The road to emotional recovery from divorce can often be unpredictable territory. One minute you can feel fine and the next you are overwhelmed by all the residual feelings and the unnerving sense of change. Being prepared for those moments when you suddenly get bombarded with emotion can help you better catch your breath and get back on level ground. Below are “contents” for a your own divorce “Emergency Kit” that can help you through those tough moments. Get a shoebox or a bag and enclose all the items listed below and keep it in a convenient place where you can access it quickly.
1. Give Yourself a Card
From your local card shop, pick up a “congratulations” card and a “good luck” card and write the following inside:
- Congratulations Card: Of course there are many negative feelings and jarring routine changes associated with divorce. There are also bad or unhealthy things about your former marriage that you are better off without. Sometimes it helps to remember these things. On the inside of the “congratulations” card, make a list of things that didn’t work out or upset you with your previous relationship. This gives you a way to congratulate yourself on a life without these negative influences.
- Good Luck Card: Just as you need to remember the reasons you must move on, you also need to remind yourself of where you are headed. In your “good luck” card, write down some of your goals for the future — a dream occupation, a class you’d like to take or an area you’d like to live. Looking at this card will remind you that you have exciting prospects ahead.
2. Give Yourself a Gift:
Think of an activity that really lifts your spirits like going to a movie, reading your favorite book, visiting a spa or eating at that “off limits” fast food restaurant. Now buy yourself this luxury in a gift form — gift certificates for a theater, bookstore, spa or restaurant. Keep this in your “Emergency Kit” so that you have quick access to an uplifting activity regardless of your budget status at the time of the “divorce panic attack.”
3. Give Yourself a Friend:
Put together a small photo album with pictures of friends and family you can lean on and under each picture put their contact information (work, home and cell numbers, etc.). Sometimes just looking at pictures of your loved ones can help comfort you. And, if needed, you can pick up the phone and hear a friendly voice.
4. Create a Calming Kit:
Different things provide a “calming effect” for different people. Whether it be your favorite bubble bath or a soothing cup of tea, add some things that help you relax to your kit. It might be a favorite CD or a decadent candy, but put it aside and save it for when you really need it.
5. Make a Resolution:
Often times a “panic attack” during a divorce is related to a sense of having entered the unknown or fear that life will never again being on even ground. Sometimes just thinking of one thing you can do to move closer to your new, secure life can help stabilize you and help create a feeling of momentum toward a better way of living. In your “Emergency Kit” include a blank index card and a pen or pencil. When that dreaded moment comes and you need to pull out the kit, sit down in a quiet place and think of what task you can perform (talking to a realtor, investigating courses at a local college, speaking with a financial advisor) that will help you feel productive and grounded. Record this task on your index card and commit to a date by which a date by which it will be completed will complete it.
With all your “Emergency Kit” ingredients stored securely in your special bag or box, you are a step ahead of the game. Nothing can make divorce easy, but being prepared for those emotional moments can help make them less painful and your recovery expedited.