How to Thrive After Divorce: Cut Through The Noise And Prepare Well
I have worked with many women and couples through the years as a divorce financial planner and mediator, and I genuinely believe that you can thrive after divorce. I have seen it firsthand, both watching the people I’ve worked with and having been through it myself!
If there’s one common factor between all successful mediations and divorce cases, it’s this: you have to cut through the noise to reach your own internal guidance system and build up your confidence in yourself.
Before, during, and even after a divorce, we get so overwhelmed with input from so many places that we lose touch with our intuition. The reality is that no one knows what you’re going through except for you. There are people who are more trained and qualified to offer assistance, but only you know what’s right for you.
How do you cut through the noise to hear yourself again? These three tips will help you prepare yourself well so you can once more trust in yourself and your intuition, regain your confidence, and thrive after divorce.
Watch Out for Divorce Brain
Divorce brain (not to mention all the people who have an opinion) takes over when you’re going through a divorce. This part of your brain kicks in when you’re angry, upset, and under extreme stress. It’s like an override of the more delicate, analytical parts of your brain, and all you focus on is just surviving.
Further, because of this and the hyper-emotional state of divorce, you’re not as grounded with your intuition. It can lead to a breakdown of confidence and cause you to feel confused and like you’re swimming through tons of advice and options from well-meaning-but-not-actually-helpful resources. (Never Google “divorce horror stories” late at night when you’re at your most fragile!)
For me, my divorce brain made mountains out of molehills. And it actually reared up when I was going through the adoption process (that was much more stressful than my divorce, as it turns out). It didn’t matter what it was, everything felt BIG. It felt too much. I couldn’t deal with one more thing… Not one more decision, not one more small hiccup in my schedule. I was just very maxed out in terms of mental capacity.
But, like my divorce, having unconditional love and support to bolster me when this primal, survival-mode part of my brain took over helped talk me off the ledge and allowed clarity and perspective to come back into the picture.
Key Lesson: Know what your unique divorce brain warning signs are and its triggers - then take care of yourself so you can avoid overloading yourself and making the situation more tense and confusing.
Further Reading: 5 Mindset Shifts to Ease Divorce Trauma
Invest in Specialized Support
I recently worked with a woman who had a very good settlement option in front of her offered by her spouse, but she was getting so overwhelmed by the people in her life telling her what she “should” do that she couldn’t focus on the proposal in front of her.
The proposal was very reasonable and generous (and she knew that in her heart of hearts), but she had a hard time getting away from the thoughts in her head and the shoulds from all the well-meaning people in her life. While they had her best interest at heart, they didn’t know her whole story, go over the proposal with her, or really understand the full picture, including her post-divorce financial and family goals.
I sat down with her to look at the proposal knowing her financial goals and with a deep understanding of how all the pieces work together. It turns out: the proposal was a good thing! And she was right to trust her instincts.
The best part… Just hearing someone affirm the fact that she didn’t need to doubt herself was huge for her!
Whether you invest in specialized financial support, a therapist, and everything in between, having someone who knows this world inside and out will allow you to take advantage of their unique expertise so you can cut through the clutter and know that the advice you’re given is going to do the most good for you and your family.
Key Lesson: Seek out trained professionals to give you their opinion to affirm your gut instinct or guide you on the most supportive path for you so you can learn to trust yourself and rebuild your confidence in yourself (and get practical, actually-beneficial-to-you advice)!
Further Reading: How I Can Help You Navigate Financial Decisions During a Divorce
Focus on Your Own Mindset and Self-Care
The saying, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind,” is so applicable when it comes to divorce. The reality is that relationships will change after a divorce. It’s up to you to focus on yourself and what you can do to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy so you can face those changes and thrive after divorce.
I found journaling very soothing (along with bubble baths and some wine!) when I needed to take care of myself. Thankfully, I also had my mom to lend a hand with kids and lend a shoulder when I needed it. If she had her opinions, she kept them to herself and offered nothing but unconditional support and love.
Whether your self-care looks like bubble baths, boxing, or blasting loud music in the car in the middle of a deserted parking lot, do something every day that makes you happy. Even if you only have 5 minutes, you’ll build up your strength and trust with yourself so you can once more shine bright and thrive.
Key Lesson: Surround yourself with people who support you unconditionally so you can focus on what you need to do to be your best in body, mind, and spirit.
Further Reading: 30 Journal Prompts to Help You Through Your Divorce
At the End of the Day: Don’t Give Up
It can feel like divorce marches on forever and ever. You’re not alone, and trust me, you will get through this. You’ll cut through the clutter and cobwebs of confusion and mental fog. Pretty soon, you’ll forget about the intensity of this period of your life as you regain your confidence and trust in your intuition so you can thrive after your divorce.
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