3 Surprising Tools That Help Me Through Divorce

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I cannot believe how much stress I’ve endured since my separation almost a year ago. My friends and family have been a constant support through this difficult time. I would not be where I am today without their love. I’ve also unexpectedly found some free and cheap tools that have helped me navigate divorce while keeping my sanity and happiness (mostly) in tact. Below are those tools. I hope they help you through your divorce as well.

 

Google Calendar

Going through a separation and divorce on top of all the other normal daily things I had to deal with my life got pretty crazy, pretty quickly. I had to deal with an unexpected move, finding a job, scheduling meetings with lawyers and take care of a 14 month old. And on top of all this were the, what seemed like, hundreds of unplanned “discussions” with my ex. There was also this new visitation arrangement to plan. Needless to say, I needed to get uber organized, quickly.

I had been using Google Calendar loosely for a while and when the shit hit the fan it became my lifeline to sanity. The second any event, change in event, task, discussion, appointment, meeting or gathering is mentioned I pull out my phone and tap the details into my calendar. I love how simple Google Calendar functions and being able to create different calendars and color code them and share them makes it extremely efficient. I have a calendar for my business and projects. I have a calendar of everything that relates to my daughter (visitation, babysitting, doctors appointments etc.) and I’ve shared it with my ex so he can make changes and additions to the calendar as well. This has saved us from having to constantly text each other to double check our schedules (which we were doing in the beginning.)

Anything that saves you headache and stress from dealing with your ex (especially if you have children) is a lifesaver.

 

Mint.com

My ex was the one who managed our finances. So, when we separated I was freaking out about budgeting and what the heck I was going to do. Budgeting intimidates me on a good day so I was entering panic mode when I realized it was all up to me now. A friend told me about Mint.com and that was probably the best advice I could have gotten in those early weeks of separation.

Mint is extremely easy and refreshing to use. It basically an envelope-style budgeting system that you can use on your computer or mobile devices. You just enter in the information for your online bank  and any other financial account you have like a student loan or investment and Mint does the rest. It looks back at your spending history and creates budgets. It’s pretty accurate too. You can remove or add budgets and bills. Then you are able to see where you stand financially on any given day.

Say you are at the store and you see a cute top. You think, “I wonder if I have enough money for this.” Just flip out your phone, tap on Mint and voila it tells you how much (or how little) you have left in your “cute top” budget.

You are also able to set up bill reminders so you never miss another due date again. I also have a bill calendar in Google as a back up 🙂

 

Minecraft Pocket Edition

You might think this is a weird item to have listed for things that have helped me through my divorce but hear me out. Separation and divorce are so insanely stressful you need time to unwind and get your mind off of things. Minecraft has been my getaway. I’m able to use my creativity to build things and I get to go on adventures and fight monsters (which I imagine are my ex, tee hee) and I can take a break anywhere since its on my phone and iPad. If Minecraft isn’t your thing that’s fine. Just find a fun game that you can conveniently play on your phone. Take some time every day to get away from all the pain, stress and sadness.

 

Your Turn

What tools have unexpectedly helped you through your separation and divorce?

10 Signs You Are Thriving Through Divorce

10 Signs You Are Thriving Through Divorce

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.  –Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home

Thriving through divorce is much more than simply surviving. It’s about using this time to improve your life and yourself. You will most definitely have days, maybe weeks, when all you can do is survive but for the most part you are doing most of the following:

  1. You are going through the healing process instead of avoiding it.
  2. You are taking time to relearn who you are instead of rushing into another relationship or one night stands.
  3. You are protecting yourself both physically and emotionally from your ex.
  4. You are doing things that you couldn’t or just didn’t do when you were with your ex.
  5. You are keeping up with or starting a health plan or routine.
  6. You are figuring things out whether it’s how to manage your finances or how to fix that leaky faucet.
  7. You are taking time for yourself.
  8. You don’t waste time with people who don’t support you or make you feel worse than you already do.
  9. You are learning new skills or revisiting favorite hobbies.
  10. For the most part, you are not the “bitter ex”.

None of these things happen overnight. These are not set in stone rules. They are only guides. Think of this list as goals or something to work toward. And if you get anywhere close to any of these then you are winning.

She Said No And Simplified Her Life

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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. — Helen Keller

Many people seem to think to be successful you need a lot of stuff. Or because you have a lot of stuff it means you are successful. Or you need a lot of stuff to do many different things you can’t do on your own. Or a lot of stuff will help you have a less stressful life or a healthier life. Whatever the reason it seems many people think a lot of stuff is the answer.

I think that divorce is best time to start saying no to things that a) waste your time and b)waste your money. Here’s my list of things I have said no to since my daughter was born and things I continue to say no to. Maybe you can say no to these things too. And you can probably start your own personalized list.

