Your divorce is over. You have separated your finances and divided the furniture. You are officially done with lawyers and judges and the whole divorce system. You know that it is time to let go of the past and start a new life (and just in case you forget, your friends and family seem only too happy to remind you of that fact). But after having been married for years, how are you supposed to build a new life after divorce?
The Usual Advice
Yes, you know you should be getting out more. Of course you could take up some hobby, or get more involved with your church or other organization. The problem is – you just don’t feel like it! Honestly, if one more person tells you to join a Meet Up group, or sign up for online dating, you’re going to scream!
Isn’t there some way you can start to build a new life after divorce that doesn’t involve pretending to have fun in a room full of strangers or spending hours sifting through online dating profiles of people you have no real desire to meet?
What No One Thinks About
Building a new life is a great idea, and there is no shortage of advice out there about how to do it. A 30 second Google search will provide you with ideas ranging from rediscovering who you used to be, to learning to let go of your past, to making the effort to make new friends.
All of that is great advice. But the one thing that most people forget about when they embark on their post-divorce life is their environment. Whether you ended up with the family home, or you are now taking up residence in a new (and probably tiny!) apartment, where you are living, what your place looks like, and how it makes you feel, are all critically important in building your new life.
The Effect of Your Environment on How You Feel
It’s no secret that our surroundings directly impact our mood. Ask anyone who has seasonal affective disorder (SAD) how they feel in the winter when the sun has not shone for days, and you will immediately understand just how important our environment is to us. Color psychologists tell us that color directly affects our mood, and architects have shown that the design of a hospital can play a critical role in patient outcomes, as well as staff effectiveness.
Whether we think about it or not, our homes have a huge impact on how we feel – and not just how we feel about our home itself. Our homes affect how we feel, period.
Changing Your Environment the Creative Way
After Alice (not her real name) went through a painful divorce, she found herself adrift and out of sorts. Her friend, Irena Feldman, an interior designer at DecArte: Design through Art, immediately stepped in . Irena said to Alice, “Okay, lets change everything so that you are not constantly reminded of your past.”
Alice didn’t have a lot of money, but by moving around furniture, painting walls, and adding art into the apartment, the two women changed the house completely. After they did, Alice’s life started changing as well. Eventually Alice met a wonderful man, who is now her husband.
Is Rearranging the Furniture a Dating Strategy?
Of course, redecorating your home does not guarantee that you will automatically find the relationship of your dreams. But changing how your home looks and feels can dramatically change how you feel. That, in turn, affects everything from how you feel, to how you see the world, and to how you show up in life (and how life shows up for you!).
Think about it: would you feel better if the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes in the morning was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or a wedding picture of you and your ex? While you may think that little things like that don’t matter, the truth is that it is always easier to get yourself into a positive mood if you are surrounded by things that make you feel good, rather than by things that make you feel bad.
Re-Design After Divorce
According to Irena, redesigning your home, especially after any major life transition, starts with a deep dive into yourself. What are your dreams? What do you want? What do you like? What kind of feeling do you want to create in your home? Do you want others in your home and in your life? If you do, then you need to design your home in a way that makes others feel welcome.
You don’t have to throw out everything you own and start again. You don’t have to spend a fortune. You can start with small changes, like rearranging the furniture or painting a room. What is important is that you start to design everything in your home to create balance and harmony. That positive energy will then affect you, and start to change how you see the world.
Redecorating Your Home Can Help You Build a New Life After Divorce
It seems terribly trite to think that redecorating your home alone can change your life. Obviously, there is much more to building a new life than moving around the furniture. But redesigning your home can be an excellent way to start your new life, especially if you do it the way Irena advises – by first discovering who you are, and who you want to be, then decorating you home in a way that helps you live your dreams, rather than deny them.