Four Ways to Step it Up When Facing Divorce or Separation

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In the midst of divorce or separation, when your life is in upheaval and everything feels overwhelming, you may be tempted to crawl under a rock. Wallow in your misery. Stagnate or regress into bad habits.

But consider this: a divorce is the perfect time to step up your game.

What do I mean by stepping it up? I mean taking on a self-improvement project. During divorce, so many things are out of your control. The one thing you have complete control over is yourself.

I know: it’s not easy. But if you’re reading this site, you’re not dealing with easy.
Divorce has already put you out of your comfort zone. The status quo no longer exists. More change won’t upset your applecart, because it’s already upside down.

Stepping it up may not guarantee that your marriage will be saved or re-invigorated. But it will increase your confidence and boost your self-image – physically and emotionally – at a time when you need it most.

There’s no need to overhaul your entire life all at once. No one has the time or energy to do that – divorce or not! Just choose one or two areas and focus on setting the bar higher for yourself.

Here are some ways to start.

1. At home.
When you feel emotionally swamped, try doing a load of laundry, vacuuming, or attacking clutter. At the very least, make your bed every morning. A tidy home will lessen the sense of chaos and infuse your life with a little bit of order, calm, and stability.

2. At your job.
Clean your desk. Complete an unfinished task. Initiate coffee or lunch with your colleagues. The benefits include increased productivity and better interoffice relationships.

3. Self care.
Where can you step it up to improve your health? No matter how crazy life is, you can fit in a ten-minute walk, a good breakfast, or a few moments to socialize with friends. Even small changes here will make a big difference in how you feel about yourself.

4. Long-range planning.
Go back to school. Start a new business. Make a change in your residence. None of these things are going to happen tomorrow, of course, but try to envision yourself a year from now. Who do you see? What are you doing? Today, take one step that brings you closer to that picture of yourself.

Yes, stepping it up takes motivation. And motivation may be in short supply right now. See if you can recall what has motivated you in the past when you were faced with a challenge. Think about how you’d like others to see you dealing with this phase of your life. Are you a role model for anyone?

If it feels too daunting to tackle this project alone, find a close friend, therapist, or a coach to support you. This person can help you identify where you need to push yourself, suggest ways to do it, hold you accountable, and give you a gentle nudge when you get stuck.

Where in your life can you step it up? You tell me.

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