a willingness to be open to new experiences.
40. Write A Will
If there’s anything your divorce has taught you it’s that many things in life aren’t permanent. Putting into writing who gets what and when after you’ve passed can be liberating; you’ll feel like your taking charge of your legacy rather than leaving it to chance.
41. Adopt A Pet
No, they can’t replace a spouse but companion animals can help heal a hole in your heart. Animals at shelters are dealing with a separation of their own — from their homes, their pet parents, their familiar toys and beds. They can give comfort and receive comfort all at the same time.
42. Embrace The Act Of Forgiving
Forgiving is for giving yourself permission to be happy.