I think the hardest part for me after the divorce was to find a way to fill my unexpected free time. Because when the kids see their dad occasionally, I am alone and I have nothing to do. I had lost some friendships once the word got out that we were separated/divorced because it’s just something that happens. For awhile there, I felt like the pariah because my marriage failed, but then I stopped that thinking because it was making me feel worse and really, it was just a story in my head.
I use the time alone for me time. It’s like a mini-vacation. I make sure that I don’t do anything that I don’t want to do. In other words, I don’t clean the house. I don’t do laundry. I don’t use it as a catch up day for stuff for the family that has fallen by the wayside. I GIFT MYSELF the time for ME! There’s plenty of time to catch up when they’re back in the house. The time alone is precious for me and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. And you should too!
So, here are some things that worked for me:
- I read books that I always wanted to read but never really had the time – self help, romance, summer beach reading. Anything that makes me smile and gets me away from that I’m alone feeling.
- I binge watched movies that made me cry, laugh and cheer when the main character succeeded. (I’ve written about some of them in my blog in case you’re interested). I don’t like to go to the movies alone so this is how I watch movies.
- I started taking bubble baths and pampering myself. Who’s going to see me with a gooey mask on and isn’t that good for wrinkles?
- I began writing a blog to reach out to other people and feel supported. Thank you to all of you who read, respond and support me with your advice and caring!
- I took walks in nature and learned to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.
- I wrote a list of pros and cons to divorce and came to the conclusion that I’m happier now without my former husband than I was when we were together at the end of the marriage.
- I began to meditate a little everyday and while I’m not a church goer, I still pray, so I use that time to listen to that inner voice that speaks to me.
- Occasionally I just go walk around Whole Foods to pass the time and to see what new and exciting foods there are to prepare.
- Sometimes, I pour a glass of wine and eat cheese, crackers and some prosciutto for dinner while I watch a good movie or TV series. I follow it up by microwaving a bag of popcorn all while in my comfy pajamas on the couch all by myself. What a treat!
- When I’m in the mood, I turn up the volume and sing to all the songs that I want because I’m alone in the house. Sometimes I even dance around because, Can’t that be called exercise? We did that when we took Jazzercise, didn’t we? LOL
- I call good friends and catch up with them.
- I window shop for exercise (you have to walk you know!) and smile at all the people. I’ve met some interesting people by getting out and doing this! You know, I’m just browsing.
- I’ve been looking into taking a class in the fall when the kids go back to school so that I can stretch my mind.
- I joined a few divorce support online groups. While I don’t really write too much, I can see how I’m not alone in all the fears, grief and in the similar situations overall which makes a difference.
- I’ve gone out to dinner more often with friends.
- I’ve met people for coffee or a drink to catch up which I never really did before when I was married because I always felt like I should be home with my husband and the kids. But when there’s nobody here but me, I can!
- I’ve been weeding out the surplus of stuff I had accumulated during the marriage and am letting go of what I had saved that is no longer relevant.
- I started CrossFit and stopped going. 😦
- I made a vision board and vision box (same thing, just one’s on poster board and the other’s in a box).
- I’m finally relaxing into having time to myself to relax, to not be rushing to put dinner on the table, to be attentive to everyone’s needs or to be scurrying to have everything perfect all the time. That was a huge plus, but also took me a long time to work into, but I’m glad I did!
- I’ve had friends over spontaneously for take out and we ended up having such a great girls night because my house didn’t have anyone else in it but me,o we could talk freely!
- I’ve made some good friends who I knew long ago, but we reconnected because we’re both divorced now. It’s nice to find someone to be a sounding board with because we need someone who gets it.
- I’m thinking of writing a book or maybe doing a class on how to get through divorce.
- I’d love to add an ASK JANIE section on my blog because even though I’m not a professional anything, sometimes we just need advice and maybe my words or thoughts would help someone else.
- I’ve decided to stop being afraid and live my life how and when I want it to be.
- I’m journaling to heal myself so that I can be a healthier happier me for my next chapter!
So what do you do to fill your free time?