The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Self-Care and The Habit Loop


 

One of the most discussed topics with my clients is habits, how to get rid of unwanted ones, and how to replace them with ones that support optimum well-being. An important first step towards self-care is eliminating self-sabotaging behavior.  A clear understanding of habits can support us in accomplishing this goal. 

 

A habit is unconscious behavior. It is something we repeatedly do without giving it much thought. We develop a habit by repeatedly responding to external stimuli in the same way over and over again.

Factors such as corresponding emotions, underlying beliefs, previously developed negative patterns can all contribute to how strong or ingrained a habit becomes. You see, habits are a result of a very normal part of brain function. They exist to make our life easier. Once a particular behavior, such as brushing our teeth every morning, becomes ingrained, we don't have to spend time and energy thinking about it. We can then use our mental energy for other, more critical tasks. The problem is that we often develop habits that are not necessarily in our best interest. There are many reasons for this:

 

  • We can choose behavior or actions based on outside influences such as our peers, friends, the media, or society in general.
  • We can maintain a habit that was useful at one time, but that has now become counterproductive to our personal growth. 
  • We can have unconscious limiting beliefs that are affecting how we choose to behave. 

 

The good news is that with determination, self-awareness, and the right strategies, we can replace self-sabotaging habits with positive, life-enhancing ones.

 

One of the first steps to changing a habit is understanding exactly how it works. The Habit Loop pulled from James Clear's book "Atomic Habits." is a great model for helping us develop awareness and understanding around our habitual behavior.

 

According to Clear, there are four steps to what he calls The Habit Loop. When we understand these steps, we can intervene at any point and change the outcome, eventually modifying the habit.

 

Cue

The cue is the triggering external stimuli. It is the event, situation, or

circumstance that creates a craving. Examples of cues can be:

  • A television commercial about fast food.
  • Anxiety provoking social situations.
  • Sudden changes in environmental factors such as cold, visibility, or comfort level.

 

Craving

The trigger or cue creates a craving. A craving is a deeply felt need or

desire to act. Examples of cravings associated with the above cues

are:

A television commercial about fast food can cause a craving for

food or something to eat.

Anxiety provoking social situations can cause a craving for a drink

to calm your nerves.

A sudden drop in temperature can cause a craving to put on a sweater,

or turn up the heat.

 

Response

The response is how we "choose" to respond to the craving.

For example:

  • We see a commercial for fast food - we crave a hamburger - we order fast food.
  • We feel anxious in a social situation - we crave a drink - we reach for a glass of wine.

 

Reward 

The reward is what we ultimately get from our response to the craving. For example:

  • We order a hamburger - we satisfy our desire - it was delicious.
  • We have that drink - we calm our nerves - we feel better.

 

As pointed out earlier, we can go through this entire process with little to no self-awareness. Our choices can be dictated by past behavior, by present emotions and immediate circumstances. If we are not careful, we can respond in ways that are not in alignment with our values and our goals. Why would we be compelled to do this? Because our brain is trying to make our lives a bit easier. That's one of its jobs. It forms habits and goes into an automatic pilot mode so that we do not have to waste energy on every little decision and task. Unfortunately, this automatic response is not always in our best interest.

 

That's where self-awareness becomes critical. Self-awareness allows us to intervene in this process. Once we understand where we are in the loop, we can learn to by-pass our brain's automatic response and create patterns that give us our desired outcome.

 

For example, yes, the hamburger is delicious but ordering fast food has become a habit, and now the reward has become unwanted weight gain.

 

So, what do you do, when your brain starts creating habits or automatic responses that you no longer desire?

 

You start becoming aware of the process.

 

One of the best ways to do this is to start tracking your habits around a desired goal or outcome. I've provided a tracking sheet that you can use to do just that. This worksheet is a modified version pulled from James Clear's book "Atomic Habits." You can get a copy of the tracking sheet by sending me an email at joanne@damselflytransformations.com. Spend at least a few weeks just noticing where you are in the process and use the following questions to journal and gain some insight around your responses. 

