how to rebuild your life after divorce

How to Rebuild Your Life After Divorce: Practical Tips and Advice

How to Rebuild Your Life After Divorce: Practical Tips and Advice

By Frank Vendt |

Life changes after divorce. On the one hand, you have the freedom to begin anew. On the other hand, you have a lot of emotional processing to do. Letting go and moving on is easier and less painful when you have a plan. If you’re thinking things over, read our tips on how to rebuild your life after divorce.

Let your feelings out

Crying and releasing your feelings is cathartic. Confront your pain – even if it means crying for a few minutes every day – and release the burden in your heart until there’s none left. You’ll have peace of mind and enter a calm state that allows you to think with clarity.

When held in, pain can turn into depression or apathy. Not feeling anything is as bad as feeling hopeless all the time. It will force you into a rut for too long while your ex moves on, and your friends and families celebrate milestones.

Talk to a therapist

Getting therapy is one of the best things you can do after divorce. A therapist will help you work through your pain, impart coping skills, and teach you how to help your children. You’ll eventually learn to process and move past confusing and distressing feelings on your own.

After the frenzy of financial and legal activity, a therapist will help you unwind and find calm. You’ll find yourself reacting less and taking things as they come. Your instinct will be to balance emotional with rational, which will help you deal with any conflict that may arise later.

Get support from family and friends

Your tribe will be your biggest source of support during this time, so don’t cut off from them at any cost. They will help you accept your situation and give you the courage to chart a new life. A morale boost is especially important now when you don’t feel at your best 100% at work or in social situations.

Life is complex and we don’t always understand one another. If your family doesn’t support your divorce, build a family among people close to you. Join a support group to meet people going through a similar experience. They will give you hope and practical tips to cope with your situation.

Spend time on the things you love

Negative emotions tend to affect the physical self, distancing you from the things you normally love doing. You tell yourself you ‘don’t feel up to it’ and inevitably end up absorbed in your thoughts while the clock ticks away.

Instead, if you engaged in your favorite recreational activities, your brain floods with feel-good hormones and your body relaxes. Your stress dips and at the end of the day, you don’t have regrets about wasting your time doing nothing.

Work on your appearance 

People going through divorce generally lack the motivation and energy to pay attention to personal grooming. Stress and sleeping or eating poorly cause unintentional weight gain or loss. The attitude of ‘why bother?’ leads them to hang around most of the time in their PJs and go weeks without washing their hair.

If you feel awful, you don’t have to look awful. Get up and get moving. Eat healthy. Get adequate shuteye. It’s not about outward appearance only – treating your body well will make you feel good from the inside, which will reflect on the outside. Remember that self-neglect can become chronic, and lose you the respect of friends and colleagues, and the possibility of a new relationship.

Create a journal

If you wanted a simple and effective tip on how to rebuild your life after divorce, we’d say – start writing. Journalism has many benefits for mental health. It reduces anxiety, encourages awareness, regulates emotions, breaks the cycle of obsessive thinking, and boosts physical health.

A daily journal reflecting on your day will give you the opportunity to write every day and create a space from negative thoughts. You could note the day’s triumphs and challenges, and what you learned from them. Pen down 2-3 moments from the day you’d like to remember. Make note of an idea you’d like to explore further.

Don’t ruminate on the bad stuff

The opposite of healthy reflection in a journal is unhealthy rumination about the things that affected you most about your divorce, such as the child custody decision. Ruminating on the negative parts of the experience comes in the way of leading a full life, so you have to try your best to stop thinking about things you cannot change.

When you start to ruminate, distract yourself by doing a physical activity such as going for a walk, solving a puzzle, looking up funny memes, or listening to a podcast. Eventually though, you’ll have to let go of the negative emotions by working with a therapist and taking an active interest in rebuilding your life.

Become more financially savvy

Didn’t have to do the taxes or actively manage budgets and investments in your marriage? You may feel a bit intimidated when you need to take charge of your finances on your own post divorce. There’s tons of reliable advice online on budgeting and paying down debt. For tax filing and investment planning, do take the help of professionals to meet your obligations on time.

Use tools that make your job easier. An expense tracking app to track your expenses and avoid overspending. Online calculators to calculate investment returns. Reading the fine print to catch hidden fees. Talk to a financially savvy relative, friend, or colleague, note important points, and save them in the cloud for future reference.


If your marriage ended badly, it makes perfect sense to do away with belongings that have negative memories attached. Got your marital home? Remove home goods from the marriage if these physical remnants are painful to see or use.

Clutter has an impact on mental health. If you’ve stuff lying around that you no longer need, like unused clothes or old electronic devices, donate or dispose of them. You can also exchange or sell stuff to downsize and redecorate cost-effectively.

