So, the big day is over, but we are still in the holiday season: those strange days between Christmas and New Year dubbed ‘twixmas’. This time of year can bring different things to all of us: manic rushing all over the country (and maybe you just need a big rest)? An empty diary, with nothing to do (and leaves you feeling lonely)? More hosting and entertaining (perhaps with people you’d rather not see)? Whatever you have going on, it can take an emotional and financial toll. So, whatever you’re up to, here are five ways to feel good this Twixmas.
If you think because I’m a coach I’m here to get you to be as productive as possible over the next few days, then you don’t know me very well! It’s so important to take time off. Think about what you need from the week ahead and how you can get it, for example:
- Time to yourself: can friends or relatives help with childcare?
- Time to play: can you meet up with those friends who make you snort with laughter?
- Time to sleep: can you turn off the alarms (put the children in front of a Christmas film while you nap)?
- Time outside: can you bribe the children with hot chocolate and stretch your legs? Can you and a friend go and blow away the cobwebs together?
Sometimes the most ‘productive’ thing you can do is nothing at all. But that can be more difficult than it seems, which is what we’ll look at next.
Segment your time
It’s all very well saying you’ll switch off, but our minds aren’t always as compliant as that! I’m sure we’ve all had those nights when we’ve gone to bed early because we’re exhausted, and tossed and turned all night. One technique to help with this is to list all the things playing on your mind. And then to decide your next action.
Our brains don’t like open loops: situations where there’s uncertainty. And while we’re not always able to control those loops completely (if only you could decide to get your divorce done this week and that was that!), you can signal a pause, which stops your mind whirring so much.
So, pour yourself a glass of wine if you like (though don’t do this after too many!), take a deep breath and create a table with three columns. You can either do this digitally or the old fashioned way with pen and paper.
In the first one write out all the things that are bothering you. Anything from needing to get the MOT booked in to the latest niggly email your soon-to-be-ex has sent. Get it all down, a new line for each. In the second column write the next thing you need to do about it. And in the third, write the date by when it needs to be done. If it’s not urgent, put ‘review end January’.
This will help your brain let go of some of those loose ends, as you’ll have a plan for taking care of them. It will also mean you can set aside proper time for fun and relaxation, without worries slipping in all the time.
Get a handle on money
It is worth setting aside at least a little time for a quick financial health check. If your Christmas has pushed your budget this is particularly important. Again, the focus isn’t on doing everything now, but knowing what you can and will do, so you feel calmer and more in control.
Firstly, review your Christmas presents. Are there things that need to be returned? Get all the receipts in one place, so you can get your money back, rather than be stuck with a gift card you don’t really want, or worse, don’t get anything.
Next, do you need to organise repayment of credit cards or other bills? If you need to negotiate payment plans, get your request in early. Companies like to see that you are being proactive.
Don’t be carried away by sales shopping: nothing’s a bargain if you don’t really need or love it! But if there are essentials that you’re likely to need in the coming year and you can take advantage of a good deal now, do it.
Think about the income you will need. Are there ways to maximise your income, through work, benefits, or other avenues such as renting out a spare room? Think about what feels workable for you and the first step to making it happen.
Do some reflection
Midwinter isn’t always the best time to put pressure on yourself with new year’s resolutions – though if you’re feeling inspired, great. But it can be a good time to go gently and look inwards. Before looking ahead, it’s a good idea to look back. Do this with armfuls of self kindness: grab a blanket, a mug of something comforting, your notebook and try these questions:
- What am I most proud of this year?
- What am I grateful for?
- What has made me hurt this year? What do I need to heal?
- How have I surprised myself this year?
Do some maths
Once you’ve looked back on your year, it’s time to look ahead. A way into this that can often bring surprising and honest answers is to do some maths:
- What would you like to add in to your life this year?
- What would you like to subtract?
- What would you like to multiply?
- What would you like to share out?
Write out your responses without overthinking at first, even if what comes out is fantastical and unrealistic. There will be nuggets of truth in the fairy tales! Then go through and ask yourself what you really want and need? Are there ‘maths actions’ you can take?
Is 2023 the year to invest in you?
As you look ahead to the future, think about what’s most important to you in the coming months. Those things are where you need to invest: money, yes, but also time and energy. Resolve not to fritter your attention on the things that don’t matter to you – particularly other people’s dramas (particularly if you have an ex-spouse who is all about the drama)!
If you want to get your divorce done on your terms in 2023, I’d love to help. The Absolute Academy is open to new members, and we’d love to see you in there! It’s a place to share the warts and all of your divorce, safe in the knowledge people will get it. And it’s where you’ll get my coaching, guidance and support so, whatever you’re going through, you won’t be alone.
Start the new year with an investment in the future you want. Come and join us!
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