You’ve signed the papers, divided up the assets, and now the reality is sinking in. After years of marriage, you suddenly find yourself alone. The silence is deafening.
The loneliness creeps in and threatens to overwhelm you. How do you move on from here and start to rebuild your life?
The end of a marriage is one of the most difficult life transitions to navigate. But the good news is, the loneliness and sadness you’re feeling now is only temporary. With time and conscious effort, you can overcome it by reconnecting with yourself, embracing new routines, forging new friendships, learning to enjoy your own company, and opening yourself up to finding love again when the time is right.
The journey may not always be easy, but you will come out the other side stronger, wiser, and ready to start a new chapter filled with happiness and purpose. Here are five steps to help you overcome loneliness and rebuild your life after divorce:
1: Allow Yourself to Grieve the Loss of Your Marriage
The end of your marriage means the end of the life you once knew. It’s normal to feel deep sadness, grief, and loneliness. Allowing yourself to fully experience these emotions is an important first step to rebuilding your life.
Take time to cry if you need to.
Don’t bottle up your feelings – let them out. Have a good cry, call a friend, journal your feelings, or see a counselor. Releasing pent-up emotions will help you start to heal and move forward.
Establish a routine and stick to it.
Having a predictable schedule can help combat feelings of instability during this transition. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, eat meals at regular hours, and exercise daily. Simple acts of self-care can provide comfort and stability.
Connect with your support network.
Call on close family and friends, or join a local support group. You don’t have to go through this alone. Make light social interaction a priority to avoid excessive isolation.
Be patient and give yourself time.
Recovering from divorce and loneliness is a journey. Don’t be too hard on yourself – progress will come. Each small act of self-care and each social connection you make will help you start to rebuild your confidence and independence. With time and conscious effort, the pain will become more bearable, and you will start to heal.
2: Find Meaningful Activities
When you first get divorced, the silence in your home can feel deafening. Your schedule is suddenly wide open, but filling it with meaningful activities will help combat loneliness and give you a sense of purpose.
Add or increase your fitness regime
Exercising is a great way to release feel-good hormones and improve your mood. Try going for walks or jogs, doing an online yoga class, or following along with workout videos. Even just 30 minutes a few times a week can make a big difference. Staying active will boost your confidence and energy levels, making it easier to socialize and try new things.
- A fitness or active exercise with others is even better
- A fitness or active exercise that get’s you outside in the real world is even better
- Do both – and you’re a legend 🙂
Find a new passion
Think about hobbies or interests you’ve always wanted to explore. Learning to cook, gardening, photography, or whatever sparks your curiosity. Diving into a new passion gives you an outlet to channel your emotions and can open you up to a community of like-minded people. Join an online group or take a class to find others with similar interests.
3: Reconnect With Friends and Family
Reconnecting with your friends and family after divorce is a great way to overcome feelings of loneliness. Make the effort to reach out and strengthen these bonds.
Call up old friends
Chances are, in the midst of your marriage and divorce, you lost touch with some good friends. Track them down and give them a call. Let them know you’ve been thinking of them and would like to catch up. Meet for coffee or drinks and rekindle your connection. Having a strong support system around you will help combat loneliness in the long run.
Spend time with family
If you have a good relationship with your family, spend more time with them. Have dinner together, watch movies, go for walks—simple things that allow for quality time together. Talking to people who know and love you can help ease feelings of loneliness. Your family can also provide empathy and a shoulder to lean on when you need it.
One of the most powerful ways to help yourself, is by helping others. The enhanced feeling of self-value should not be under-estimated, and you can achieve if it at a time you need it most by pro-actively helping others less fortunate.
Consider donating to a worthy cause, but something more participatory is even more effective. Could you volunteer somewhere, could you do a charity run, or some other noble activity.
4: Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company
Learning to enjoy your own company is essential to overcoming feelings of loneliness after divorce. When you focus on nurturing yourself, you’ll start to feel more fulfilled and confident from within.
Pursue your interests
Make time for hobbies, activities and interests that you enjoy. Do things that spark your curiosity or creativity, whether it’s gardening, photography, or learning to cook. Pursuing your passions will boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep. Your physical health has a significant impact on your mood and mental well-being. Even taking a 30 minute walk a few times a week can help release feel-good hormones that combat stress and negative emotions.
Reflect and reconnect with yourself
Spend time in quiet reflection through activities like meditation, deep breathing, journaling or yoga. This helps reduce feelings of loneliness by reconnecting you with your inner self. Appreciate your strengths, values and accomplishments. Be gentle with yourself and avoid harsh self-judgment.
Limit distractions and be present
Being fully engaged in the present moment helps combat negative rumination about the past or future.
Make self-care a daily practice and your confidence will blossom over time. While life after divorce may feel lonely at first, nurturing yourself will help you build the strength and resilience to create a life filled with meaning, joy and connection. Focusing inward is the first step to overcoming loneliness and rebuilding your life.
5: Join a Divorce Support Group
Joining a divorce support group is one of the best ways to combat feelings of loneliness after ending your marriage. Surrounding yourself with others in a similar situation can help in many ways:
You can share your experiences, both good and bad, with people who understand what you’re going through. Hearing other people’s stories will help you realize you’re not alone. You can vent, ask advice and share coping strategies.
Build a support network
The people in the group can become part of your support network. You can lean on each other during difficult times and celebrate successes together. Make new friends who can relate to how your life has changed. Some of these connections may even last well beyond the group.
Learn from others
You can learn practical advice on legal issues, co-parenting, home life adjustments and more from others further along in the process. See what’s worked for them and try different tips and techniques to make the transition smoother. You may pick up useful recommendations for counselors, books or online resources.
Get encouragement and motivation from others in your group. Hearing about their progress and accomplishments will inspire you in your own journey. Cheer each other on, provide positive reinforcement and help keep one another accountable for self-care and personal growth.
Look to the future
A divorce support group helps you shift your mindset to life after divorce. Discuss your hopes, dreams and plans for a fresh start. Brainstorm new hobbies, social outlets and ways to rebuild your identity. The group will give you confidence in yourself and optimism for the next chapter.
While the pain of divorce may always remain to some degree, joining a support group will help ease feelings of being alone. Connecting with others in a similar place will aid you in rebuilding your life, one step at a time.
So there you have it – five steps to help overcome loneliness after divorce and start rebuilding your life. It won’t happen overnight, but making the effort to reconnect with friends, engage in new hobbies, volunteer, exercise and practice self-care can help you start to feel better.
You have such a wonderful life ahead of you. While the end of your marriage was painful, now is the time to heal and rediscover who you are. Stay positive, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and lean on your support network when you need to. You’ve got this! Happier days are ahead, even if you can’t see them yet. Be gentle with yourself and keep moving forward. The lonely feelings will start to fade, and you’ll build a new life surrounded by people who love and support you. You deserve to be happy. Now go out there and create the life you want!