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Ep #122: Tips For Living Alone After Divorce | Becoming You Again Podcast

Living alone after a divorce is akin to navigating uncharted territory. On this episode, I share my personal story of grappling with loneliness and being alone for the first time in my life. I'll talk about learning how to adjust to life on your own, transforming your living space into a safe space that can serve your emotional, mental, and physical needs. I’ll shed light on how to develop an emotional safety plan that helps regulate your nervous system, so you can handle the whirlwind of emotions that accompany life post-divorce.

In this episode, I'll talk about five tips from having an emotional safety plan, to having a routine that brings you joy and a sense of fulfillment, to opening yourself to finding the fun in living alone. Join me, Karin Nelson, as we embark on this journey of rediscovering you, and learning to live alone after divorce.

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

  4. Haven't left a review yet? No problem. Click here to leave one.

Full Episode Transcript:

Hi, I'm your host, Karin Nelson, and you probably already know, but I'm here to remind you. You are listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 122. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Here's your friendly reminder that if you haven't given this podcast a rating or a review yet, please go do that. It helps out a lot. Thanks. All right, my friends, welcome back to the podcast. I am so glad that you're all here today listening and hopefully maybe you'll learn a little something. That's one of the reasons why I like to put this podcast out is to offer you my opinions, my tips, the things that I'm learning, the things that I'm using, the things that my clients are using, and take or leave what you will. So let's jump into today's episode, where I'm going to be giving you tips for living alone after your divorce, because I know that this can kind of be a challenge for a lot of people, myself included in this. This was something that I really had to learn how to do, and I'll get into that a little bit more in the episode and kind of talk about my experience with that. But I don't think that this is an unusual thing. For many people who are going through divorce is trying to live alone after however many years they were in a partnership and at the end of a breakup we usually want to one or more people will move out right, including kids. I'm not saying that, like, maybe you're polyamorous, I don't know but what I am saying is that it's not unusual to kind of struggle with this concept of trying to figure out how to be alone, how to live alone, and so here's some tips to try and make that transition for you a little bit easier. So tip number one and I truly did put this number one on purpose, because I think it is the most important thing that you can do for yourself and it is to create a safe environment, a safe space. What I am talking about is, in all forms, create a safe space, emotionally, mentally and even in your physical surroundings. Okay, when your nervous system gets activated, you need to know ways to support yourself so that you can get calm, so that you can feel peace, so that you can reassure yourself I'm okay, everything is safe. In this moment, when our nervous system is activated, even when we are feeling a wide range of negative emotions, our body and our brain even sometimes does not understand that we truly are safe, and so you need to have some kind of way to reassure yourself internally, mentally and physically, that you are safe and everything is okay. And you can do that when you start to live alone, and I think that it's one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and one of the first things that you should do for yourself. So what is your safety plan? And I don't mean like, do you have a rope that's going to get you out of an upstairs window if there's a fire, although that is important. You should definitely think about those kinds of things, right. But what is your emotional safety plan? Do you know? Have you ever thought about this? Have you ever written one out? Have you ever thought about what is it that calms your nervous system? What is it that you can do for yourself to regulate your nervous system? What is it that you can do for yourself to process through negative emotions where you still feel connected to yourself. So what is your safety plan? Right, and we can think of this in terms of physical surroundings. Have you taken time to make the space yours? And if you were to do that, what would you change or what would stay the same? Creating a safety plan emotionally is like asking yourself what can I do for myself in this moment where I feel taken care of, where I feel loved? What do I need right now? And creating a safe space mentally is basically like not allowing yourself to trash on yourself, not allowing yourself to beat yourself up, just really turning the channel on those thoughts of you're the worst, you made a mistake, you're not enough, you're ugly, you're stupid, like. I don't know what your internal dialogue is. I know mine has tried at times to tell me every single one of those things, and probably way worse. And to create a safe space mentally, you really have to pay attention to those thoughts and Sometimes you might even have to say I'm not going to speak to myself that way. This is my safe space and I'm not going to allow it. So what is your safe space? What does it look like. These are things that you need to be thinking about and stepping into for yourself as you begin this transition to going from a couple to living alone. All right, Number two One of the biggest issues for people when they get divorced is that loneliness, or even just being physically alone, right, not being in a partnership any longer. For many people, this is a huge blow and, as I said at the beginning of this podcast, for me this was one of the things that I really struggled with and had to learn how to do For me personally. The first time I slept alone as an adult in my home that I owned was during my separation. I was 39 years old. I had never been alone all night in my home until I was 39 years old, because I went from living in my parents' house to getting married at 19 to immediately living in the condo that my then husband and I had bought at the time as a married couple, and we weren't apart for entire nights. We were both going to school. Nobody was traveling for work at this point yet, so we weren't apart before we had kids and then, after we had kids, if my husband did have to travel for work or something. Then my kids were with me, so being physically alone was