Divorce can be overwhelming at the best of times. One of the very best things you can do when it’s all getting on top of you is to have a spring clean. And I mean that both literally and metaphorically! Read my top 5 ways to spring clean your divorce to find out what I mean…
1. Sort a cupboard
My first tip is very practical, and on the face of it, nothing to do with divorce. Choose a small area of your home, and get it in order. Here’s the crucial thing: go for something manageable, but useful. Maybe it’s the kitchen table, or the unit in your hallway, or the cutlery drawer. Or a flower bed in the garden that’s a bit disheveled after winter.
Whatever it is, ensure you’ll have a feel-good before and after effect within an hour (so don’t go for the garage or loft or something that will take days!). Take a photo. Then sort it out. Get rid of anything broken or no longer needed. Find homes for everything. Get it clean. And take another photo. This is a powerful reminder that you can make changes: your action has an impact on your life.
2. Clear your mind
Once you’ve shown yourself what a difference you can make, it’s time to clear out the unhelpful stories in your head.
If you’re at the start of your divorce, it’s likely you’ll have voices popping up saying things like, ‘I haven’t got what it takes to go through with it’. If you’re in the thick of everything, there will be times you’ll think ‘I’ve had enough now, I’ll just agree to the deal to get it over with’.
First of all, these thoughts are entirely normal. All of us have mind monkeys telling us we’re not good enough: for the promotion, at parenting, at keeping on top of the house. So remember they are just stories.
It’s not going to be possible to banish them from your brain entirely. We’re wired for the status quo unless our lives are in immediate danger. But when you see that they are just stories, and ones that are misguidedly trying to keep you safe, you can acknowledge them, and not let them hold you back.
What stories do you have in your head? Write them down. Then you can play ‘bad news bingo’ every time they pop up!
3. Ditch the unsolicited advice
Now, identify who you don’t need in your divorce circle. Who are the people who have muscled in uninvited? Or perhaps they have proven to be less helpful than you’d hoped for?
Make a list. There are bound to be some: friends, family, your legal team, even. And decide to sweep them out of your divorce process. This doesn’t have to be harsh or unfriendly. In many cases they don’t even need to know! Simply stop talking to them about your divorce. And if they ask, say, ‘Oh, I’m having a day off talking divorce today. Tell me about what you’ve been up to.’
Or, if it works better, be upfront about taking a more structured approach to your divorce, and next time it comes up say, ‘I’m keeping divorce discussions within my specific professional team – it just means I can plan better and have more headspace.’
4. Clear your schedule
When do you get on with your divorce? If the answer is ‘whenever it fits in’, then it’s time for a spring clean.
There are major benefits for setting aside designated time for your divorce. It means you can be clear with your legal support, and with your soon-to-be-ex about timescales. It means you can get stuck into the more complicated tasks, rather than putting them off because they aren’t manageable in the five minutes you’re waiting at the school gates. And, most importantly, it helps give you mental time off from your divorce. If you know you have time set aside coming up, it’s easier for your brain to mentally put it down.
So spring clean your schedule. Be firm and consistent on this. Say no to extra projects. Get up early. Do what it takesI know I sound a bit like a boot camp sergeant, but clear the time! You will feel a whole lot healthier.
5. Organise your paperwork
Let’s finish with another practical one: get organised with your divorce paperwork. Even if you’re the most disorganised person in the world who hates admin, you need to have some sort of system. If your system is simply a divorce box that everything goes into and you review once a week, that’s fine. If you’re into colour-coded ringbinders, that’s great too. Go with whatever works for you.
But whatever level of organisation you’ve got going on right now, take it up a notch. Go from chaos to the box. Or go from the box to a folder. Or from the folder to colour-coded themed ringbinders. Believe me, you’ll feel calmer and more in control.
Want support as you take action on your divorce?
Come and join us in The Absolute Academy, my private community for people who want to axe the overwhelm and get their divorce done. You’ll meet a squad of women who understand where you’re at, who have your back and will cheer you on.
And I’m there with you, every single week: answering your questions, setting you challenges and helping you get clear on what you really want and need so you can get divorce done your way.
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