Recently, the team at Butler Law had a lively lunch break discussion about how quickly after Halloween you can decorate for the Christmas/Hanukkah season. The Mariah Carey TikTok of witchy Mariah transforming into “All I Want for Christmas is You” Mariah really took everything over the edge. We quickly went to people choosing sides over whether Thanksgiving is simply a precursor and practice meal for Christmas, or a delightfully cozy holiday of food, family, and thankfulness. The questions surrounding this issue are seemingly endless. Do you have to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up a Christmas tree and decorations? Is there a difference in appropriate decorating time between the tree, outside lights, and indoor decorations? Starbucks holiday drinks are out, so that means holiday foods and drinks are okay right after Halloween, right? When is it okay to start singing holiday music out loud around the office for your co-workers to enjoy? Is there really a right answer?
The team is still split on this, but we agree on a few things. One, we are happy for any holiday that gives us a reason to make and eat delicious food and spend time with people we love and enjoy, and two whatever makes you happy is the right choice.
Some say the meaning of life is enjoying the passage of time. I think, part of enjoying the passage of time is being present in the moments as we have them and finding the happiness within those moments, and ourselves, to make our lives fulfilling and meaningful. Happiness during divorce may seem like an oxymoron, but it is possible, and it is very important to your well-being. So, how can you find happiness during divorce? Here are some tips to help get you started.
Ten Tips to Find Happiness During Divorce
1. Take Your Time: There is no “right” timeframe for how long it should take you to move through your divorce and onto the next phase of your life. At Butler Law, our goal is to move your case along at the speed you need and prefer and based upon the complexity of your case. How long it takes you to personally “move on”, however, is a deeply personal decision and there is no right or wrong timeline or way to do it.
2. Create a Strong Support System: Your support system is essential when you are going through a divorce. Identify the people you can rely on and be honest with them regarding what you need and what your boundaries are. Being honest with the people in your life about what you need from them and how you are hoping they can assist you can go a long way in providing you with the support system you need and want. Adding new people to your support system outside your normal friends and family may also be beneficial. Therapists and your divorce attorney can help round out your support system and make a big impact on how difficult it is to move through the process. Working with a professional is even more important if you suffered abuse or trauma during your marriage. It is important you let you divorce attorney know if you are victim of domestic violence, as it may affect your case and your attorney may be able to connect you with resources to help you.
3. Embrace Your Inner Elsa and Let it Go: While this reference is almost a decade old, the sentiment still rings true. Holding on to anger, hatred, and resentment causes you to suffer a lot of pain but does nothing to the person you are angry at. The only person you are affecting by holding onto these negative feelings and emotions is yourself and potentially those around you. It is likely better for your mental health if you can let go of the negativity from your past relationship and try to move on. It is especially important to work on this if you share children with you Ex. If you have children with your Ex, you are always going to have children with your Ex, even when they are adults. That means your Ex is always going to be around in one way or another. Wouldn’t you rather let it go so your Ex’s presence has little to no affect on you? There is a certain power in taking back that control for yourself.
4. Don’t Put on the Rose-Colored Glasses: Rose colored glasses make us think about the past with a warm hue that blurs our vision of what the reality was. It is important to remember why you got divorced. While it is not a good idea to dwell on the past, you do need to remember why you got divorced in the first place. Don’t let feelings of loneliness and nostalgia cloud your judgment.
5. Discover Who You Are, and Who You Want to Be: Getting through the divorce process often involves self-discovery. As a married person, you shared a lot with your spouse and your identity was likely greatly impacted by your relationship. Now, it is essential to find yourself and determine things that help you discover your own happiness.
Try daydreaming. Make a list of all the new experiences you would like to enjoy and then do them. Make it a point to get outside of your comfort zone and do things you’ve never done before, and things you have always wanted to do. If the activity is something you always wanted to do and your Ex got in the way, all the better. Doing things for the first time can help build your confidence and allow you to get to know yourself better. This doesn’t have to be an Eat, Pray, Love adventure…but it can be.
Here are some examples of things you might want to add to your list:
- Try a new hobby like cooking classes, hiking, water sports, etc.
- Take a new class like painting or music lessons
- Try a new look or hairstyle
- Go out with friends
- Try a new physical activity like a new exercise class or outdoor club
- Try a new restaurant or bar
- Take yourself on a date
6. Take Care of Yourself Financially: Money is always a difficult, but an important topic. One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is the financial strain it can cause, especially with the division of assets and debts. A lack of financial resources can cause stress and even depression. And depression can worsen your financial stress if you overspend for the dopamine rush or avoid paying your bills because it is all too overwhelming. If you are in that space, call on someone from your support system to help you. Financial security and the lifted burden that brings, can bring you a lot of happiness.
7. Take Care of Yourself Emotionally: Go to therapy! Whether you are going through a divorce or not, I highly recommend therapy. No one is a perfect person, and it is so helpful to have a neutral person you can open up to and that can provide you some unbiased insight. If the cost of therapy is keeping you away, try checking with your insurance provider to see if there are covered sessions. There are also apps and online services that can provide you sessions from the comfort of your home with costs for most budgets.
8. Take Care of Yourself Physically: You know those days we feel like doing nothing, but then take that walk and feel a little better? It’s because exercise is a critical part of self-care and happiness. We all know this but motivating ourselves to do it is another story. This is another great time to call in some assistance from your support system to keep you accountable and help you feel motivated when the couch and a weekend of Netflix looks more appealing.
9. Stop Reliving It: This tip goes hand in hand with letting it go but is a little more nuanced. If you are like me, any perceived mistake or wrongdoing can set you to spiraling and focusing on that thing long after it matters to anyone else. Divorce is no different. You are not the cause of your divorce. Your Ex is likely not the cause of your divorce. Relationships and divorces are nuanced things and there usually is no one cause or reason as to why things didn’t work out. So, it’s okay to give yourself a break and stop going over every fight and everything you could have done differently. If you spend too much time in the past, you are going to miss out on what you can have here in the present.
10. Have Patience and Give it Time: You have to expect that it will take some time to adjust to life after your divorce. Don’t expect to have your magical makeover new life to begin immediately. It will be difficult. It will take time. It takes time to start a new life, find yourself, and make your own happiness. But you are going to be okay, and you don’t have to go through it alone.