Congratulations for surviving Valentine’s Day–pretty much the worst day in the world–especially for anybody dealing with divorce. And even if you’re going through divorce or making sense of life after divorce, showing yourself the love you deserve can be incredibly difficult, no matter what time of the year it is.
But over my years as a divorce coach for women 50 and better (and as someone who went through a painful divorce myself), I’ve actually discovered some incredible things I can do for myself and others that guarantee February, March, and the spring are full of warmth, love, and fulfillment.
Donate to a charity that empowers women and girls in need
It doesn’t matter where you are in life or how lost you may think you feel after your divorce. There are women out there who need you, and you–yes, you–can do things to maybe even marginally make their lives better.
Whether it’s domestic or international, related to girls’ education in the developing world, equal access to reproductive health, providing sanitary products to women experiencing homelessness, or your local Girl Scout troop, there are many incredible organizations that would love (and need!) your time and investment.
Not sure where to begin? And nervous that the money you donate won’t go to those in need? No sweat. I love exploring Charity Navigator’s list that is curated specifically for helping women and girls in need. You can check it out here!
Even when you are going through a lot of pain after you were married for decades, paying it forward by helping other women does two things for you.
Number One: It reaffirms you’re not alone and there’s a community out that needs you.
Number Two: It lets you know that even when you’re hurting and stuck, you have the ability to break free from patterns that keep you down. Because you deserve so much happiness—whether it’s at a divorce separation, you’re going through an actual divorce, or you’re already divorced and trying to make sense of what is next for you in this new chapter of your life.
Write a love letter to three incredible women in your life
It can be a good friend, a teacher, your mother, aunt, sister, hair stylist, therapist, or the female doctor who found the suspicious lump early and saved your life.
It doesn’t matter her status. And it doesn’t matter how long the letter is. It can be as simple as sending a text message to her. Or an email. Or finding a beautiful card at the groceries store. Or actually getting out some lovely stationery and composing an old-school (my favorite!) letter.
All that matters is you thank her for what she did for you. And she influenced you in a positive way.
For me, I chose to write a letter to my incredible high school English teacher–a woman who quit her stressful corporate accounting job to pursue her love of teaching youngsters and writing. I also wrote one to an outstanding female US Army sergeant I served with, who helped me navigate a very scary time when I was injured and unsure of what to do. And I also wrote one to a former therapist of mine–long since retired–for helping me deal as my own marriage was falling apart as well as helping me make sense of life as a divorced woman.
Who are your incredible women?
Romance yourself in February and beyond.
Many of us have received societal conditioning that has told us that it’s wrong and indulgent and selfish to even think about doing something for ourselves. And that if we do, we’re no better than Cruella Deville. In fact, many of us have been conditioned to take care of others and never put ourselves first, but that silliness stops today. In the spirit of love, I’d encourage you this weekend to actually romance yourself.
That can look however you want it to.
It can be soaking in a hot bubble bath with the door closed so nobody can bug you.
It can be ordering some delicious take-out and watching your favorite show on Netflix (um, Bridgerton or Emily in Paris, anyone?)
It can be finally ordering that super-soft robe you’ve had your eye on but have felt guilty about buying.
Some of these things can even be affordable luxuries—which is perfect if you’re going through a divorce and unsure of what the financial situation will look like in the end. Or if you’re already on the other side of divorce and still navigating your new financial situation. It’s completely possible to take care of yourself at any budget.
Romancing yourself after divorce has infinite benefits. The most important one is that doing so repeatedly instills an internal sense of self-worth in you, teaching you that you don’t need an external source–not your family’s approval, not a man, nothing–to feel good. For years our society has been brainwashing us into believing that the only way we are valid is if we have a husband. But when we put ourselves first, and embrace the worth we have for just being, we take our power back.
And taking your power back is the greatest act of love of all.
So, how about you? Do you struggle with showing yourself love after divorce? What steps can you take to start pampering yourself and loving yourself in the way you deserve?
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery coach who helps professional women overcome their loneliness and break free from the patterns keeping them stuck so they can feel fulfilled, have more fun, and look forward to the future.
For your Free Divorce Goddess Recovery Kit, stop by http://survivingyoursplit.com