 

  1. What situations, events, people, or emotions trigger cravings?
  2. What are your responses to these cravings?
  3. Are the rewards you are getting from your responses align with your needs and desires?
  4. What cues are showing up regularly?
  5. How are you responding to your cravings? Are you getting the results you are wanting?
  6. What are the needs associated with these cravings?
  7. What underlying beliefs might be influencing your responses to your cravings?
  8. What other responses could you put in place that would meet your needs and give you a preferred outcome?

 

For more information or support in helping you explore this process, please reach out at www.damselfytransformations.com. 

 


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

15 Things You Can Do to Make Your Life Better During Self-Isolation


This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our 'world' would be confined to our homes! This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is - and how much we need human connection!

Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbor, mom, boss, and friends, as well as your counterparts around the world, are all going through something similar.

So, it's important to remember:
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Viktor E. Frankl

This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.


Here Are 15 Things You Can do to Make Your Life Better while Physically Isolated:


1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine!


When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.

While we're all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it's easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and a greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.

This routine or schedule can be as simple as:

7am - Wake-up
8am - Breakfast
10am - Exercise
11am - Talk to friends
12.00pm - Lunch
1-4pm - Learning or a home project
5pm - Make & Eat Dinner
7pm - Talk to close family
8pm - Reading, Journaling
10pm - Bed

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time, and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.

It's also important to recognize weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:

Sleeping in/later bedtime
Brunch
"Treats"
Movie night with popcorn
A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues
A larger project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening, or home redecoration.

So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it's important for you - and especially important for children - to have predictability.


2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels, or Flexibility!


Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!

So, add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups!

There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:

Take up a yoga practice - excellent for strength-building, flexibility - and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. Sarah Beth Yoga on Youtube has more (free) yoga videos than I can count.

Learn to do a press-up or push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more - depending on where you start)!

There are so many online fitness classes on Youtube - for beginners, experts - with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever. PopSugar Fitness has many options to choose from.

REMEMBER: BEING stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!

3) Learn with Non-Fiction Books!


Use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations, and much more.

What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!

Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:

Be more productive or creative with "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore or "A Whack on the Side of the Head (How You Can Be More Creative)" by Roger Von Oech and "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink.

Think (or rethink?) how you live with books like "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan (also available in a young reader's version), "Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures" by Carlo Petrini, "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich, "Doughnut Economics" by Kate Raworth.

Get personally inspired with "Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts" and "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown, or "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.
Up-skill yourself with "Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen.

Learn about the human mind with "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell or "The Whole Brainchild" by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

Get healthier with "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams" by Matthew Walker Ph.D.

Be more confident and discover your strengths with "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman" or "Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage)" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.

Finally, read a memoir! Choose someone you admire, get inspired, and learn how other people think - and live their lives.

Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills - and maybe even make you more employable too!


4) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning!


There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they're growing by the day!

Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera or Udemy.

There are many other providers.

If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to!

And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you.


5) Explore your Life Vision!


Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture - your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?

Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action, and make a change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need to stay focused!

Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:

What do you desire or yearn for in your life?
How do you want to feel?
What do you really, really want to be different in your life?
What would have happened in 3 years' time such that your life is spectacular and you feel magnificent about yourself?
What's your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?

TIP: Remember to think possibility, not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead, believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!

Lastly, if you like guided meditation, you can meet yourself 20 years from now over at Fierce Kindness in this "Still Lake" Guided Meditation, ask any questions you have, and receive a 'gift'! (20 mins).

6) Be in the moment!


At THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.

This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.

This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.

So, when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. At this moment, I am safe. At this moment I am OK." You can also add or say, "At this moment, my children/husband/family are safe."

EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimize how often you watch and read the news! And DON'T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!

7) Laugh!


Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!

Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream - Endorphins (our natural "happy" drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily "reward" system).

What are your favorite comedy shows?
Is there a comedian you like?
Netflix and similar have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh!

IMPORTANT: We should NOT use over-use laughter as a distraction technique. And it shouldn't be used for ongoing and persistent fears in regular life. But for a situation like this, where this isn't much that any of us can do other than sit and wait - distraction can be a great coping mechanism.