Some objects may have sentimental value and remind you of the important or good things in your marriage. Your tidy-out should include these items, especially if you suspect you’ll have a hard time letting go and healing.

Take a vacation

A vacation may not be on your mind after a divorce. But going on a solo trip after you’ve settled your lawyer’s bills and gotten used to managing your household comfortably without a partner can do you a world of good. A change of scenery will refresh and stimulate your mind. You’ll have the chance to reconnect with yourself and look at things anew.

Divorce can bring some unwelcome surprises. Mutual friends may prefer to invite your spouse to parties and ignore you. Some of your close relatives may judge you while others may sympathize more than you’re comfortable with. Being among new people is an opportunity to be valued for your personality without your marital status getting in the way.

Set goals

Think about what you want to achieve in your life and set goals for yourself. Consider how much time you want to spend waiting to enter into a new relationship. Review your professional goals to understand how your new situation changes things. Decide if you need to upskill to improve your financial position.

Remember that setting goals after a divorce is a process, and it may take time to figure out what you want to achieve. Be patient with yourself and celebrate each step along the way.

Create a new routine

Adjusting to a new routine is among the hardest things after a divorce. A quiet meal and an empty nest will feel strange and make you sad. Some people get a pet to ease the unfamiliarity of having the house to themselves. Taking care of a pet helps add structure and routine to life. A cuddly companion is great for mental health.

Developing a new routine that works for you can also involve trying new activities or spending time with different people. Start with simple things like spending half an hour each day at a coffee shop or the local library. If you enjoy performing, join a local theater or improv group. Experiment with different things to establish a routine that makes you happy.

Learn from the past

Reflect on what went wrong in your marriage and what you can do differently in your future relationships. Be honest with yourself about your role in the breakdown of your marriage. Identify the patterns of behavior that contributed to it. Think about what you could have done differently in your marriage. Use this knowledge to make positive changes in your life and future relationships.

Forgiveness is an important part of learning from the past. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you’ve made and your ex-spouse for theirs.

Take care of practical matters

Update your will, trust, power of attorney, and any other legal documents that list your ex-spouse as a beneficiary or decision-maker. Change the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Also, remove your ex-spouse from any joint accounts.

If you changed your name during your marriage, you may want to change it back. This will require updating your driver’s license, passport, and other identification documents. Taking care of practical matters can seem overwhelming but it’s important. Doing one thing at a time will help you move forward without any stress.

Focus on co-parenting

If you have children, knowing they’re easing into a new life will lessen your anxiety and give you confidence to plan how you want to lead your own. Creating a positive co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse is a good start.

Keep communication lines open with your ex-spouse about your children’s needs, schedules, and important events. Use a method of communication that works best for both of you, such as email or a co-parenting app.

Recognize that schedules and circumstances may change, and be willing to adjust your co-parenting plan as needed. Try to maintain consistent rules, expectations, and routines between both households to provide stability for your children.

Don’t let your career slip

Studies have found a correlation between divorce and a decline in performance at work. Once your divorce is finalized, you’ll have to manage your work and new family responsibilities. If you need to adjust your work schedule or workload, communicate with your employer. Explain your situation and ask for their support in finding a solution that works for both of you.

Make time for self-care, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends. Taking care of yourself can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. Seek support from family, friends, or a therapist to help you manage the emotional stress of a divorce and the demands of your career.

Avoid rebound relationships

After a divorce, it can be tempting to rush into a new relationship as a way to find comfort and companionship. However, it’s important to be cautious and take time to heal and reflect before making the jump. Or else you risk carrying emotional baggage into the new relationship.

Reflect on why you may be eager to move on – is it a way to distract yourself from the pain of the divorce? Distraction can be short-lived and lead to the same emotional pain in the long run. Give yourself time to fully adjust to being single again. Be honest about whether you’ve learned from your previous relationship and are confident of establishing a new, healthier relationship.

Set boundaries with casual partners 

Whether or not to engage in casual sex after a divorce is a personal decision that depends on individual circumstances and values. Some people may find that casual sex helps them feel liberated and empowered after a long-term relationship. Others may prefer to take time to heal and focus on other aspects of their life.

If you’re considering casual sex after a divorce, it’s important to be mindful of your emotional state and boundaries. Make sure you’re engaging in consensual activities with partners who respect your boundaries and don’t pressure you into anything you’re uncomfortable with.

Prioritize your sexual health by practicing safe sex and getting regular check-ups. And if you have children, consider how your actions may impact them and to have open and honest conversations with them as appropriate.

Be patient

Figuring out how to rebuild your life after divorce takes time. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.