Everyday seems like a struggle during divorce. Learning how to reinvent ourselves, establishing our independence again, and figuring out what we want during this next chapter of our lives is a bit overwhelming. Oftentimes, we may forget to see all the wonderful things that await us.
So often, we get so bogged down with the stress, overwhelm, and emotional roller-coaster that is the end of a marriage that we forget about all the things that we have going for us. But learning to find joy in your life, especially while navigating or recovering from divorce, is an incredible gift that you can give to yourself. And it can be easier than ever when you ask yourself the following.
What Amazing Things Are You Overlooking?
We have this unfair expectation that only huge milestones in our lives are worth celebrating. But what about the day-in/day-out struggles that we endure, especially as we grow older?
We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things we have accomplished, especially as we learn to move on after divorce. Every day that you take control of your life, every day that you learn a little more about managing money and re-entering the workforce, every day that you get a little bit stronger and take care of yourself and put yourself first and realize that you are worthy of getting your confidence back and reclaiming your life is something you should celebrate.
So, what things will you start to celebrate? I’ve listed a few of my own!
-I choose to celebrate that I am no longer in a relationship that was unhealthy for me.
-I will celebrate that I am a survivor. I got through this, and now I know I can get through anything.
If you are still having trouble with trying to identify things that bring you joy, don’t worry! Finding joy in your life is the most important step to learning how to heal and move on. It is also the easiest but most critical component of taking care of yourself as you recover for your divorce. Another way to approaching finding joy can come from asking yourself the following.
What Is Yours That Nobody Can Take?
Answering this question establishes the solid foundation for celebrating what is good in your life. These answers are simpler than you think. Some of my answers, especially during the hardest times of my divorce, included:
-Coming home to a clean house—everything just how I left it.
-The feeling that although I am no longer married, at least I am not in a toxic, unhealthy relationship anymore.
-Knowing that my dogs would always greet me with a wagging tail and sloppy kiss.
Those simple things are ones we usually take for granted, but when you are mindful to the love and beauty that actually surrounds you, just waiting to be acknowledged, you will see dozens of things to be happy about that are right in front of you.
When the world still seems like a disaster, or when you are angry over something that happened today, or you saw something or heard something that triggered you into feeling resentful or grief-stricken, you must do this one thing.
Write Down 5 Things For Which You Are Grateful
These things do not have to be extravagant. In fact, the simplest of things are usually the best, because they remind us that we are still alive and that we will be okay. Need some inspiration? Take a look at last night’s entry into my own notebook.
-The crinkle of the snow under my feet
-The smell of fabric softener on clean sheets
-Hot Epsom salt bath before bed
-My dog, who is always so playful and silly
-Homemade delicious olive oil cake after dinner
Do This Exercise Tonight
I prefer doing this as I am getting ready for bed. After I finish the night rituals but still have a few minutes before I know that I am going to zonk out is when I write these things. It doesn’t really matter when you do it exactly, but I find that doing it at the end of the day is the best way to get closure on any nonsense that has gotten in my space, as well as celebrating any good things that have come my way, too.
Make It Easy For Yourself
I keep a medium-sized notebook with a pen on my nightstand, next to my alarm clock. That way, I will see it every night. It can be as simple of a notebook as you want—some people get super-fancy and call them Gratitude Journals. I just call it a lifeline to joy.
Make This A Habit
This is not a just-one-and-done thing, however. You must make this a habit in order for it to work. Some studies show that it takes 21 days of practice to make something a habit, but you will start to notice the change in your outlook in just three days.
You may also see patterns of things for which you are grateful—things that appear in your notebook regularly. It’s not a coincidence. It’s a sign that these are the things in your life that bring you joy, and these are the things you should celebrate. These are the things that, when you are angry or lonely, have the power to center you again and remind you that you have control of your life, that you are strong, and that regardless of where you have been, you will get your life and happiness back.
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce and recovery coach whose website Surviving Your Split specializes in working with readers who are struggling to move on with their lives post-divorce. Martha helps her clients break through their pain and heartache, conquer their post-divorce anxiety, and teaches them to regain their confidence so they can get their lives back.