Martha Bodyfelt offers a two-part exercise to start managing your divorce stress so that you can start getting your life back.
At some point during the divorce and separation process, you may feel like you have checked all the boxes: you found a decent lawyer, you’re working with a good support system, and your finances are under control.
So, why are you still feeling awful?
Most people going through divorce know of that awful drama chaotic feeling I’m talking about. You may think everything is under control, but the next thing you know, the ex-to-be sends you a text saying they’re going to be two hours late picking up the kids, although you agreed on the original time a week ago.
Or you rush to your attorney appointment, only to find yourself waiting. For an extra hour. Silliness like that builds up. Day after day, week after week, month after month. During that time, you’re trying to stay strong, saying “I’m fine” through clenched teeth to anyone who asks, when the truth of the matter is you just want to go into the bathroom and scream.
Why can’t we get a break, for just one day during this divorce?!?!
Here’s the bad news: You can’t get out of the daily mess if you keep doing the same things that got you there.
That doesn’t mean you fire your attorney, flip your boss off, and run away to Tahiti. The only why you’re going to escape the daily insanity is if you change how you react to it.
Think of the daily toils of divorce as the 5-foot view. During divorce, we usually only take action when something is right in front of our face, meaning that we usually react to it emotionally, and usually not in the way that best suits us and our moving on without being stressed and bitter.
The only way to get out of the rat race is to think bigger, think better, think ahead. You’re better than this BS that weighing you down. And the only way to rise above it is to think bigger. The Big Picture. Sure, you’re stuck in this divorce process where day in and day out it’s never-ending to-do lists and too much advice. But that doesn’t mean you have to continue letting it bring you down. And the only way you can get above it is to think ahead of it.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Take a look at the following two-part exercise to find out how you can start managing your divorce stress so that you can start getting your life back.
First, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do you want…really want for yourself in the next week?
- What about the next month?
- How about in three months? What do you want to have accomplished?
- In the next six months?
- The next year?
- Where do you want to be three years from now? You could be anywhere, doing anything you want, and your kids (if you have them) could be happy, too. What does that look like for you?
Hopes and dreams rock. They inspire us to be the best possible version of ourselves. But we’re not done there. Now, for part 2 of this exercise! Now, let’s revisit those goals that help us think beyond the daily grind, and challenge ourselves to think about what we are going to do to make them happen.
List at least 3 steps for each of the goals you have—let’s call them the Action Plan.
- In the next week, what 3 steps will you take to change how you’re currently handling the craziness?
- In the next month, what 3 steps will change how you feel right now? What will you do to make that change?
- Three months from today, 3 steps will you have done to feel more secure and better about your state than you are now?
- Six months from now, what changes have you made for yourself that have helped erase the toxicity that you are experiencing today?
- 365 days into the future, what systems have you put into place in your life that have left you stronger, more confident, and even more bad-ass than you currently are (if that’s even possible!)?
- Fast-forward 3 years. It’s 2019 and your divorce is ancient history. What changes have you made in your life that have resulted in your ability to move on and not only survived, but thrived since your divorce?
The Game Plan to Break Free
It feels good, doesn’t it? Being able to imagine the endless possibilities that await you.
But remember—YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THEM.
By identifying where you want to be at the end of the day, by tomorrow, by the end of the week, in a month, etc. you are telling yourself that you are better than falling in the vicious cycle and reaction and drama that the daily drudgery of divorce tries to suck you into. However, although keeping your eyes on the prize and looking at the Big Picture of the life you have waiting for you on the other side helps you rise above the day-to-day struggles, the other half of the equation is you writing down and planning how to get there. I can help you get there, but at the end of the day it is your responsibility because this is your life and your happiness.
So, think boldly. See the forest and don’t just get stuck in all the trees. Remember that what’s waiting for you on the other side is that matters and that’s where your energy needs to go.
Think about where you want to be, what you want to do, and what you are going to do to create that future for yourself—that second chance that you weren’t expecting.
This article originally appeared on Linked In
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