4 June, 2023, 7:00 pm
Bula Fiji! Thank you for taking time out to read Bula Vakasaama, a column dedicated to enlightening readers about practical strategies for optimal mental health and mind wellness.
Today’s topic is how to reclaim your life through self-care when going through a break-up, separation, or divorce.
Relationships begin, they evolve, and sometimes they dissolve. We often say that relationships are complex things to understand.
Perhaps this perception needs to change. It is not relationships that are complex to understand, it is people who fail to understand themselves first, so that they may understand another.
When we are in an intimate relationship with another, we end up making that person our world.
We forget that he or she is only a part of our world, they’re not our whole world.
We fail to recognise our own value and importance in the world, our purpose, and our contribution to this world through love and service. We forget who we really are, our authentic self – because we make the other person a priority in every sense.
So much so that we begin to emulate their likes and dislikes, often dismissing our own yearnings and desires. In short, we forget ourselves and that is why when we experience a break-up we lose ourselves as we grieve through the loss of the other person from our life.
My own marriage break-up
Break-ups are never easy, not to mention at times even mentally catastrophic.
Having survived 11 years in a marriage that was physically violent, emotionally abusive, and psychologically traumatic, I have first-hand experience in feeling like the whole world was against me, like I was worthless, like I was better off dead and there was no need for me here, like it was never going to get better, like a part of me was empty and meaningless, like I couldn’t even breathe again.
All of these feelings of selfloathing, self-neglect and negative perceptions became my daily companion when I separated from my ex-husband. I felt like I was the biggest loser and failure in the whole wide world. I labelled myself as unworthy and unlovable.
Now, twelve years later, I know firmly in my heart with absolute faith something that I learned from a holy book… that God does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.
It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns.
Remembering yourself through self-care
Going through a break-up, separation, or divorce can bring about negative perceptions of the world, others, and self.
More than ever, it is during this phase that one needs to consciously practise daily self-care.
Practise the following self-care strategies and have faith that God has put you tothis and He will put you through it and give you what is best for you;
- Self-Compassion – blame keeps one stuck in the past. Live ‘through’ the pain and grow from it to be better and to move on with hope and faith. Blaming yourself causes further pain and anguish. Express gratitude for everything, even those experiences that were painful. Thank God for helping you survive them and for making you stronger and wiser. Be kind with yourself and nurture yourself with loving words;
- Re-visit your life’s purpose and dreams – write down your dreams or goals and envision the best life for yourself. Now that you have started a new chapter in life, use your energy into realising your purpose;
- Talk it out but don’t gossip – speak to positive people and a trusted professional about your feelings. Let things out and unburden, instead of badmouthing your ex. Refrain from talking all day, every day about your break-up to different members of the family and relative circle. This inevitably turns into a gossip session;
- Eat, pray, sleep, exercise – keep focussing on the daily basics of life. Eat healthy meals on time, engage in daily exercise so that your body releases endorphins, the “happy hormones,” sleep for at least 6 hours, and be sure to commit to daily moments of prayer, or meditation, or mindfulness practice;
- Pre-dawn silence — try getting up before sunrise as often as you can. It is one of the best times to become aware of your intuition. This will help you overcome any kind of confusion you may be going through regarding your break-up. Sit in silence and ask God the questions you need answered and then listen to your intuition. Have faith that He will give you wisdom, signs, and inspiration to make choices that will be good for you;
- Start learning something new – whether it is a new craft or a new language, now is a good time to start learning something new. This will help you keep your mind engaged in something productive instead of allowing your mind to dwell on the past and bring about anxiety for an imagined future;
- Rearrange your room and declutter your living space – the movement of energy and positive vibrations in the home are vital. Create a space for yourself which will be your sanctuary. Rearrange furniture and add new colours in order to breathe new life into your home, filling it with light and joy; and
- Detox your body daily – one of the best strategies for detoxing your body is to drink water and excrete toxins from your body. When your body repairs and replenishes from the inside, your immunity and overall health improves.
PRINCESS R LAKSHMAN is a counsellor, clinical nutritionist, writer, narrative therapist, and certified life-coach. She is passionate about mind wellness and an advocate for kindness and self-care. She lives in Sydney and will soon open mind wellness hubs in Fiji to provide free mental health counselling and workshops exclusively to Fiji residents. The views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org