When you feel the weight of your situation bearing down on your shoulders, try to make a list of at least three things you usually have fun doing and tape it to the fridge or a kitchen cupboard that you see regularly.
The list can contain anything from knitting, ice skating, bathing and grooming the dog, star gazing, giving yourself a pedicure, meditating or visiting an art gallery; the only pre-requisite to be on the list is that the activity should give you pleasure. Decorate it with silly smiley faces too, you don’t have to be van Gogh about it, an L S Lowry stick-woman will do.
If you see the list enough times as you pass through the house, eventually you’ll seduce yourself into doing one of them and hopefully restoring your smile again.
It only takes one happy event, one positive occurrence to happen and you can wipe out a whole tide of sadness in one motion. It might not last forever, but it’ll set the tone for a happier day.
Car insurance is one of those strange anomalies that’s only likely to rear its renewable head once a year.
If you are recently separated and were jointly insured for your vehicles, you’ll be wise to contact your insurance company or broker to make any necessary adjustments to the policies, as soon as possible.
This is most especially relevant if your ex usually handled those affairs.
You really don’t want to find out that they’ve removed you from a policy you thought was in place, or conveniently omitted to pay the renewal premium, in the wake of a nasty collision.
It’s funny how books and movies can have such a strong impact on you when you are feeling emotionally vulnerable.
I remember being on my lead up to leaving and watching ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ based on the memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’d spend a day drifting in and out of my own thoughts and ended up at the cinema desperately seeking something to lift my spirits. I’d never heard of the book or the author come to that, but it was either this or a mad shoot ‘em up flick; I went for ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and am so glad I did.
This celluloid presentation of a lady seeking solace through a difficult divorce was just what I needed and I remember clearly feeling her palpable torment before leaving her husband, as if it were my very own; I guess part of it was.
Here is a quote from the lady herself: ‘This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something’.
How true that is.
If your ex lashed out with insults about your sexual performance or intimate pleasing ability, throw that thought out with your next bag of trash.
It is likely to be as off kilter as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Insults that cut below the belt have a clever way of niggling away at your very core, but their vitriol is likely to have been fuelled by the stuff that powers them; bilious spite.
The truth is, if your existence has descended to this level of horror, there is only one way it can go, back up again!
Life with a new lover one day is likely to blow all of your expectations out of the water and life with love for yourself is a very good place to start believing it can happen.
Music has an overwhelming ability to affect our emotions and alter our state of mind, both adversely and positively.
At times when the dreaded divorce paperwork is bearing down upon you, or you have an inordinate amount of form filling in to do, it can help enormously if you have something playing in the background that soothes you while you do so.
You probably know what genre of music is likely to work best for you and if you are unable to invest in a new collection, explore the music section in your local library and seek out back catalogues from your favourite bands, or perhaps try something completely different, put the records on and ease the process.
Major changes to your daily routine following a separation, can leave you with pockets of time you’d rather not have empty.
Any upheaval is likely to be part of a temporary phase and you will undoubtedly have nice events to look forward to in the not too distant future, Christmas being an obvious one.
The problem is, the bit between now and then can often feel like a gaping chasm.
Find a local charity who you affiliate with and donate a few of your spare hours to them. They will be delighted to receive your assistance and it’ll give you lots of fresh activities to occupy your mind and hands which is no bad thing.
It’ll also open the door to a flock of new people and interaction with like-minded volunteers will create a healthy and healing environment for your mind to reside in.
It might be the furthest thing from your mind right now, but whatever stage of divorce you are scraping through at the moment, try to find one element of humour in it.
It might be in the ridiculous set of excuses your ex gave you as they threw all the toys out of their pram in your final argument. It might even be in the mad physical circumstances in which you caught them betraying you, but somewhere deep in your story, there is a flash of funny.
Find it and hold onto it.
Exploring dark humour – as it is likely to be during a divorce – might end up being a useful coping mechanism to get you through the stickier parts of the process.
You never know until you try it.
It can be a bamboozling task trying to make long-term financial decisions about any capital you may find yourself in receipt of, post-divorce.
Whilst you must recognise that we are are not IFAs, if you are in the UK you might like to consider putting your money into NS&I Premium Bonds in the short term, while you have a think about what you want to do. Instead of paying interest, the NS&I hold monthly prize draws with a £1 million jackpot and over a million smaller denomination cash prizes.
The organisation is backed by HM Treasury so you can sit confidently in the knowledge that all the money you invest in Premium Bonds is 100% secure whether or not you win a prize.
Once you’ve received some sound independent financial advice on how to best invest for your future and made an informed decision on what you want to do, you can cash the Bonds in immediately and get the full lump sum you invested back out, ready to reinvest as you choose.
Safe short-term plans are secure and comforting while you’re recovering from the bizarre madness of divorce.
NB: Seek qualified independent financial advice on what to do and do not put it all under the mattress!
The other side of breaking up it can be hard to imagine yourself as anything lovable, however, you should try to learn to love every inch of you, including any wrinkly, saggy, old, achy or well worn bits.
Collectively, they go to make up the whole that is you and you’re deserved of love in the highest degree. This best starts with recalibrating the view we have of ourselves and loving who we are.
Invest in a long, hot relaxing bath with some of your favourite aromatherapy oils in the water, lavender and rose geranium are soothing and healing. Add a little music and gentle lighting and wash your body slowly, don’t miss a crease.
You need to understand that you are worthy of patience and self love, before you worry about anybody else filling that void.
If you’ve used the services of the Child Maintenance Service or a similar organisation to claim monies from an errant or absent parent to help you raise your child/ren, you’ll know that keeping on top of the paperwork is paramount.
If you think you may end up going down this route, heed this tip as a cautionary prompt to get prepared and get organised.
Mark down the nights the child/ren stay with you and keep hold of receipts for anything you purchase for them such as school uniform, payments for school trips and so on.
Also, ensure you keep an eye on whether the other parent lives up to the amount of nights they advise the CSA they plan to have the child/ren in their overnight care. It’s easy for them to promise one thing and for the dates to go down and your expenses to ramp up.
By keeping the authorities informed of what’s been going on, you’ll be one step ahead of the game and hopefully a little closer to getting the help your child/ren are due