something that was very new to me during my separation. That was, like I said, the first time I had ever slept alone in a house by myself. As an adult was at that age, however, mentally feeling lonely. That was something that I definitely had experienced prior to this, because I had felt lonely for many, many years of my marriage and I was surrounded by kids and I had a husband, and so that to me, I was a little more used to feeling. But the actual being alone in the space was very new to me, and I know that is the case for so many of us, right? Maybe there's been times when you've been alone in your house, but now your kids aren't there half the time and that also is like something that you kind of have to learn to live with, you have to learn to deal with. For me, and I know for many of you, it's this combination of like actually being alone but then also feeling lonely, and those two things together can feel very new and very scary. So the thing that has helped me most, and what I teach my clients to do, is to notice when they feel lonely and then identify what you need in those moments, because the more you can tune in with yourself and your needs, the easier it's going to be to ask what do I need in this moment and then really step into giving whatever you answer to yourself, and then you'll start to know the answers. You'll be able to recognize the answer so much faster and so much easier the more you ask and are willing to step up and give yourself what you need. There have been times in my past when I have felt lonely and what I needed was to just like allow myself to cry as hard as I could. Some people will call it the ugly cry. Right, you're just like sobbing and then wrap myself up in a blanket and fall asleep. That was what I needed in that moment. Maybe that's the case for you too, but you have to ask. You have to be willing to ask yourself what feels loving to me in this moment? What do I need in this moment to give myself the most support? I have had clients who what they really needed was to listen to a really great book while they cleaned their house. If you're looking for a really good book, I would highly recommend Lessons in Chemistry or the Midnight Library. Those are two really amazing books that are fiction that will fly by and will make you feel empowered in your own life, and they're super entertaining and great To go along with that. I once heard someone say and I literally don't know who said this, I probably read it somewhere. I actually didn't hear it, but I don't know. I can't attribute who said this, but it's something like you'll never be alone if you have the company of a good book, and I think that's something to remember If we have these really great characters that we feel connected to and that can be a very connective, healing thing, especially when we are kind of feeling lonely. I have clients who listen to some amazing music, like a really great playlist, while they cleaned or while they go for a walk or while they lay in the bathtub. I have clients who have learned to recognize that when they are feeling very lonely, that what they really need is to be around other people, whether it's family or friends or really just being out in the community. Like, even if you don't feel like you have family or friends or you don't live close to anybody, or you don't feel like you have close friends or somebody supportive that you can go to. Maybe just getting out of the environment they are in and going out into the community can also be an option. I know, close to where I live there is this outdoor shopping center and it kind of has like this central area, has like fountains where they do fountain shows, set to music and sometimes they have live concerts and in the summertime is very active. There's lots of people outside sitting around, there's seating and restaurants and places to get drinks and like all sorts of fun things are happening. And even if you didn't know anyone but you really wanted to feel that kind of sense of connection, that could be a really great way to do that. If you don't feel like you have someone who you could go with, Figure out when you are feeling lonely and ask yourself what you need in those moments and get really clear about answering that question and then giving yourself that thing that you need and it might change. It may not stay the same every time you ask. I know for me definitely doesn't stay the same. Number three create a routine. Now I have a little bit of a caveat to go along with this one, because I'm not saying pack your schedule so full that you are just completely aborting your life. You have no time to do anything for yourself. All you're doing is boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Every second of the day is full of something to do. I think, women, we already do that enough to ourselves, and it's tiring and overwhelming and it can shut us down. Do not do that. That is not at all what I'm saying when I say create a routine. What I am saying is a routine can be very healing and it can be very useful, especially when you're adding in healing moments or timed process emotions or just time to do something that you want, just because you want to. You want to take a nap and that's part of your daily routine or your weekend routine or whatever. Do it, put it in your routine. But the really great thing about creating a routine is that there's not really a rule as to what your routine has to look like. There's no baseline. There's no person saying no, your routine needs to look this way to be able to heal. It doesn't. It can look whatever way you want. But the healing thing about a routine is you know what to expect, and I think it's very common when we go through a divorce. There's so much uncertainty when it comes to who gets what and filling out the divorce papers and the divorce decree, and you and maybe your ex are arguing over who gets what and what time with the kids and all of the things that go into it. Right, there's so much uncertainty around that that what we sometimes really crave in these moments is some certainty, is some knowledge of what to expect, and a routine can offer that to us, and that can be a very healing thing. So, like I said, maybe your routine could be something that you're going to do every day. Maybe it could be something you're going to do every Wednesday, like every Wednesday night I'm going out with my girlfriends and we're going to drink, so we're going to a bar to listen to live music, or we're going to play pickleball or like whatever it is. Or maybe every Thursday and Saturday I clean my house from 6 to 7 pm. Maybe every night I go to bed at 9 30 on the dot, put the kids to bed, take a half an hour for me and then I go to bed. Or