8) Start a Journal!


If you've always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It's a great way to get to know you.

It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
One thing that's surprised me recently is _________.
What matters most to me in life is _________.
Describe your ideal day _________.

"A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived." Lynda Monk

You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.

9) Be Kind!


Kindness and compassion are some of the most powerful tools any of us have in our toolbox right now. Many of us are largely housebound, never mind the fear that you or a loved one might actually catch the COVID virus! So, of course, we're going to feel unpleasant and weird.
Use kindness to comfort yourself when afraid or feeling anxious or fidgety. Be gentle. Imagine you're soothing a friend, small child, or animal who is afraid - what would you say to them? Then say that to yourself!
Use kindness to give yourself - and others - the benefit of the doubt. Instead of getting upset when you see other people behaving badly, remember that we all do silly things when we're scared.
Imagine you have a kind, wise self. A part of you that is unflappable, intelligent, and unconditionally loves ALL of you. Now, when you need it, imagine that kind, wise self is with you, supporting you, maybe giving you a hug - and saying exactly what you need to hear (not just the sugary stuff, but also the tough love and common sense).

10) Help Others!


Helping others is empowering and makes us feel better. Here are a few ways you could help others.
Check-in on a neighbor or friend and see if they need anything. You can do this by phone, or in person, remembering to maintain a 6 feet distance.
Offer to get someone groceries if you're going.
Help someone less technically savvy learn how to use Zoom or WhatsApp or whatever they need to get online.
Host a virtual get-together with your regular friends.
Reconnect more deeply with friends or relatives who have moved away.

11) Live Your Values!


When we know your values, we understand what motivates and drives us. When we build our lives around our values, we create a life that is meaningful. Finally, when we align our actions with our values - we're being truly authentic. It's a very satisfying and fulfilling way to live.

And living your values could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now.

Here's an exercise you can do:
List your values on a piece of paper or in your journal.
Give each value a score ___ / 10 as to how well you are living that value in your life now (where 0 is not at all and 10 is full-out).
For the scores that are 8 or more - great!
For the scores that are 7 or less out of 10, ask yourself, "How could I express this value more in my life right now?" "What could I do differently or approach differently, so that I feel good about how I live this value in my life?"

For example, you have a value of creativity, but you're only managing to 'go through the motions' right now and your score is 4/10. Ask yourself how you could be more creative during this time - whether it's cooking, gardening, art or writing, or helping your kids do something creative, or even watching a documentary about someone creative you admire...

12) De-Clutter!


I bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage, or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!

Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless! Plus it'll feel amazing just to have it done.

Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!
If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could watch the Marie Kondo series on Netflix!

A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:
If you're keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will "live" from now on.
If you're not keeping it, create two piles:
Things to DUMP
Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).
When you're done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once this crisis is over you can get rid of what you no longer need.
TIP: You don't need to do any of this 'in one sitting', do an hour a day - you'll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!


13) Grow Something - Or Get an Indoor Flowering Plant!


There is nothing quite like growing something - whether it's flowers, fruits or vegetables that makes us feel good! Even if you live in an apartment and you could grow fresh herbs on your windowsill or balcony to cook with!
Get some seeds, (a pot and some soil if needed) and get started.
Many plant nurseries are still open, or you could order seeds etc. online.
Follow the instructions - and remember to water it!

If growing something is just too much work, get yourself a spring bulb or succulent (cacti) planter, or you could get an indoor plant like a Spathiphyllum* (Peace Lily) is good for cleaning the air of pollutants (and easy to take care of).

* Be aware that some plants are poisonous to pets - so please check.

14) Send "Real" Snail Mail Letters or Cards!


Go old-fashioned. Who doesn't love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone's day.

Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that's great. But imagine your recipient's face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox.

Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started:
I really appreciate having you in my life because ________.
I love hanging out with you when we ________.
I've realized that you bring ________ to my life.


15) Begin a Meditation Practice!


Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to calm us, help us be more creative, and be happier (for starters). It's extremely beneficial.

There is a lot to learn about meditation - and it's called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it's also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day - and it's good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on "Meditation for Beginners" or go to Youtube or Google and search for "How to Meditate". Another good place to start is "Metta" or "Loving Kindness" meditation. Again, search online and you'll have lots of options to choose from.

It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions - which many of us don't have at the moment. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead.

Another idea is to listen to a sleep meditation or "Body Scan Meditation" before going to sleep.

Wrap-up


So, which of the above ideas resonated with you? The areas I am focusing on are taking online courses, reading, and doing lots of walking.

Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.

This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!

And remember, don’t hesitate to get support if and when you need it.

Joanne Shank
Self-Care and Life Coach
Damselfly Transformations


joanne@damselflytransformations.com


Sunday, April 26, 2020

COVID-19 and Growth Mindset



A few weeks ago, I found and shared the following diagram on Facebook.


As a self-care and life coach, I felt it was an incredibly potent tool for supporting individuals in moving through the COVID-19 crisis. 

The day I posted the diagram on my feed, I got a message from a very frustrated young lady. She seemed to feel that it passed some harsh and harmful judgment on those finding this time particularly challenging and unable to move towards growth. I can understand her frustration. 

It is vital to understand what this model is suggesting and how to use it in a way that can be beneficial to everyone. 

Let's do that by diving a little deeper into the continuum and its three stages. Now, what I will share are my thoughts and ideas. I did some digging and tried to find the source of the diagram, but was unable. I, therefore, underline that these ideas might very well differ from those of the creator of the original diagram. 

Fear Zone:

First of all, most of us will find ourselves in this zone some times. We are all human. But, working towards not being stuck here for an extended period is the best thing you can do for yourself. As we will see later on, the most empowering place to be is in the learning zone. That is where you find hope, solutions, motivation, and meaning. And most people can find ways to hang out in the learning zone at least some of the time.

The behaviors listed in this portion of the diagram indicate what your actions might look like if you behave from a place of fear and lack of self-awareness. Being afraid does not mean that you are in the fear zone.  
How you decide to respond to your anxiety or any other emotion does. 

One of the first things you'll want to do to avoid being in this zone for longer than necessary is actually to honor and recognize all your emotions. 
Comfortable or uncomfortable emotions are important messengers. They tell us about what we need and should be used to inform our decisions and actions. It is essential to honor and respect our feelings as well as those of others. 

How are you processing and dealing with your emotions right now?
Are you using alcohol, drugs, overeating, or other addictive behavior to numb your emotions? 
Are you finding ways of processing your emotions that are in your best interest?  
Emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control are skills you can learn. Are you open to finding the resources and support necessary to do so?


Learning Zone:

The learning zone is where the magic happens. When you position yourself in the learning zone, you are allowing yourself to find solutions, be proactive, and improve your circumstances. None of us is to blame for this pandemic. You've probably heard some people on social media, in your community, or even in the news try to assign blame. These are not people who are presently functioning from the learning zone. When you see someone blaming someone else for a situation, you can be confident that they are acting out of fear. Blame is useless. Taking responsibility is empowering, and that is what we do when we strive to be in the learning zone. We take responsibility for our life no matter what.  

The first step in taking responsibility for your circumstances is identifying what is in and out of your control. Once this is clear, let go of what you don't and start getting excited about what you do. Getting clear on what you do control empowers you. There are always elements of your circumstances that you do control, even if it is merely your attitude. And I strongly recommend you not underestimate the power of your attitude. 

In the learning zone, you remain open and non-judgmental about your situation. You do not deny reality or how you feel about it. You become aware of your feelings, and you find ways of processing them in positive, self-supporting ways. You do not deny problems that show up, but you work at finding solutions. And you ask for help and support when you need it. 


Growth Zone:

In the growth zone, you're behaving in ways that are helpful to yourself and those around you. What's interesting is that being in the growth zone helps you stay out of the fear zone. The behaviors in the growth zone reflect values such as appreciation, compassion, creativity, and gratitude. 
These are qualities and vibrations that have a positive synergetic impact on the world around you. If you can work on developing a learner's mindset, your ability to move towards the growth zone will automatically be enhanced. 


