Adjusting to the new Stay-at-Home reality of this pandemic has been challenging, to say the least. We are now 60 days in, and everyone is talking about the “pivot” – to a new work environment, to a new school environment, to new products or services your business will offer. We are here, in a new reality.
For some, that pivot means leaving your marriage. So many people know they are in a bad marriage that needs to end, but do not leave because the idea of living alone is worse than staying. But an unhappy marriage pre-pandemic looks very different than one that has endured the shut-in of the last 2 months. You may have come to the realization that your marriage cannot survive. In truth, for many the loneliness of a bad marriage is much worse than the loneliness of living alone.
For those of you with kids, separation and divorce mean that your children will be living with you some of the time and with your spouse some of the time. Going back and forth between living alone and living in a family can seem impossible to navigate.
Living alone is the first step to finding your way back to a happy life. It isn’t easy, but nothing we are facing in this pandemic is easy.
Try these tips to learn to live alone happily:
Establish Morning and Evening Routines
When you live alone, you have mornings and evenings all to yourself. That can be a thrilling thought –especially if you have kids – but it can also be a terrifying time. Establishing morning and evening routines that suit you will provide your most vulnerable times of the day with structure and purpose. You will start to build a history with yourself that is consistent and reliable. An established morning and evening routine will anchor your day. You can look forward to waking up the next day and to winding down at night.
We are having to establish new routines in this pandemic for stay-at-home and work-from-home; if you have done it already in your work life or your kids’ school life, then you know what it takes to work out a new routine. It’s hard work. New routines that work for you don’t magically happen; they take commitment and trial and error. Put your routine in writing. Commit to it daily. Adjust as necessary until you find yourself following your routine innately and without having to consult the checklist.
Make Your Bed
Do yourself the honor of making your bed every morning. It will help. Making your bed reinforces the fact that little things in life matter. When you are in the middle of a separation or divorce, you no longer have a marital bed. It is your bed; you are doing something for you each day. Making your bed forces you to face the day without the prospect of crawling back under the sheets. It demarks night from day. It’s a new start.
Admiral William H. McRaven gave this advice at the 2014 Commencement Address at The University of Texas at Austin: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
And in the evening, you will come back to a bed that is made, by you. “A made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
Socialize – Even in a Pandemic
Perhaps the biggest challenge to overcoming loneliness in this pandemic is the restrictions on social activities. A key to living alone is making time and finding ways to connect with other people. Most people going through separation and divorce find themselves isolating. The typical outlets to finding community and friends have all been shut down due to COVID-19. It is difficult for all of us, much less the newly separated, to find human interaction. When you are going through a separation or divorce, it is difficult to go through the effort, but you must. We are all having to get creative with our social interactions; so in that respect at least we are all in the same boat. Identify one person or a small group of people you can feel yourself with and plan a weekly Zoom happy hour/coffee. Make a list of people you can invite to walk with and then, invite them. Just don’t succumb to isolation; making an effort toward connecting with others will go a long way in your journey to being happy living by yourself.
Other Helpful Tips for Living Alone
- Get a Pet: What better time than a pandemic to bring a pet into your life? A pet will bring love into your home and help you develop a daily routine.
- Take Care of Your Home: Make it a comfortable and enjoyable place to be; keep it clean and tidy. This means you must do the dishes. Make it a rule not to leave dirty dishes in the sink.
- Revel in the Perks of Living Alone: Take up all the space in your place. Play your music loud or keep it blissfully quiet. Set the thermostat to the temperature you like best. The place is all yours; you don’t have to share (except when your kids come back, but that can be your secret).
Contact Us Today for Assistance
When contemplating a divorce or marital separation, Lazar Law can guide you in the available legal options while ensuring your rights and best interests are protected. To schedule a confidential consultation, call or contact our Austin divorce lawyers online today.