Divorce can very easily overwhelm you. It can feel terrifying. It’s unwanted, it’s complicated. Here are 5 ways to develop a healthy divorce mindset.
First things first, the last blog delved deep into the 30 Divorce Mantras you need to see you through. If you’ve not read it, go and find it, print it out, and put it on your wardrobe door/bathroom mirror/kitchen cupboard. Get these mantras in front of you every day.
I’m not going to pretend that positive thinking alone will have you sailing through divorce. You have work to do. However, your mindset affects your actions in a powerful way. You will have to reach a financial settlement during divorce. Are you more likely to take action to get the settlement you want if you live and breathe the idea that you’re ‘no good with money’, or that you’re ‘a capable money manager’? You know the answer to that question.
Think of mindset and actions as two parts of a virtuous circle. Starting off with these mantras puts you in a good frame of mind to take helpful, smart action. Then your actions reinforce the beliefs you’re internalising through the mantras. And if you have a setback, the mantras stop you from spiralising. Steadily, incrementally, you make more progress.
Go and read the blog now!
2. Think about pace
One of the divorce mantras is ‘divorce is a marathon, not a sprint’. You need to pace yourself. Don’t put yourself under pressure to get your divorce done quickly. Don’t put yourself under pressure to do it perfectly: believe me, the ‘perfect’ divorce doesn’t exist.
What does pacing yourself look like? Having a solid vision (where the specifics are flexible) and values. Basing your decision on those. Not being hurried by your soon-to-be, or anyone else. Not beating yourself up if you need a break – and you will need to put your divorce down sometimes. No-one can carry divorce full time without collapsing.
Celebrate your progress, every tiny step of it. You will cross the finish line.
3. Look after the basics
If you’re going to get your divorce mindset as healthy as possible, you need to look after the physical side of things too. This isn’t the time to take on massive sporting challenges – unless you know that sort of thing is exactly what you need to give you focus (you’re the expert in you!).
Keep it simple:
- Drink an extra glass of water
- Go to bed by a fixed time (or half an hour earlier than you usually do!)
- Go for a walk for 10 minutes
- Contact a friend and ask to meet up
- Limit your booze intake
- Cook extra so you have freezer meals
- Eat an apple (or fruit of choice!)
And don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day. A fishfinger sandwich for tea isn’t going to ruin you or your children. A duvet day doesn’t mean you’ll never exercise again. Just try and build in simple, kind-to-you habits more often than not.
4. Feel the fear and do it anyway
No-one chooses divorce, not really. Even if you’re the one who decides to leave. You didn’t expect this on your wedding day. And, pretty much all humans avoid the things we don’t like or didn’t choose for ourselves. We’re wired to be cautious about change – it’s our prehistoric brain telling us to stay in the cave to avoid being eaten by the sabre-toothed tiger!
So divorce can very easily overwhelm you. It can feel terrifying. It’s unwanted, it’s complicated and your brain is screaming at you to stay safe. The trouble is, divorce isn’t going anywhere. And, as one of the Divorce Mantras goes: ‘divorce doesn’t get easier, you just get older’.
Feeling the fear and going it anyway is sometimes as simple as taking a deep breath, rehearsing your divorce mantras and going for it.
Sometimes it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes it means resting first (and then doing it). Sometimes it means getting help (and then doing it)… which brings me to our last point…
5. Build your circle
Even the healthiest of divorce mindsets needs back up. You will need people. You will need people you work with to understand. You will need school to be on the look out for your children. But most of all, you need a support team around you. People you trust. And not everyone has to do everything.
Taking financial advice from Great Aunty Mary might not be smart. Using your solicitor as emotional support is definitely not smart (and will definitely cost you lots of money in six minute billable increments!). Think about who can help you, and be really clear on the boundaries. Accepting help with childcare from your neighbour doesn’t mean you’re honour-bound to listen to stories of her terrible divorce for hours, or divulge every aspect of your experience.
A divorce coach can be the lynchpin of your team: helping you figure out what you want for your future, and who you need to help you get there. I’m your trusted sounding board – and while I’m kind, I am not a ‘yes’ woman. If there’s an uncomfortable truth you need to hear, I promise you’ll hear it!
As a coach with a background as a lawyer, I’ll help you shape up your divorce mindset and develop your divorce savvy in equal measure. Come and have a free 30 minute chat with me to find out how.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the author of the Amazon best-selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of The Six Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com