As we are all painfully aware, the first thing we tend to neglect when going through divorce is learning how to take really good care of ourselves.
I remember the first weeks of my separation, as I was desperately trying to expunge everything in my apartment that reminded me of my husband and our marriage, forgetting to eat. I’d have lunch, but then the next thing I knew it was 1:30 in the morning sitting on my closet floor, being so absorbed in all the drama with my adrenaline pumping, that I hadn’t eaten for over 12 hours.
And I’m someone who usually loves food.
I also remember hardly sleeping those first few months after my now-ex moved out. It would be 3:00 in the morning and I’d still be hunched over my computer, reading about separation agreements, totally forgetting that I had to get up in less than four hours to go to work.
Those days seem like a blur, but I’m sure you have experienced similar bouts during your divorce.
Being so caught up in other things–trying to navigate through the emotional, logistical, financial, and legal struggle is normal (although unhealthy) behavior during divorce, but here’s the problem with forgetting to take care of ourselves in the process:
Failing to be kind to ourselves sets a dangerous precedent as we try to recover from divorce. It’s dangerous when we don’t treat ourselves better, we train our minds our minds to think that we don’t deserve rest, relaxation, and kindness.
And that type of toxic learned behavior won’t just go away once the divorce papers are signed. Without mindful intervention, not putting ourselves first will make taking our lives back and learning how to move on post-divorce even more difficult.
So why has it come to this?
The two main reasons we don’t take better care of ourselves during divorce deal with how we feel.
We feel guilty.
For some reason, we think that treating ourselves or being kind to ourselves is indulgent–something that we should not do. Many of us our natural-born caretakers. We didn’t think twice about dropping everything to care for a spouse, a child, a friend, or a family member. But for some reason, we do not extend the same courtesy to ourselves. We have have been trained to think that caring for ourselves is selfish, which is just wrong.
Never feel guilty about allowing yourself to rest. Or get a massage. Or to say “no” to someone or something, especially if it is toxic.
We think it is is to be something complicated, expensive, and unattainable.
When many of us hear “self-care,” we thing that means some luxurious expensive spa resort that we simply cannot afford.
Treating yourself doesn’t always mean an expensive spa vacation. Image via Pinterest.
But it doesn’t have to mean that. Treating ourselves better can be as easy as going to a yoga class. Or going to a salon for a pedicure. Or not cooking tonight and instead ordering take-out that we absolutely love. Or reading a really good book while you soak in the tub.
It’s all about starting small, and and giving yourself something wonderful to look forward to.
When we fail to do even this simple act for ourselves, we make one of the biggest mistakes to our recovery.
We do not understand that self-care = self-preservation
You may think that you’re too busy to take time and do something for yourself. You may think that you’re doing just fine and don’t need any of those things. However, not only does self-care make you feel good, it is also necessary for your mental and emotional well-being, especially when you are recovering from divorce.
Sometimes, putting ourselves first can seen easier said than done, especially when you’re trying to juggle everything else going on. But remember that YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Next week, we are going to dig a little deeper on self-care. While we understand that it might be necessary, it can be hard to figure out a way to make it a regular part of our lives. Surviving You Split’s upcoming email will show you how to change that so you can start putting yourself and your healing first. You won’t want to miss it!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! Do you struggle to put yourself first?
See you soon! And remember to take care of yourselves! You deserve it.