Divorce has a way of shaking people up and making them realize that they were actually feeling stifled and constrained in their marriages. It can be very liberating to suddenly realize that you don’t have to check with anybody else about major – or minor – decisions in your life (unless you’re still co-parenting with your ex).
If you’re pursuing a divorce or have recently finalized one, it may be shocking to the system to realize that you can go where you want and do what you want, at least more often than you used to. Now that you’re free, how can you effectively reclaim your independent spirit and build a new life? These are some tips that may help.
Take some time to self-reflect and heal
You will need to take some time to heal and reflect on your past relationship. Divorce can bring a whirlwind of emotions, and you need to process these feelings in a healthy way. Consider seeking the support of a therapist or counselor to help you navigate this emotional terrain.
Prioritize self-care as much as possible
During your marriage, you may have had to put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own far too often. Now, you need to give yourself “permission to be selfish” and prioritize your own needs, whatever those may be. For some people, that can mean embracing a healthier diet or meditation and taking up yoga. For others, it means putting everything you own in storage and going on a six-month hiking vacation.
Reconnect with old passions or find new hobbies
One of the best ways to regain your independence is by rediscovering the things that bring you joy. Think back to the things you loved to do before your marriage and the activities you may have set aside because there was never enough time. Whether it’s painting, hiking, dancing or playing a musical instrument, it’s not too late to reconnect with those passions. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, now is also a great time to throw yourself into a new hobby.
Rebuild your social connections
Divorce usually leads to changes in your social circle, so rebuilding your support network is important. Reach out to old friends, join clubs or social groups that align with your interests, and surround yourself with positive, supportive people who can help you regain your confidence and sense of belonging.
Set new goals
When you were married, most of your goals probably included your spouse – so now you need to hit “reset” and find new ones. Setting clear objectives gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Whether it’s pursuing a new career, completing your degree or traveling to a dream destination, having goals to work toward can feel incredibly empowering.
Remember that this journey is about rediscovering your sense of self and creating a life that reflects your values and desires. Experienced legal guidance can help you as you proceed through your divorce, if it is pending. If you’re already divorced, know that you can seek legal guidance any time that challenges arise that could benefit from a professional’s insight.