You would never set off on an arduous camping trip without tools, sleeping bag and first aid kit; nor would you travel to Europe without a suitcase with your necessities. It is equally important that you “pack” for your divorce, separation or co-parenting journey. As discussed in Part 1 of Create Your Rescue Pack, the best time to pack for this trip is when you are not in a state of distress or frustration. If you are in those places and do not have a RESCUE PACK, you will struggle to remember what helps to soothe you and return your equilibrium.
I am here to help you pack.
First, you need to BUILD YOUR SUPPORT TEAM. When you travel, you know who to meet or talk to at the next leg of your journey to get you to the next. As humans, we need connection to others and especially so during tough times. Sometimes we feel so beat down and exhausted that we crawl into a shell of isolation and then don’t know how to get out. You need to make a conscious effort to build your support team so that you have a list to call on those dark days.
- Friends ~ Start by making a list of friends with whom you can be “real” but who will not let you dwell on pointing your finger at others. These are the friends who will listen with compassion and then weave in jokes and levity to give your brain and heart a break. If you can’t come up with 3 names, then write 2 and if not 2 then 1. If you can’t come up with one name, then hire a therapist.
- Reach out to an elder, mentor or someone whom you admire and respect ~ Touch base and let this person know what you’re going through and ask if you may call on them periodically for support. Better yet, ask them to check-in on you ever so often. Make a list of these people with phone numbers and a big note that says “_________ (fill in their name) WANTS to support and comfort me!” When in distress, our self-esteem plummets and we feel that we don’t want to be a bother to someone. Be sure your RESCUE PACK has reminders that in the same way you want your friends to call when they need you, your Rescue Pack Support Team want to be there for you too!
- Find a Group of People who Share Your Passions/Interests ~ You cannot dwell on the divorce or separation all of the time and there is great value in participating in Group activities. These may include a spin class, a group to go target shooting with, a motorcycle group, scrapbooking group, take a class, etc. If you don’t know of any groups, check out www.MeetUp.com, see what groups your church or worship center has, or go online and type in the activity and your city to see if something shows up. You also can go to the local store that sells product related to your activity and ask if they know of any groups. If you think you don’t have time to do this, let me assure you that activities that feed your passions and your soul will energize you to take on the other tasks in your life. If you can’t find a babysitter, barter with another parent in your community to take one night a month babysitting each other’s kids. That other parent will appreciate the break too!
- Hire Professionals to help you ~ There are many professionals that you may not know exist. People often only think about hiring an attorney (which is very important, of course!), but other professionals are available. A certified Divorce Coach is trained to help you traverse the rocky emotional terrain. A Divorce Real Estate Expert has tools to help you sell a home with your ex to ensure your interests are protected. Divorce Real Estate Expert Laurel Starks has written a great book called “Divorcing the House” to help you navigate how to handle shared property. There are Certified Financial Divorce Experts who will help you compile a list of the Community Property, offer suggestions for division and help you develop a financial plan to move forward.
Check out Part 3 to learn what else to put in your Rescue Pack
For Your Consideration: Find a Furry Friend ~ There is power and peace in petting or cuddling with a dog or cat. They soothe us, ground us, and are loyal. Pets burgh their way into our souls and curl up in our hearts. It is no coincident that DOG is GOD spelled backwards. They love us with all of our defects and never judge. If you have time and space to care for a pet but don’t have one, I encourage you to adopt an animal from your local rescue organization or shelter. I used to work with a great small dog rescue which can be found at www.PardonMeInc.org, but there are hundreds of similar organizations for your consideration. A great place to start is www.PetFinder.com. As an aside, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are euthanized each year. There is no need to perpetuate the cycle of purposefully breeding and bringing new dogs into this world, when we have perfectly beautiful and sweet ones sitting lonely at the shelter. Please “Adopt – Don’t Shop.”