When I talk about self-care, I am not talking about getting spa treatments (although those are nice too!). I’m talking about taking intentional time for yourself. Even through the divorce process, you can tend to your innermost needs. I’m talking about taking this very moment as your opportunity to powerfully press reset and begin anew.
Listening to that deepest part of you that is too often long forgotten through the relationship is where the fun (and work) begins. We spend so much time denying our innermost voices that we begin to forget who we are, what ignites our sense of joy or peace.
As you navigate through and beyond your divorce, consider where you may be painting yourself into a corner. Where are you engaging in pointless conflict? Where can you make more powerful decisions that will guide you closer to your calmest, most centered self? That deep listening is where you will begin to learn how to better care for yourself. While self-care means starting to say yes to yourself, you may need to first tap into what will lift you up. Here is a nice what to begin:
Even if you’re not someone who meditates regularly, a nice way to begin tuning into yourself is by engaging in a simple breathing practice. With closed eyes, take several long slow breaths in and out through your nose. Hold at the top and bottom for several seconds. Notice any passing thoughts and then let them go. This practice will literally slow down your thinking so you can begin to notice how you are feeling. And, you can then begin to pay attention to what you need. Do you need more sleep? Healthier food? More “me-time?” Maybe you just need to cry and let go. And then, to make a conscious decision to engage in more of what serves you. This moment is a perfect time to ascertain just exactly what you need for your deepest healing.
Once you gain clarity around what you need, you can then begin to do more of what nourishes your soul. At first you may simply wish to say yes to walking away from an argument cycle. Or maybe for you that means, saying “yes, I will fight for what the money that I need to live and support my children”. If your divorce is over (or the law where you lives allows), and you are struggling financially, you could decide to sell your engagement ring or some other long forgotten jewelry to access some needed resources. Whatever comes up for you to feel better PERSONALLY deserves your attention. You must take care of yourself by treating yourself like someone you love. From there, you can move forward.
When these elemental material and custody needs are satisfied, you will find you have the emotional freedom to say yes to larger desires. It may mean saying yes, I will put myself back out there and take an art lesson, or go back to school. Or, saying yes to a neighbor to sit for your child while you meet a friend for an hour or two. Saying yes is a skill that has changed my relationship with myself, with my children and within all of my relationships, both with others and at work.
While it may seem counterintuitive, your experience of your divorce process and your relationship with all involved is more likely to improve if you begin to take better care of yourself. Taking ownership or your personal choices is not about “winning” or “losing” your case. It’s about recognizing your personal agency over your entire life experience. It’s about engaging more deeply with yourself and recognizing where and how you can become more whole.
Even if you’re embroiled in a nasty and contentious divorce battle, you can do this. Slowly, putting your own needs first, one step at a time. Surround yourself with more of the people and experiences that serve you. Take a walk in nature. Read an indulgent book. Share a meal with a trusted confidant. With increased self-care, you will increase your self-respect. You will feel more satisfied. More confident. And, ironically, you will become more attractive to yourself and to others.
Ask yourself if you’re giving yourself the same level of importance as you are giving to everyone and everything else around you. Self care takes work. As you begin to visualize your own desires more clearly, they will become internalized and realized. While the facts of your personal life may be swirling all around you, as you deepen your relationship with yourself, you will begin to feel more rooted and engaged. Begin by bringing in one small thing each day that ignites or inspires your innermost needs and desires. When you integrate your true vision of your life into the life you are living today, you create possibilities for yourself, your family and your future.
With support and strength,
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DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.