“When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” -Alexander Graham Bell
Divorce can be difficult, but there are still countless things and experiences one can look forward to in the next phase in life. In this article, Senior Counsellor at TOUCH Integrated Family Group, Ms Alicia Poon, shares some ways you can S.M.I.L.E. and embark on your next chapter of life.
S: Set yourself free by recognising your feelings
While it is normal for memories from your previous marriage to surface from time to time, it would be helpful if you could recognise and acknowledge your own feelings. It is normal to feel a mixture of overwhelming emotions such as sadness, anger, exhaustion, frustration, confusion and helplessness. You may also feel anxious about the future. However, rest assured that these intense emotions will lessen over time. One of the most common feelings you may experience is grief.
With reference to the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Model, grief takes the form of five stages:
Patiently identify which stage you are at and remember that it is common to transit back and forth between the respective stages. However, stay positive and believe that you will reach the Acceptance stage in time to come.
M: Maintain contact with the people around you
It may take time to move on from your divorce but know that you do not have to be on this journey alone. Sharing your feelings with your family and friends can help you get through this period. Avoid isolating yourself as doing so can raise stress levels, reduce concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships and overall health. Be patient with yourself and know that there are many who love you and that you are fully capable of starting life anew. At TOUCH Integrated Family Group, counsellors are readily available to help you transit into your new chapter. Connect with us at 6709 8400 or [email protected] if you need someone to talk to.
I: Ink it
Journalling may seem old school nowadays with so much technological advancements around the world. However, keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings as you adjust to being divorced can provide many benefits. Journalling allows a further outlet for emotional distress because through writing, you can express the pain you experienced when you went through those difficult and stressful times. In addition, journalling helps you to gain a better grip and perspective on your emotions and situations. Journalling can be done at any time of the day which makes it an ideal self-help strategy. Try journaling today and release your emotions as you write.
Blogging too, can achieve the same purpose, but do adjust the privacy settings according to the audience whom you would like to reach out to.
L: Look towards the future
Divorce is definitely not the end of the world. While you may feel like you have reached a dead end, remind yourself that you can still give love a second chance and you have the ability and strength to move on from your divorce. It may be difficult to see beyond your current situation, however, it is also important not to dwell on the past and look towards the future.
Here are some ways you can stop letting the past hold you back from embracing your future:
- Avoid stalking your ex-spouse – Revolving your attention around your ex-spouse’s life can hinder you from starting afresh. Try cutting off social media contact with him/her and focus on your emotional and mental recovery from your divorce.
- Avoid power struggles and arguments with your ex-spouse – Try to maintain contact with your ex-spouse at a minimum level. If you need to meet up with him/her, try to hold constructive discussions. If a discussion begins to turn into an argument, calmly suggest speaking with him/her at a later time, or if need be, walk away or hang up the phone.
- Avoid diving into a new relationship because of loneliness – While it is very normal to feel lonely after your divorce, remember that getting into a new relationship is not the only way out. Try relieving loneliness by joining an interest or support group where you can meet new friends who could potentially tide you through life.
- Avoid substance abuse such as drugs or alcohol – There are many other means of coping with your pain and loss. Seek professional help if you feel that you are unable to cope with your divorce.
If you have children, help them make sense of the situation and transition so that they too can move on from the divorce. Take the time to speak with them and address their fears and concerns with regards to your divorce.
E: Engage yourself in a whole new lifestyle
Try out something you had always wanted to do during your married life but did not have the time for. Start participating in new activities such as picking up a new hobby and seize the opportunity to widen your social circle through those activities/hobbies. You can also try picking up a good book to read if you are interested in reading or even start an exercise regime and plan a diet with nutritious food to stay healthy. Most importantly, remind yourself that your divorce is in the past and get ready for a brand new you.
Remember, divorce is not the end and life can still go on with the right adoption of a healthy lifestyle and seeking help from the right people. If you are struggling to move on from your divorce, contact TOUCH Integrated Family Group at 6709 8400 or [email protected]. Alternatively, click here to find out more about our workshop.
TOUCH Integrated Family Group (TIFG) aims to equip families with resources to face multi-faceted issues at different life stages. TIFG focuses on providing Resources to equip families to cope with different stressors, enabling families to strengthen Roles in transitions, and empower families to build Resilience. This is done through an integrated suite of services to support the family as a unit, with emphasis on education, intervention and advocacy.