After the dust of divorce has settled and your life begins to return to a sense of normalcy (well, a new normal at least), it is common for the recently divorced to be struck with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It may not hit some as hard as others, but if you have been in a long-term relationship, you are bound to feel some sense of loss eventually. This does not mean you are weak, or that you made a mistake in getting a divorce — it is simply part of the process of adapting to change.
A fear of loneliness can also be a major factor in quickly driving people who have recently divorced into serious, often unhealthy, relationships. While it only makes sense that such a dramatic change in lifestyle will cause such feelings, there are several steps you can take to reduce the impact of loneliness on your health and lifestyle.
Start planning ahead
If you are still in the process of divorce, it may be difficult to think about anything else at the moment. However, even though it may often feel as though the divorce process is an endless purgatory, it will come to an end — and it’s never too early to plan for the future. Even if you cannot stand the sight of your spouse, there will come a time where you miss the companionship. Realizing that as a likely future outcome, which has been experienced by many others who have been through a divorce, can help you prepare for and mitigate the negative feelings.
Don’t be afraid of socializing
It is only natural to feel the urge to become a recluse after a divorce or similarly emotionally trying event. And even though the calls and texts trying to reconnect with old friends or acquaintances can be awkward, there are surely plenty of people who would be more than happy to grab a beer sometime. Similarly, if you are invited to a social event or to simply hang out, make the extra effort to do it. Regular social interactions are a great way to stave off the gloomies and help remind yourself that there are people out there who care about you.
Create your bucket list
Start thinking of all the things you wanted to do while married, but were unable to for whatever reason. Now write all of them down. Congratulations, you’ve just made your post-divorce bucket list. Similar to journaling or blogging, this simple yet useful process is a great way to change your focus to the positives of being newly single instead of concentrating on all of the negatives of being divorce. Additionally, you may remember old interests that made you happy, while simultaneously discovering new activities you have always wanted to try.
Get a new hobby
Perhaps you have seen pictures of your friends on Facebook or Instagram doing things that seem exciting, like sky diving or surfing. Well, now you won’t have anyone holding you back from giving something new a shot. Keeping an open mind to any and all new experiences that come your way will open a whole new world for you. Whether it is something small like expanding your palette to try foreign foods that are new to you or something big like learning the ropes of mountain climbing, start Act II of your life off right.
Go to the gym
Paying attention to your personal health is not only good for your body, but also helps avoid the plethora of unhealthy habits that are common to fall back upon during difficult and stressful times in life; lifting weights is much better for you than drinking a 12 pack a night, and jogging is a much better stress release than binge eating junk food. Even a short workout extremely beneficial, not to mention the added benefits of feeling better about yourself and interacting in a social environment.
Feeling loneliness is inevitable when you go from sharing your life and home with someone else, to doing things on your own. No matter how you felt about your spouse during the course of your marriage or throughout the divorce, the transition to doing things on your own will come with a sense of loss. Coping with loneliness is a normal step to moving on with your life, and going into the transition back to single with the right mindset can make all the difference.