  • baby food
  • formula (because breast milk is free and easy)
  • crib (we actually bought a toddler bed that she will have for a long time and can even sleep in right now)
  • baby shoes
  • household cleaners for every use
  • sunscreen (we use coconut oil instead. There is a debate on whether or not coconut oil is a reliable alternative to sunscreen but I used it one day at a parade and it worked. I also put it on my daughter, but not on myself, when we were in the sun one day and I got burnt and she didn’t. I am very fair skinned so this is proof enough for me. Experiment and read more about this yourself to make your own conclusions.)
  • bottled water (we use tap instead)
  • chips
  • air fresheners
  • any “As Seen On TV” gadgets
  • any kitchen tool claiming to make my life easier
  • land-line phone and service
  • cable (Netflix and Minecraft videos on YouTube are enough for me)
  • GPS device
  • jewelry
  • perfume
  • new baby and toddler clothes (I’m getting all the clothes she needs from garage sales and thrift stores. I also buy at least one size too big so she can wear them longer.)
  • baby toys (I have some but I realized quickly that my daughter plays with mostly everything but her toys. Now if I buy toys they are used and are versatile like jumbo legos or blocks.)
  • cheap candy (I try *really hard* to limit my sweets but when I do succumb I don’t waste those calories on low-quality candy. Instead I buy premium chocolate)
  • movies
  • TV shows or movies on OnDemand or other
  • pre-mixed seasoning
  • frozen foods (well, except for pizza and ice cream)
  • cereal
  • shaving cream (I just shave after washing my legs and arm pits while the suds are still there)
  • face wash
  • manicures (I do my own nails)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things but my whole point is that you don’t need to buy ALL the things. Most things you can substitute with DIY versions and mostly everything else you really don’t need. The next time you have the urge to buy something try telling yourself “NO” and then figure out a way to make do with what you already have. Saying “no” saves you money, saves space and in many cases saves your health because you aren’t buying toxic products or unhealthy foods. You can browse my DIY Household Items board for ideas on things to make so you don’t have to buy more stuff. You can also make a list of things that you will commit to not buying in the future.

Getting rid of things you don’t need and saying no to things that waste your time, money and energy are great exercises to help you through your divorce. What will you say no to?

Design A Healthy Eating Plan

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ― Michael Pollan

Divorce is a very stressful time, to say the least. And what do we do when we are stressed? If you said “throw all the sweet treats away and hop on the treadmill” then you are a super woman and should start some sort of class or something. I think most us would say that we tend to eat comfort foods and any fitness plans we may have been working towards are thrown out the window.

One way to “Thrive Through Divorce” is to use this time to take care of yourself by eating healthy and exercising. Today, I’m going to focus on eating healthy and building your own healthy eating plan that is unique to you.

The good thing is that in order to eat healthy you don’t necessarily need to count calories and carry around a reference manual to know how many points are in the food you plan to eat. You don’t need to shell out $100 plus on a healthy eating guide. If those things work for you, then by all means, go ahead and do them. They didn’t work for me, though, so I had to figure it out on my own. Below are some questions and guides to help you get a jump-start on your healthy eating plan.

Let’s get started 🙂

  1. Why are you trying to eat healthy? Obviously, the main reasons for eating healthy is to feel better about ourselves and look beautiful (or smokin hot, whichever adjective you would like to use). But as women who are going through divorce we have a deeper reason to eat healthy, right?
  2. Gather tips and advice to help you on your way. Bad days are bound to happen. Temptations are going to pop up. You will have a crazy day and not be able to make that home-cooked meal like you planned. Filling your toolbox with strategies to help you out of these situations will keep you on track. For instance, if you work in a building that has vending machines or your co-workers regularly bring in treats you could keep a stash of a healthy treat alternatives in your desk so you are less tempted to stuff your face with a piece of cake.
  3. Figure out your hurdles. Do you have a sweet tooth (like me)? Do you love anything made from dough (me as well)? You can find healthier recipes for these foods by searching for Paleo bread or healthy cupcakes or diabetic chocolate.
  4. Try mapping out stages of your healthy eating plan. Stage one could be reducing desserts down to one a day. Then stage two could be switching that one dessert to a healthy alternative. And then stage three could focus on meals. This way you can take one step at a time.
  5. Write down all the healthy foods you love. I love honey, strawberries, apples, meat, brussel sprouts (yes you read that right), mushrooms, lemon water, salad, this homemade dressing I make, (I could really go on and on). And you could probably go on and on too. There are probably tons of healthy food you love. This list is to help you focus on what you can have instead of what you can’t. It can also be an exercise for you to match up these foods to make yummy meals. (Don’t forget spices.)
  6. Keep your motivation high. Since going through a divorce is an extremely stressful time it’s going to be even harder (and sometimes impossible) to stay on track. Don’t be too hard on yourself and strengthen your defenses. Gather photos, quotes, people and recipes to help keep you wanting to eat healthy. It’s difficult considering all the crap food that’s thrust in our face every day. But you can do it!
  7. Take a break. You don’t have to eat uber-healthy. Every. Single. Day. You can give yourself that Moon Pie or Oreo or ice cream sundae every once in a while. If you do eat a *forbidden food* don’t treat it like you’ve fallen off the wagon, never to return again. Treat it like a break. As long as you get right back on there’s really no harm done.

Try not to allow your separation or divorce to throw you off your health goals. I know at times it seems impossible to thrive but at the end of the day you will be so much better off.

I will leave you with this quote:
“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you’re allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”
– Shannon L. Alder