One of the most difficult parts of going through a divorce is not letting fear, stress, anger, and many other negative feelings pull you down and keep you there.
I met with a new client this month told me that she could not get off the couch where she was under blankets and crying. During our conversation, one of the things we discussed was the need to be able to do what I call “changing your channel.” Everyone needs to take the time to grieve and feel all the emotions that come with major pain and loss. But there comes a time when we have to pull it together to be ready for the world – to parent, to go to work, and in this client’s case – to go to court to fight for her children.
When I was in this stage of depression and sadness, I made a list of ways that I could pull myself out of the negativity and gain positive momentum. Here are some ways I have found to change my channel:
1) Music. I made a playlist that I could turn on when I needed to shake off the blues. My go-to song was “I am the Warrior” by Pat Benatar. My friends made me a CD with all kinds of up-beat music. Any music that puts a smile on your face and maybe even a little shake in your hips can do the trick.
2) Exercise. Get out and take a walk. Go to a class where you can have companionship. My mother bought me a freestanding boxing bag and a kickboxing DVD. I cannot tell you how good it felt to punch and kick my frustrations out on the bag. Exercise can help release tension and stress, and also make you feel empowered and strong.
3) Go outside. Sometimes all we need is to go sit outside and look at the sky and feel the breeze to remind ourselves that there is a big wonderful world outside of our pain. I close my eyes and visualize sitting by the ocean. I love water so thinking about the ocean or a stream calms me down and brings me peace.
4) Friends. Know who you can call and just say, “I need you.” Have a code word that they know you need help your changing your channel. It is important to have friends with whom you can discuss your anxiety or stress, but you also need ones who will have you laughing, take you out for coffee or a drink, and bring happiness and positive energy to your life.
5) Church. For those who have a strong religious belief – use your church. Maybe it is prayer, or maybe it is sitting in the church with no one else there. If you find your strength in your religion, use that safety net. There are many churches around our city that have support groups. I went to Trinity Church’s Counseling Center for a couple of years for support groups. I made some incredible friends who were walking similar paths and truly understood my journey.
6) Mantras. Pick a saying, quote or prayer that reminds you to focus on the positives in your life and recite it whenever you feel like you are on the wrong channel. For example, you could use “I am a warrior,” to remind yourself that you are tough and can get through anything. Or “tough times do not last but tough people do.” Whatever motivates YOU. Personally, I have post-it notes where I can see them in several places around my house that say, “This is it!” These notes remind me that the everyday carpooling, dishwashing, bill playing, parenting pre-teens…. Are what life is about. I tend to look forward to the next vacation or special event, which means that I am not in the moment enjoying the everyday life I have been given.
7) Books. My favorite channel changer is to read. There are so many incredible writers who do an amazing job of helping us look at the positive side of life. I was moved by books like Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser, which talks about how difficult times can help us grow. (You can find a link to this book on the Resources page under Psychology and Support.)
8) Do something. Anything. If you are stuck – do a load of laundry or do the dishes. I know it sounds silly, but just get one thing accomplished. It may be what you need to get your momentum started.
I would love to know what YOU do to change your channel. Please message me so I can share with others what music makes you happy, any good books that have made a difference in your life, or any other ways you have found to leave behind the blues and make you feel powerful.