Your divorce is a marathon, not a sprint, but those are both races that require a trained body and mind to be well-executed. At your divorce finish line, there is a new version of YOU waiting patiently. Don’t wait until the race is over to start taking care of yourself and laying the groundwork for a success. This is valuable time you can use to prioritize your health and envision a more fulfilling personal life on the other side of your divorce.
Step One: Get a Trainer
Every professional athlete has someone in their corner pushing the athlete to be the best version of the athlete’s self in athletic competition. We’re not saying you need to enlist a celebrity trainer to survive your divorce, but there are some key people you need in your corner.
- A therapist. Talking with a trained mental health professional on a regular basis about the stress you will naturally feel while going through your divorce is absolutely vital. There is no “right” way to go through this process; you’re going to have your own experience that will differ from anyone else’s. You deserve a safe, neutral space to work through this. Also important—your friends and family deserve a break!
- A mentor. There are people in your social circles who have gone through divorce and then gone on to have wildly successful and satisfying personal lives. Set up some Zoom happy hours to talk about how they achieved their happiness after divorce. Having tangible examples of success allows your mind to envision it for yourself, which then makes your own success more likely.
- A lawyer. Even in the most amicable of circumstances, spouses are opponents at the end of the day. At a minimum, you owe it to yourself to spend time with a lawyer to learn about your rights with respect to your finances and your children. In many cases, it is necessary to have someone there for you to do the hard work of advocating for your hopes and dreams. Everything is on the line. Investing in the right family lawyer for your needs is an investment in your future self.
- (Maybe) A real trainer. No, this is not a necessity, but having someone to be accountable to and who regularly challenges you in a healthy way can do wonders for your self-confidence and mental health (and waistline!).
Step Two: Goal – New You
What you plan for, you achieve. Before the big game, it would be ludicrous for an athlete to not study the opponent and make a plan for success. Not doing so would be careless and lazy, and, honestly, a bit disrespectful to the fans and spectators. The same can be said for you and your life.
We regularly ask our clients to carefully and thoughtfully envision their lives on the other side of their divorce. It is important that you have a clear vision of what success looks like for you at the end of this process so we can make a plan to meet your goals. In many cases, you’ll be asking people to invest their time and energy (and maybe their money) in this future version of yourself as well. Make this a good investment for everyone.
So now you must ask yourself—
- How do you want to feel?
- What does your life-after-divorce look like?
- What things will feel really good to let go of?
You aren’t required to reinvent yourself by any means, but you should see this as an opportunity to do a little “fixer upper” on yourself. Keep and enhance what is good; leave or repair the bad. You are 100% in control of this step—start envisioning your wildest dreams for yourself.
Write it all down. You don’t have to show anyone, but you should look back and what you’ve come up with on a regular basis to check your progress and address any areas that need tweaking. Share the tangible goals with your lawyer as soon as you can so you can both plan for your success.
Step Three: Get a New Routine
“Finding yourself” is a very real thing when you’re going through a divorce. You may want to try out your pre-marriage routines and habits, which you won’t find to be very helpful because you have grown a little (maybe a lot!) since then. Likewise, trying to maintain the routines you established in your marriage will just not feel good while you’re finding your footing now.
The bottom line, though, is that you need a routine that sets you up for success. Set aside an afternoon for yourself to plan a new routine. Here are some ideas:
- Schedule sleep. Make this priority #1 for your routine. It is so easy to let this go by the wayside, but the truth is that if you are not sleeping for a decent amount of time each night, your mind and body are less effective the following day, which has a domino effect on every other area of your life. Set yourself up for success by planning to catch some shut-eye.
- Schedule a walk outside. 30 minutes a day with your dog, a friend, or your favorite album or podcast will do wonders for your mind and body. If sleeping is like charging your battery, taking a walk is like putting your phone on “airplane mode.” With the weather cooling down (or is it?!), maybe you take a mid-day walk to clear your head and reset before powering back up for an afternoon of meetings. Whenever you choose to do it, the point is that you need to move your body, maybe break a sweat, and soak up a little Vitamin D.
- Schedule some hang time with your friends. There are COVID-friendly ways to maintain your social connections, like Zoom happy hours and front yard socially-distanced picnics. However you choose to socialize, meaningfully connecting with others will make your heart feel good.
- Schedule indulgences. It’s easy to let yourself feel miserable and unable to enjoy the small things while you’re going through divorce. Treat yourself to a fancy coffee drink on Fridays (yay—you made it through another week!), or a dinner out on the weekend (yay—a weekend to yourself!), or a whole cake from your favorite bakery (yay—cake!). You aren’t required to have an excuse to celebrate, but if you don’t plan ahead to allow yourself to enjoy things that make you feel good, your less likely to indulge.
Divorce is hard on the mind and body regardless of when in your life you’re going through it and regardless of whether you’re the person who filed for divorce. In fact, it may be one of the most challenging things—mentally and physically—you undertake in your lifetime. It’s easy to forget—while you’re busy gathering all your financial records or negotiating child possession with your ex—that, when all is said and done and your divorce case is closed, there will be only one person you’ll be answering to—YOU. Use this time wisely to take care of #1.
Our Austin family law attorneys have the experience to guide you through this chapter to the next part of your story. Call Lazar Law at 512-477-1600 to schedule an appointment.