Sometimes a mood gets ahold of you and you’re along for the ride until it passes. You’re especially vulnerable during divorce and its aftermath. Tough times and down days are part of the divorce experience. While it’s important to feel and process your feelings, there are some things you can to do lighten your heart in those moments when you’re tired of feeling down.
Here are 15 ideas for when you need an emotional break:
1. Go outside and spend some time communing with nature. Be fully present with all that your senses are picking up. Notice every shade of green, and every buzz and chirp. Notice what’s moving–bees, birds, lizards, butterflies. Feel the breeze and smell the air. If you can, take off your shoes and put your feet on the ground.
2. Take three to five long, slow and deep breaths—count to four on the way in, hold for four and count to four on the way out. Focus completely on your breath moving into and back out of your nose.
3. Find pictures of and quotes from people who inspire you, living or dead, and put them where you can see them. Look at each person and know that they too had struggles and dark times.
4. Follow funny animal accounts on social media and get a laugh and a rush of happy brain chemicals. (@pawsup
on Instagram gets me every time!)
5. Put together a playlist of uplifting/power songs and play it on repeat. I love Fight Song
by Rachel Platten.
6. Get a collection of two or three inspirational books and always carry one with you for a quick pick-me-up. Try one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul
8. Spend some quality time with an animal—yours or borrowed.
9. Find a volunteer opportunity that speaks to you and enjoy the rush of good feelings that come from giving of yourself.
10. Treat yourself to something that makes you feel good or brings you joy. A massage, a chocolate bar, lunch with your best friend, or anything as long as it’s something you love. See my post Get Serious About Fun
11. Try something new—From a pickleball lesson to a cooking class, stretching yourself is good fun and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
12. Watch a funny or inspiring movie or documentary.
13. Do something creative—from adult coloring books to full-on art or craft projects—creativity is stimulating and relaxing all at once.
14. Move your body. Whether it’s a gentle walk, an invigorating swim or hitting the gym, exercise is proven to make you feel better.
15. Close your eyes and put your hand on your heart. Now, imagine it’s one year from today. You’re smiling and laughing! You’re proud of yourself for how far you’ve come. Thank your future self for the work they did to recover and rebuild. Know that you WILL get there.
At the same time, notice what habits leave you feeling anxiety, dread or sadness and do less of those.
As always, if you feel overwhelmed or can’t pull out of a funk, support yourself with therapy or coaching.
- Too much digital distraction (TV and internet surfing) will bum you out and keep you in a low-grade mood.
- Steer clear of continually keeping up with the news—check in a maximum of once a day for a set time or take a news break altogether.
- This is a good time to do a social media cleanse. All the happy images of friends can make you feel like everyone else’s life is ideal. They’re not but most people don’t share their struggles on social media. And, I don’t have to tell you that stalking your Ex’s Facebook will lead to heartache.