like I mean, my kids don't go to bed at 9 o'clock. I'm not saying you have to put your kids to bed at 9 o'clock. My kids have been way past bed times for years and years and years. So you get to decide what your routine can look like, and it can look like whatever you want, but add some time in there that is special and healing for you. Are you catching a theme here? There's so much healing that happens in the present moment when we listen to the things that we need and creating a safe space, really listening to what we need when we're lonely, setting up some kind of routine that includes us in there and what some of our needs are. It's very, very important. Number four I want you to start to look for things that make you feel awe. Awe is an emotion that has been scientifically proven to help with loneliness, to help with overwhelm, to help with stress, to help with sadness, and it's something that you can do in a very small amount of time every day. It's called a microdose moment, where you really look for awe in the everyday. It's an emotion that fills you up with positivity, it fills you up with feelings of hope and happiness and peace, and it can literally be done in like 10 seconds a day. So I literally just did an entire podcast on how you can do this, and so if you haven't listened to it, just go listen to the podcast because it will walk you through. I interview the author of the book, where you'll learn exactly how to do this. The book is called the Power of Awe. The episode is called Finding Peace in 10 Seconds with the Power of Awe, and once you start doing it, it becomes so easy to do in the everyday. If you haven't read the book yet the Power of Awe, if you haven't listened to that episode, I would definitely recommend doing that, because this is going to be so powerful for you as you go through this transition of learning to live on your own. And number five, I want you to try and open up to the idea that being on your own can actually be pretty freaking fun. A few weeks ago, my partner was staying about 30 minutes away at his mom's house. He was pet sitting her three cats and dog, as she and her partner were out of town for a couple of weeks. It was about two weeks, and I was here because I work from home and it's just much easier for me to have all of my gear and everything here, and so he just, you know, took a bag and went and stayed and we would just FaceTime and text and all of the great things that we can do through technology, which is amazing, but also, like I have to say, I think we both really enjoyed Having a little bit of time to ourselves, and I know it's completely different when you're going through a divorce. I understand that. I've been there, I get it. My partner and I didn't move in together until a few years after we started dating, and so I totally understand the idea of Still being alone, it being a new thing, but I want you to know that it can still be fun. You just have to kind of open up to the idea. So let me give you some examples of what I did for myself during these two weeks that we were kind of apart. I really wanted to make the most of my days when he wasn't home, when he was gone, and so of course, I had my son half the time still, and so he was there some days, and there were some days when he wasn't and it Was just me and my cats that were in the house. Some of the ways that I was able to kind of open myself up to it being more fun and to it being really just my space Was. I slept in the middle of the bed. I mean, let's get real. If you haven't ever had the bed all to yourself, guess what? Now you get to, I ate whatever I wanted for dinner and I didn't have to ask anybody else's opinions on is this okay, or this is the plan, or, you know, whatever you say for dinner. Some nights I didn't even eat dinner because I wasn't hungry, which is kind of nice to not even have to think about that and to just decide for myself. Yeah, I don't think I'm gonna eat, and it totally is fine. There were a few times being home alone, I put on my favorite Podcast on my home pod and turn it up as loud as it could go, and then I just cleaned my entire house. So it's just blasting through the house. I'm cleaning, listening, laughing, doing all the things. And of course I can do any of these things maybe not sleeping in the middle of the bed, but any of the other things when my partner is here and when the kids are here. But there's something different and more playful about Like having the space all to yourself that can offer up a feeling of freedom and independence. That isn't really possible when you have a partner that you're expecting home at 5, 30 or that's. You know that's there all the time throughout the day or the weekend, kind of an idea. And there were other times where I just really wanted to be outside and so I would go. I went out in my backyard, late on the grass, really connected with nature in that way, which is something that I found I really love to do. My cats came out with me and they just kind of hung out on the grass with me and I just would watch the leaves blowing gently in the wind and I would just watch the clouds roll by or the blue sky up above me and I would just listen to the birds and listen to the wind and just enjoy the moment of being by myself, connected to nature, connected to myself and Knowing that all was well. Those were moments that I really cherish and love. But I have to say it's possible for you, as you're making this transition to figuring out how to live alone and how to live on your own again, it's possible for you to learn to enjoy your own company, especially if that's not something that you've ever really experienced or ever had to know how to do. It's a really kind of cool thing to Get to know yourself again and get to know what makes you happy and what makes you feel calm and what you enjoy to do. When you're all by yourself and Yours probably aren't gonna look anything like mine, and that's totally okay, but just taking the time and opening yourself up to this idea that it could be actually really fun. What would that look like for you? All right, my friends, I hope these tips help you as you are going through this transition of Living together with a partner and now living alone. You've got this. Create your safe space and really show up for yourself. I love you so much. Thank you so much for listening and I will be back next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to Karin Nelson coaching comm. That's www. Karin NELSON coaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way. Please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you Live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.



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