Today, I wanted to write to you about how you might feel during these early days of separation.
There are many things in life we can’t control. And during the process of untangling your family through separation you may feel like there are many, many things out of your control.
The Christmas period just passed may have been one of those times reminding you things will be different and, that alone may leave you feeling things are out of your control – for example, what other people think of us, or how they behave, or what they say – about us, or our family. It can sometimes feel easier to sit and think of all the things that are beyond our control and get swept away with those thoughts.
Thankfully, however, there are many things you can control during separation, and in the time that follows. And there is a really simple, and inexpensive way to remind yourself of the things you can control.
Write a list.
When I sat down to do this exercise myself, these are the things that came to mind:
- How often I smile.
- How I interpret situations.
- The stories I tell myself.
- What articles I read, or who I follow on social media.
- What I share on social media.
- How I talk to myself.
- How I talk to my children.
- How I talk to my spouse/partner.
- How I talk about my spouse/partner.
- How I react to my spouse/partner.
- Whether I wear sunscreen and a hat.
- How often I check my phone or emails.
- Whether or not I keep my phone with me all the time, or leave my phone in a different room.
- How I spend the first 5 minutes when I wake up.
- When I write.
- The words I write.
- When I push “send”.
- What I eat.
- How much coffee I drink.
- How much water I drink.
- The music I listen to.
- The people I listen to.
- The supports I choose.
- How often I communicate with my friends.
- The boundaries I set.
- When I will work.
- When I will rest.
- How I recognise, and cope with my anger, sadness, anxiety.
- How I calm myself.
- What I learn from my mistakes, missed opportunities, and tough times.
- Whether I exercise.
- How often I exercise.
- Whether I ask for advice.
- Who I ask for advice.
- What advice I accept.
Let’s not pretend that this is easy – or that writing a list to remind you of the things you can control is a magical solution and that you will feel in control of these things all the time. Of course, on some days, it won’t feel like you can control many things, and you may feel like everything is falling apart and like you’re caught in the eye of a storm.
I hope this list will help you feel empowered to remind yourself that there are actions you can take each day, even on the most difficult days.
Perhaps this list will inspire you to write your own list.
If you want to do this, take a piece of paper, or keep a notebook (in my next post, I have another suggestion you might want to adopt to help you get through this period), or use the notes function in your phone (if you want to keep it private, use the secure folder function if you have one).
Write what comes to mind. Be as specific as you can be. Refer to your list regularly and add to it when something comes to mind. Remember, this list is just for you and there is no “right” or “wrong” answers.
Remind yourself when everything feels a little topsy turvy, that you, and you alone, have the power to control some things in your life, so that you can to cultivate a meaningful and, compassionate life for yourself as you find your new “normal”.
Megan Sweetlove is a divorce lawyer and the owner of Sweetlove Family Law. Megan has worked with families who are experiencing separation and divorce for over 10 years.
Using a kind, compassionate and caring approach, Megan will work with you to develop a strategy that will enable you to have a successful separation and to work out the best way to move forward, taking into account your economic and emotional needs.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 20 minute phone appointment with Megan here.
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