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Six Steps to Recovering from Depression After Divorce

By Phoenix Griffin

Some scientific research has indicated that in order to make a full recovery from a divorce or separation from a significant other, you need to expect that it might take one year for every five years you were invested in the relationship. This could vary, based on different circumstances of course. While it is certain that time is one of the factors associated with fully getting over a broken heart, there are some steps you can take that might make you heal faster. These are six simple steps that could help you recover from a broken relationship.

 

Remove Familiar Elements from Your Surroundings

It can be extremely difficult to let go of objects that belong to your ex because of the sentimental feelings that are attached to them; however, one of the worst things you can do during your recovery process is to surround yourself with things that serve as constant reminders of what you once had in your relationship. If there are a few items that are extremely important to you, you do not necessarily have to throw them away, but find a secluded safe place you can store them in until you are further down the road to recovery. Any items that create an environment of negativity should be discarded if possible. Your goal of having a new beginning in the future will be more difficult to achieve if you are surrounded by negativity from the past.

 

View the Situation as an Opportunity to Improve Your Weaknesses

As the old saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher,” and losing a relationship with a loved one is a great way to learn from what went wrong so you can make better choices in a future relationship. Pointing fingers is unproductive; take an honest, hard look at yourself and try to identify which mistakes you made, as well as which shortcomings your partner had that might have contributed to the downfall of the relationship. Write down a list of patterns you would like to change in yourself, then come up with a plan of action to help you achieve your goals. For example, if one of your weaknesses is communication, you could try to find ways to build your skills by participating in an online course or practice sharing your feelings with a friend.

 

Gain a Different Perspective about the Situation

It is very easy to adapt an attitude of negativity when your heart is in pain, but try to keep a healthy perspective about the situation and remind yourself that this is only a temporary setback, not a lifetime sentence. Find activities that spark your passion and prevent you from becoming too self-focused. You could take a pottery class if you enjoy artwork or discover a new park to walk in. The goal is to consciously place yourself in situations and places that will keep you from navel-gazing and remind you that the world is still a beautiful place to live. Most importantly, make sure you are not isolating yourself from others. Do whatever it takes to be around other people, whether that means you are catching up with old friends or joining a club that discusses a topic you are passionate about.

 

Create Boundaries, Not Walls

Be aware of walls you might be tempted to put up with friends and family members. When you get hurt in a relationship, it is easy to try to find ways of protecting yourself from being hurt again, but in reality, you could be ensuring that the good things are also being kept out of your life, not just the bad things. Set healthy boundaries with your ex to ensure you both have room to move on, but do not avoid surrounding yourself with positive, trustworthy friends either. This process could take some time to master, but being aware of the temptation to create walls is the first step to ensuring you aren’t shutting the rest of the world out either.

 

Change Your Diet

If you are struggling with depression, your diet and your overall mood might go hand-in-hand. One of the worst side effects of depression is that you probably feel so miserable you might try to find instant relief almost anywhere you can. Try to discipline yourself from reaching for the Little Debbie snacks or Doritos too often because eating fatty, unhealthy foods could actually make your symptoms much worse. Replace unhealthy snacks and meals with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and be sure to get plenty of protein throughout the day, which will improve your energy levels. You do not have to stay completely away from junk food, but make your best effort to only binge in moderation.

 

About Beginning to Date Again

When you are in a vulnerable position, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to try to find a new partner to help alleviate the pain of your broken heart – even if the new love interest is an exceptional, trustworthy person. The reason is simple: people are people, no matter how good they are, and no one can ever fill the void you feel inside. Starting another relationship too soon could wreak havoc from day one because your new partner might feel the pressure to be responsible for painful emotions that were wounded by someone else from your past. You do not want a new love interest to feel as if they are walking on eggshells each time they are around you because you haven’t gotten over issues from the past yet. In other words, beginning to date again too early could create a “match made in hell” scenario. It really doesn’t matter who was at fault for the demise of your last relationship; unfortunately, you are responsible for your own brokenness either way. Placing that burden on another person is not only a bad idea, but could almost guarantee that you are setting yourself up for even more pain. Trust your instincts about how much time you need in order to heal before seeking a new relationship, and when you feel you’re ready to move on, try to take it slow.

 

Start Your Next Relationship with a Clean Slate

Lastly, when you do decide it’s time to date again and enter into your next relationship, try to leave issues from the past in the past. What this means realistically is that you need to have already gotten to a place of forgives towards your ex before you try to find love again, simply because if you don’t, your feelings of new love and past hate will most likely content with each other in your own heart. This could put your new partner in an awkward position, and keep you feeling held back even while you are trying to move forward. Forgiveness might take years to master, so try not to be too hard on yourself if you aren’t perfect. As long as you have formed the habit of trying to leave the past behind, you should be set for a bright future.