Most of us go back and forth on this continuum from day to day if not minute to minute. It is not an easy process, and circumstances can make it even more challenging.  But when we choose to approach life from this perspective, we are giving meaning to hardship and challenge.  If you are not sure how to begin, please take the time to get the help and support you need. 

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." 
 -Martin Luther King Jr

Friday, April 10, 2020

How to Self-Care During and After Divorce


More often than not, self-care gets put on the back burner when we are in the middle of divorce and separation. Because of the overwhelming nature of it all, we can quickly resort to self-loathing, self-criticism, or sabotaging behavior.  
But getting the support you need, developing the right mindset, and giving yourself every advantage possible can allow you to come out of this experience a better and more empowered you. 
True self-care is not merely a list of self-nurturing behaviors; it is a fundamental philosophy by which you choose to live your life. It stems from a conviction that you are ultimately responsible for your own life and are capable of attending to your individual needs.

This conviction can be at best shaky when we are going through a significant stressor or life transition, such as divorce.
So start by breaking the concept down into bite-size pieces. Examine the following areas of self-care. What priorities are coming up for you?

Physical:
Are you taking care of your basic physical needs right now? What could you be doing differently?
Social:
Are the people in your life supporting you? If not, what could you do to get the support you need? Could you hire a coach or join a support group?
Spiritual:
Are you living in alignment with your core values right now? What are your core values?  
Financial:
How do you feel about your finances? What do you need to do to take ownership of your finances? 
Mental:
What could you do to attend to your mental health? What goals could you give yourself in terms of personal growth and development?
Emotional:
How could you support yourself emotionally? How is self-talk contributing to your psychological well-being? How could you be more compassionate toward yourself?

When you've identified your priorities, you can begin to set small attainable goals for yourself. 
When you do, you will want to keep in mind the following factors which can significantly influence your ability for self-care. 

Self-sabotaging behavior:
There are certain behaviors you should avoid. Although some of these can make you feel good in the moment, they can sabotage your long term goals, success, and personal growth. 
These include but are not limited to:
  • Negative self-talk.
  • Spending time gossiping and bad-mouthing your ex.
  • Sitting around discussing how bad things are with your girlfriend.
  • Using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or numb the pain.
  • Leaning on any addictive behavior to get through the day.
  • Seeking revenge.
  • Jumping into a new relationship.

Meaning and purpose:
There is no escaping the fact that divorce is a tough and challenging time. It is considered a significant life stressor, second only to the loss of a loved one. Attempting to find meaning in the experience can cultivate hope, inspiration, strength, and resilience.   
You can ask yourself the following questions to begin this process:
  • How will you be true to your values through this experience?
  • What will you learn about yourself?
  • How do you want others to perceive you?
  • If you were not feeling scared, overwhelmed right now, what would you do?
  • Who do you want to become on the other side of this experience?

Mindsets and core beliefs:
You have many ideas about yourself and the world. Some of these beliefs are conscious; some are unconscious. Some of them serve you, and some of them cause pain and suffering. You need to unpack and uncover these beliefs to maximize your ability to thrive and move through this period of your life. For example, if you believe you should be punished for ending your marriage, self-care might be challenging. You will need support in finding strategies for identifying and challenging the beliefs that are getting in your way. 

Working with a coach:
Getting the support, you need at this time is crucial. A well trained, professional coach will be in a position to support you in the following ways: 
  • Help you identify priorities for self-care.
  • Listen and give you the space you need to express your concerns and emotions. 
  • Help you identify limiting beliefs and strategies for turning them around.
  • Help you view your experience from a variety of perspectives. 
  • Support you in finding solutions and tools for meeting your challenges. 

The time leading up to, during, and after divorce is a challenging time. Give yourself the self-love and support you need to not only survive this experience but to come out the other side the strong and resilient woman you are meant to be. 

Joanneđź’—