Six Ways to Survive Separation

Photo courtesy of View from 5’2
Today’s contribution comes to us from DailyPath reader Shauna Stebler.

Marital separation is extremely difficult to get through especially if you are receiving mixed messages or are unsure of the direction things are moving.  You don’t want to be spending every day thinking about your spouse, wondering what went wrong, and what’s going to happen now, or the dreaded replaying of every conversation and overanalyzing everything that was said and done.  You will drive yourself mad!  I know this from experience.

Distractions are fundamental during this time.  The more distractions you have, the less time you spend wearing yourself out with the unknown.  Worrying about it isn’t going to change anything.  Let’s talk about focusing on the things you can control, versus the things you can’t.

1.  Career and Finances:  It may be difficult to focus on your job right now, but I encourage you to put everything you have into it.  If you don’t like your job, maybe it’s time to find a new one.  You could go back to school, which would be productive with your time.  It can also give you a sense of accomplishment.  If your finances are out of control, you can always find ways to improve it.  Pick up a book to get you started.

2.  Health and Well Being:  Get adequate sleep, eat right, and start an exercise program.  I took up bellydancing.  Find a fun way to exercise!  Do something with the kids such as bike riding. This will give you a tremendous amount of energy and help to lift the depression.

3.  Friends and Family:  Invite a few friends over to play cards or for makeovers.  Go get mani’s and pedi’s together.  Just spend some time getting to know your friends again or go out and make some new ones.  There’s always something going on with kids, whether it’s baseball games or dance class.  Start spending some real quality time with your kids.

4.  Personal Growth:  Part of our personal growth journey deals with our failures and the areas that we would like to improve on, but the other part to that is being able to let go of the past and choosing to heal.  Self improvement books are wonderful.  Choose to move forward with your life even if it’s without your spouse right now.

5. Fun and Recreation:  Do something fun!  It gets your mind off of your problems.  No chick flicks, enough said.  Spend some time on hobbies.  Learn a language.  Find a sports team to join.  Grab a friend and go shopping.  Get a massage.

6. Physical Environment:  If your house makes you feel dark and depressed, make some changes.  If you walk past something that makes you miss your spouse every time you see it, put it away for now.  Don’t sit in the dark.  Fresh flowers and scents relax the senses.

Schedule things to do.  This will help you to find the motivation you need to not sit at home by yourself.  Surround yourself with positive people, places and things.  With each passing day, you will start to feel more like yourself, and happiness will once again seem attainable.

Shauna Stebler is a 37 year old single mom working on her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She also leads an online support group called Surviving Separation



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