How to get a post-divorce makeover

The Divorce Make-over
Lifestyle: The most immediate change after a divorce is probably going to be a “lifestyle” change. You are going from being a twosome to a onesome. That is going to mean some downsizing, like getting a smaller home, buying a smaller bed, maybe buying a whole new set of furniture. The key to this transition is asking yourself, “what do I want and need to be happy?” You may decide to move to another part of town, or another state. You may even be in the mood to move to another country. The point is, just do it. Just do what makes you happy for a change. What, you can’t just pull up and change your whole life like that? Yes, you can! Hello? Don’t over-think this process. Make a decision and follow through. Be governed simply by the thought: “I will do what makes me happy.” And hopefully what makes you happy is what you need, what makes sense and what is good for you.
Financial/Career: You are probably going to need to work unless you were one of those trophy wives whose husbands are not getting hounded by the SEC and the FEDS. And are there any of those? It is definitely going to be hard with this recession to establish or re-establish a career unless you are in the health industry, the IT industry, or entertainment. But you still have to find a way to do it. Hopefully, you have some alimony and maybe even child support coming your way to tide you over for a while and give you some time to find work. But polish that resume right away and start posting it on, Careerbuilder, and even here on our job board which is a new feature we are in the process of developing and providing our patrons. Speak to friends and neighbors. And don’t overlook the possibility of starting something on your own. The new stimulus package that President Obama has signed into law is expected to have some grant money for small business owners. So that is another avenue to get a head start on before everybody gets in line.
Psychological/emotional– It is so important to learn to love yourself again if you had forgotten how to do that while married. It is important to reclaim your identity and individuality. There is no crime in being self-sufficient and independent. But there may be a crime in being too dependent and too needy on the validation of others, even husbands (and wives). If you are into the whole Carla Bruni Sarkozy school of thought that “therapy is hygiene” then up your visits to your shrink and get “clean.” If you are more inclined to work on yourself, then do what you do, do your thing but resolve to move beyond this chapter in your life as quickly as possible. Refuse, as Jennifer Anniston once said, to be “defined by your marriage.” If she can get over Brad Pitt then anybody can get over anybody. What do you say?
Physical: Even if you may not be ready to brave it and start dating just yet, it should be in your plans to get yourself fixed up physically. By that I mean, don’t let yourself go and grow a 30 pound belly, grow flab and cellulite and just look like a troll just because you are depressed about your divorce. Impress yourself. You may notĀ feel like there is anybody in your life you want to impress. But you should always try to be impressive to your own self. Be kind to yourself. You are a worthy human being. Yes, you are worth it.
Spiritual: Whatever you believe in, whatever brings you peace, pursue that. The movie stars like Madonna and Gwyneth are wild about Kabballah. I know nothing about that. They are also into yoga and pilates. You may be into that too. You may be into Scientology. You may be Buddhist. Or you could just be a regular old Christian person who likes to go to church on Saturday afternoons before meeting your friends downtown at a bar. Or you may just like to take long walks and pray as you are walking (I like to do that). We are spiritual beings and I think to the extent we embrace that part of ourselves, we are going to be happier and healthier and stronger people. After a divorce, it is even more important to have that foundation, something to believe in, something that is constant and does not change.
Originally published March 2, 2009 as The Divorce makeover in 5 easy steps.
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