You get a year. A free pass for 12 months to be a freaky weirdo.
Drink too much after the kids go to bed.
Smoke a few cigarettes at break time with your colleagues.
Let the house go, let the dishes pile up in the sink.
Hell, might as well preemptively cancel the gym memberships, because you’re not going.
Be stinky and oily, and let your pubes hang out of your swimsuit on a public beach in the midwest.
Sleep with a bunch of completely inappropriate people and wear things that no one at your age with your body should ever even think about wearing in public.
Stay up all night stalking your college boyfriend on Facebook.
You’re good. No judgment here!
Am I describing your friend or sister? Let her have at it, hang it all out. It’s part of the process from which she will emerge, mind-blowingly successful and stronger than ever.
If you or someone you know is recovering from divorce, here are some tips to help you move forward:
- Get comfortable introducing yourself as a divorced person.
- Learn how to co-parent with your ex.
- Adjust to living alone again.
- Commit to therapy post-divorce.
- Join a support group for divorced women.
Learn how to recover from divorce in the first year, and ultimately, how you can come out a better version of yourself.
1. Practice introducing yourself as a divorced person
First, practice introducing yourself as a divorced person. Do not submit to the temptation to, when meeting a new person, say, another mom on the playground, to unload a 400-word soliloquy about how-he-cheated-and-is-an-alcoholic-narcissist-and-left-you-with-a-baby.
Instead, should the matter come up at all, just say: “I’m divorced.” The rest really is none of their business. Or, you could say, “I’m not married.” It is true, plain, appropriate and mysterious all at the same time.
Meet new people and friends through the best friend apps that we researched.
2. Learn how to coparent with your ex
You might not reach Gwyneth Paltrow-level co-parenting (vacation with your ex is not for everyone, after all), but you can aim to be civil, fair, positive about him when speaking to the kids (and others — otherwise you start to sound bitter. Not a good look).
A co-parenting app like Our Family Wizard can help with features like a shared calendar, closed messaging and text, financial record keeping, an information vault for keeping track of contacts and medical and school information, as well as a way to download and submit records to courts.
3. Adjust to living alone after divorce
Many women have an intense reaction to living alone for the first time after divorce. On one hand, it can feel amazing to have your very own space, no one’ mess to clean up, decorate as you like, and otherwise be at peace in your own home.
On the other hand, it can feel lonely and even scary to be home alone without another adult there. All these feelings are normal and healthy!
This may be an opportunity to invest in a home security system, create a closer community with your neighbors, or otherwise start socializing and entertaining in your home.
4. Consider post-divorce therapy
There’s no shame in getting professional help. You don’t even need to see a therapist IRL anymore, thanks to the plethora of self-care apps out there. Online therapy sites connect you with a licensed professional right from home.
5. Join a divorce support group for women
Support groups for divorce can be powerful. I had an incredible experience with group therapy around the time of my own divorce, and connecting with other women going through a similar situation, as well as those who are both ahead of you, and following you in their divorce journeys, can be informative, healing and humbling.
The benefits of group therapy include feeling normal, getting feedback from your peers, accountability and seeing your own growth — or need for growth — through your peers in the therapy group.
I run a Millionaire Single Moms support group for women on Facebook, where women share about all the joys, traumas and realities of parenting solo.
Moving forward: What about the one-year anniversary after divorce?
But at month 13? Time to tidy up business. Your Post-Divorce Hot Mess Pass has expired. Hit the reset button with these three tips:
1. Focus on self-care
Drinking a glass of wine at the end of a long day isn’t self-care. A proper self-care routine includes activities you do daily to invest in your mental and physical health. Try these self-care ideas:
- Take care of yourself physically. When people talk about self-care, they usually only address the emotional aspect of it, but it’s just as important to care for your body. Exercise, eat healthy foods, take a warm bath to relax your muscles, treat yourself to a massage (if you can afford it — debt is not self care!), and get 8+ hours of sleep each night.
- Put your phone away. Endlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram can be detrimental to your mental health. Take regular breaks from your phone and set guidelines on social media use. Try an app that limits screen time, like Space.
- Try or continue therapy. Therapy can help you continue to rebuild, achieve a healthy outlook, and help you remain accountable to moving forward.
2. Practice yoga and meditation
- Start your day with a morning meditation. Take advantage of the quiet you have before the bustle of the day begins. Even just five minutes of meditation in the A.M. can make a difference in your mood.
- Download a meditation app. There are lots of free meditation apps out there. Some of the best include Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App.
- Read meditation books. Yep, pick up a good ol’ fashioned paper book to learn the ins and outs of meditation. A break from devices is an added bonus. Meditation Made Easy, Practicing Mindfulness, and Mindfulness Made Simple offer easy-to-understand meditation tips to help you master your practice.
- Follow yoga videos. Can’t make it to a studio? No problem. You can still get your Ohm on by taking an online yoga class. Tune into Yoga With Adriene for straightforward yoga classes with none of the woo-woo.
3. Get your financial act together
Financial wellbeing plays a huge role in how well you feel physically and mentally. Follow this advice for getting your finances in order:
- Make a financial plan. Use a tool like the ones offered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to get focused on your goals. This site offers info on investing, financial calculators, tips to protect your investments, and more.
- Improve your credit. This will allow you to apply for a mortgage, get a business or student loan, and more. Start by applying for a balance transfer credit card. You can also boost your credit score immediately by an average of 13 points by using Experian Boost, a free tool that also gives you a credit score and FICO report (all free!).
- Investigate refinancing your student debt or mortgage at a lower rate.
- Set up a budget. Once you budget your money, slash your spending. See what monthly memberships you can cancel or scale back on to save dough: cable, that fancy gym you belong to, all those random subscriptions to services you don’t use.
4. Sell your engagement ring and wedding ring
Selling the items that remind you of our spouse and former life can help in your healing journey. For example, you might want to sell your wedding jewelry.
I wrote about why I decided to sell my engagement ring, and how to do it safely. The bottom line is that I sold an engagement ring that I didn’t use, no longer wanted, and kept me holding on to a relationship that I was no longer in.
That post also gives step-by-step instructions on how to sell a diamond ring.
Top reasons to sell your engagement ring, wedding ring, and other sentimental jewelry include:
- You don’t use it, so get rid of it.
- Your engagement ring or other jewelry likely has bad memories and energy attached to it, so best to set that free — open your life up to new and better experiences.
- The money you earn from selling your jewelry can be invested in positive things, like retirement, buying a home or car, a vacation, or starting that home-based business you’ve been thinking about.
And check out our list of top movies and TV shows about single parents.
Bottom line: Recovering from divorce is not linear
The good news: there is life after divorce.
Recovery after divorce takes time. There will be ups and downs and lots of emotions. Use the tips in this post to cope and move forward.
Looking for like-minded women focused on building their careers and finances? Join the Millionaire Single Moms group on Facebook.
Did you lose it during your divorce? Thoroughly embarrass yourself? Go on … share in the comments!