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Spring Cleaning Post Divorce

It’s time for some spring cleaning! Clutter in our homes, clutter in our minds, and clutter in our lives can weigh us down and leave us feeling stuck and uninspired. If you want to lift your spirits and create space for more positivity and calm in your life, here are five things to toss post-divorce.

1)Toss the Trinkets, Souvenirs, and Other Marriage Memorabilia.

All those mementos from your married life are constant reminders of what was. It’s ok to toss the seashells you collected from your tropical honeymoon over a decade ago. Get rid of the Playbill from the last Broadway show you saw together. The family portrait no longer needs to stay over the mantle. If there are certain items that you just can’t part with or that you want to save for your children, get them out of sight and into a storage box. Simplify your décor to represent the present. What would you like to display around your home now that you are free?

2) Throw Out the False Narrative About What Your Marriage Was or Wasn’t.

When we are longing for our past or missing our ex, we tend to over-romanticize the relationship– He/she was the love of my life. We had it all. It was perfect. Or, on the contrary, when we are filled with anger and resentment, we tend to catastrophize the relationship– He/she never loved me. I should have realized this was a mistake from day one. Chances are, your relationship was somewhere in-between, filled with ups and downs, good times and bad times. The stories we make up in our minds about our marriage can lead to endless ruminating. Simplify your thoughts by sticking to the reality of what was.

3) Discard All the Unsolicited Opinions and Judgements.

When you get a divorce, all of a sudden everybody is an expert about your situation. Well-intentioned friends and relatives butt in with suggestions and advice. And the not-so-well-intentioned friends and relatives gossip. Everybody has a divorce horror story they want to share. You will be told what to do, what to think, how to feel and how to handle things. This outpouring of advice can be confusing, overwhelming, and probably biased. Tune it out. Turn to one or two trusted people in your life as well as experienced professionals for support.

4) Release Projected Fears About the Future.

Going through a divorce is scary and stressful, so of course you will have some real fears. This is expected when going through an intensely emotional time filled with so much uncertainty. You can combat some of these fears by planning, gaining knowledge, doing your research, staying organized and hiring a divorce “team” (lawyer, financial planner, therapist, coach, etc). The biggest way to beat a fear is to take an action! But what about all those projected fears– no one is ever going to love me again; my children are going to be messed up; I’ll never trust again; and all the other worrying about what might happen in 20 years from now? Release those fears by slowing down and trying to stay in the present. Focus on here, now, today.

5) Haul to the Trash Conventional Expectations and Ways of Thinking.

Remember this is YOUR divorce and YOUR life. You have a big say on how it is going to go down and in determining what your life will look like post-divorce. You don’t have to follow all the conventional “rules.” A settlement agreement that works for other families, may not be a fit for yours. Think outside the box. What arrangements will work best for your family’s unique needs and circumstances? You are not bound by societal, cultural, familial, or traditional expectations. Who says you still can’t be super close to your ex’s family? Who says you have to change/not change your last name? Who says you have to forgive? Who says you have to be/can’t be friends with your ex? You get to say! These are your choices. Throw out traditional notions of what’s “supposed to be” and embrace what feels right for you.

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