Self-care is about more than just a mani-pedi or a new haircut. It’s about nourishing your soul.
Women are traditionally care-givers. Unfortunately, we are sometimes so busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take care of ourselves. I see it all the time as a divorce coach. My clients start talking about everyone around them and I have to ask, “What about you?” The response I receive is typically startled surprise. In some cases, I see women who have embraced this traditional role and focused their lives completely on their husband and children. I can tell you right now, men don’t want that. They married YOU, not some idea of what a wife and mother should be. I also see women who hide behind their role as care-givers. They have a saboteur that urges them to deflect attention away from themselves. My question here is “How can you be a partner in a marriage when you don’t want anyone, including your husband, to see you?” There is also the saboteur that says “You don’t deserve it.” This one is just plain insidious … and wrong. These saboteurs set you up to get completely blindsided when it comes to divorce. You believed that all of your hard work would be appreciated without realizing that there was crucial piece missing from the equation – YOU. So, it’s time to silence those saboteurs and focus on yourself for a change.
Self-care, to me, is about more than just a mani-pedi or a new haircut. While all those things are nice, it doesn’t give you the care you need in your soul. It’s about nourishing your whole self to bring you back into balance during this traumatic time. It’s about alignment. As a coach, I often ask my clients to give me one word to describe how they are feeling in their mind. And then, one word for how they are feeling in their body. And then, one word for how they are feeling in their spirit. We are three-dimensional beings and ironically, it is rare to achieve alignment in all three of these dimensions without attention and self-care. You deserve that alignment. You deserve to live a vibrant, three-dimensional life.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for getting there. Daily practice in self-care, especially during divorce, is essential to helping you find a calm, more centered you, so that you can meet these challenges head-on.
I know it sounds like new-age mumbo jumbo, but meditation is time that you give to yourself, for yourself, to calm your mind and body. We spend our lives racing around trying to check everything off our to-do list, but we often forget about ourselves. Meditation is a gift of stillness in a busy world. It is a gift of listening to what your mind and body need to tell you. It’s a gift that won’t require anything back from you. Try it for 5 or 10 minutes. Try to give yourself that time every day. You don’t need to create a blank mind. You can focus on, and repeat, a phrase – any phrase – that you want. Pick one that is empowering, like “I am loved” or “The world will give me what I want.” Or, taking inspiration from Eat, Pray, Love, you can focus on smiling. Or you can pick an online guided meditation that suits you. The practice of meditation is about getting in tune with yourself. Try it. You just might learn how unique, wise and beautiful you really are.
Even during the toughest times, we all have things in our lives that we’re grateful for – but do you remind yourself of what those are every day? A focus on, and appreciation of, all the great things you do have in your life right now is critical. With all the negativity associated with divorce, you need to find and hold on to those things – like your kids, family and friends – that are positive in your life. So, take 3 minutes every morning to write down everything you appreciate in your life. Time yourself. Stop writing when the 3 minutes is up. Read what you wrote. It’s a wonderful way to start your day with a positive mind-set.
It’s incredibly tempting, during divorce, to forge a new co-dependent relationship with your couch. I urge you to resist that temptation as much as possible. Get moving – somehow, some way. Exercise will boost your immune system, release endorphins, reduce anxiety, and improve your sleep. You will also feel a sense of accomplishment just by doing something that is good for you. You don’t have to run a marathon. Find something that makes you happy and be mindful of your body and how important it really is. Everything is connected. Exercising your body has a direct impact on your mind and spirit. So remember, strengthening your body strengthens YOU.
A giggle, a snort, a chuckle – take your pick. Any kind of laughter can bring sunshine and hope into every situation. And laughter IS the best medicine, especially during a divorce. Find a reason to laugh every day. Laugh with your children. Laugh with a friend. Give yourself permission to laugh. Do it because it feels good. Do it because you are still YOU even during the toughest times. Don’t take yourself, or this situation you’re in, too seriously. There is always room for laughter and you really need it in your life right now.
Nurturing and aligning your mind, body and spirit during your divorce will help you find your center again. It will propel you back into really living your life. And it will motivate you to start moving forward in your life. It will remind you of who you really are. You need that. You can’t be there for everyone else, if you aren’t present yourself! So, remember — when you take care of yourself, you are giving the people you love a better, more authentic, three-dimensional YOU. And that is a wonderful gift.