Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Adjusting to more alone time can be a challenge after divorce. But there are ways to make it fun, productive and something you actually look forward to!
Many of us going through divorce have not been alone much in life. We went from home to college, to roommates to living together to marriage to kids. Not much alone time in there, but there are lots of amazing ways to get used to this time and learn to actually love it!
The good news about learning to be alone is - this is a skill that can be learned just like anything else and can actually become a relaxing and rejuvenating part of your week that you look forward to. It allows for recharging, reflections, hobbies, self care, and other things we can't do when our people are around. In addition, it is a critical component of processing divorce, learning, rebuilding and figuring out what is best for YOU moving forward.
Below are some ways on how to transition into loving your alone time:
1. It's OK to be uncomfortable at first.
This is normal. Divorce brings about a spectrum of emotions - anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, isolation. These are all very normal feelings and it's important to let those feelings happen and to honor them. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable, but know that this is temporary. You will learn to work through these feelings and they will fade over time as you get more comfortable being with yourself and as you re-establish your new life.
2. Make plans with friends.
Schedule some plans for the days when you don't have kids. Fill your calendar and get social! You may not feel like it at first, but the more you get out and spend time with the people you care about, the better you will feel. Meet a friend for a walk, yoga, lunch, whatever! Those connections with the important people in our life are so critical to the healing process, so make sure that you prioritize that time.
3. Make a list.
I make lists all the time and having a list of things I want to accomplish while the kids are out has been helpful to using this time efficiently. When you are working, being a mom, and have lots of friends and other family to connect with, your time is precious. I needed this extra time to pay bills, clean out closets, run errands, and other things that needed to get done. It was much more efficient doing these things without kids than trying to listen to how my 17 year old's college application essay was going while trying to deal with paying the power bill at the same time. Prioritizing your down time to get the "to do" items done allows you to be present when you aren't alone.
4. Find a passion.
This is a great opportunity to have some time for something you love. Maybe it's hiking, learning to play tennis, reading those books you never had time for, or starting a side hustle . Find something that feeds your soul that is just for you. This may take a little soul searching to figure out what you love. So much of our interests may have been bound to being a couple or things that our husbands liked to do. Now is the time to put some thought into what lights YOU up and go after it! You don't have to be good at it, you just have to give yourself the opportunity to try it. When your mind and body are busy it will help move the healing of your heart forward as well. This is the perfect time to try something new, or pick up on a passion you your ex wasn't interested in and come back to what YOU like. It can be cooking, blogging, volunteering - you pick! Just get out and get busy.
5. Work on you.
No one comes out of divorce unscathed. This is the time you will need to do some self-reflection and evaluation. Heads up - this is not easy work and will be uncomfortable at times. Now is the time to look at your marriage and at yourself and understand who you are, what your needs and boundaries are, what your core values and priorities are, who you want to be, what you want to change and what your life will look like moving forward. It may sound overwhelming, but don't worry. This takes faith and patience. If you spend time on this and work on it you will find out very important things about yourself and be able to pave a path to a future where you have a life and relationships that meet your needs. This is an opportunity. A gift. Take it and be grateful for the chance to reassess. No one wants to be divorced and go through what we are experiencing, but take this change and view it as a chance preparing you and your life for better things.How to do this? The best way - meditation. You can start with just a few minutes every day. Close your eyes in a peaceful place and try to clear your mind. Focus on your breathe and open your heart and mind. If you get distracted, that's ok. Just notice this and refocus on your breathe. You will find over time that clear thoughts will surface. This is your brain releasing the everyday clutter and letting the deeper, more introspective thoughts come to the forefront. Here is where you will find your guidance. LIsten to it. It's ok if you miss a day, just come back to it. As you get used to this, you will start coming to enjoy this time and use it to find answers and guidance as you navigate the many emotions and obstacles that come with divorce.
When you are getting divorced, being alone at times is critical to dealing with the complicated emotions, processing change, logistical issues - and of course the growing and learning that comes from the life changes brought about by divorce. Don't be afraid of this time, and be open to learning to find ways to actually enjoy it and embrace it. I love my time with my kids, but I also enjoy my alone time as a way to recharge, organize and work on me. I still have a lot of work to do - but I have found that during these alone times I am really able to do the self reflection I need to to work on this new chapter ahead.
And I am grateful for it.