Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Q. “I am challenged by wondering all the time about what my soon-to- be ex-spouse is thinking or doing, and most agonizingly sad, who is is with?

A. Separation and divorce is a bumpy road and it takes some time, dedicated effort and great tools to help get through to the other side. You are not alone is having part of your mind get on a frustrating hamster wheel of wondering about your ex. Our brain can get like a dog on a bone, chewing endlessly (often in the middle of the night) with a litany of questions like:

Is he as sad as I’m feeling?

Is he regretting his choices?

Is he healing faster than I am and what is wrong with me that I still feel grief?

Has he moved on in love, and who is he with? What is she like? How do I compare to her?

Divorce, even if you’re the one who initiated, is still a shock to your emotional system. The brain wants to make sense of it all, so it starts to seek and scan for answers. Our egos want to compare and judge – who is “winning the race” for getting through the pain and over the divorce first. It’s simply a natural way our sense of self-identity gets constructed.

It is important to realize excessive speculating and wondering is actually a distraction from your own healing journey. Here are some ways you can break the pattern and stop fixating on your ex….

Keep a journal and write out all the questions you have running around in your head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot of water releases the pressure, journaling your worry thoughts will help them to dissipate more quickly. You get to see your questions from a more objective perspective.

Sometimes we let our attention wander and get ourselves stuck in the past is because we don’t have a clear vision for our future after divorce. Do some work to help create your road map through your divorce. The award-winning Divorce Resource Kit to has questions, exercises and guided meditations that can help you chart your course for your future.

It’s also important to keep your focus on what you actually have control and influence over, such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Diverting your energy to anyone else instead of your own process of understanding the deeper spiritual lessons that are available through your divorce is a distraction. Take responsibility for what you can change and learn, and let the rest go.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis


Leadership: The One Person You Absolutely MUST Lead

Being a brilliant entrepreneur, a brilliant mom or a brilliant partner requires one thing. To succeed we need to be able to calls forth the best of ourselves every day and in every way.

As the leader of your life, there are so many people who look to you to take their cues: your clients, your children, your partner, your colleagues, and your neighbors. Mompreneurs in particular are often caught trying to find that elusive balance between work and family, between joyful creation and stressful chaos.

But the true test of leadership is this – are you practicing your own internal leadership? Would you be inspired, motivated and decide to follow yourself?

One of my teachers used to say that the first person you must learn to lead is yourself. Attending management courses and reading the very finest leadership literature is good, but the greatest arena for learning about powerful and lasting leadership is … within yourself.

Having a strong and resilient emotional foundation is a key ingredient to one’s success and impact. So I believe we must always be willing to do our own emotional homework to ensure that this internal foundation is strong enough to hold the business we desire.

Here are some tips to help you diagnose and up-level your self-leadership!

1.  Do an Integrity Check

Do a scan of your life to see if there are areas where what you are doing is different than what you are saying. Are there places where things feel out of integrity? Are you tolerating things that are incomplete? Are you walking your talk? It might be finishing up a product, making a call you’ve been avoiding, or letting clutter overwhelm your office. This scan will tell you where you have the opportunity to recommit to the leadership of your life. Write them down and come up with a plan to tackle these areas that are energetically eroding your leadership.

2.  Get in the Driver’s Seat

It’s tough to lead your life, let alone a business, if you allow other people to be in the driver’s seat. Self-leadership requires you to take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, you get to decide where you’re going, the route you’re going to take, and how fast you want to drive to get there. Yet sometimes we subtly concede that driver’s seat position to others – a spouse, our children, a business partner, a demanding client, or a parent, to name a few examples.

3. Perfection is Not Required, Shifting is

Don’t forget that we’re all human, and we definitely make mistakes. So even if you see there are areas where your ability to lead yourself isn’t what you want it to be, don’t despair! Perfection is not required in order to move forward to unleash your brilliance. Self-awareness and a consistent choice to shift out of limiting behaviors or patterns is. Being able to see what’s not working and shift it quickly, and with confidence, is critical so your true brilliance can shine brightly in the world. Learning to lead yourself with confidence and ease is the goal.

© 2011-2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

Stressed out? 5 Self-care Survival Strategies

Are you feeling stressed out? Isn’t this time of year when families and friends come together to celebrate special holidays and connect supposed to be a time of joy and peace? Then why are so many people out there feeling stressed out, short-tempered and run down?

A key ingredient for success is to make an unwavering commitment to your own self-care. Practicing meaningful self-care can be a hard challenge, especially for those of us who get so much joy and passion from offering our services and wisdom in a desire to make a difference in the world somehow.

I remember learning the lesson of taking self-care seriously when I was going through my divorce years ago. I realized that ignoring my needs and pushing myself to my limits wasn’t helping me make clear decisions for my future and for being the mom I wanted to be for my three children. In my award-winning book, The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce, I coined this phenomenon “going for the martyr medal.” You get so preoccupied and consumed with making sure everyone else is taken care of first, that your own needs fall by the wayside.

If you are trying to capture a medal for being a self-sacrificing martyr, I have some news for you. There are no medals for martyrs. The International Olympic Committee is not adding it to their event list anytime soon. Nobody, particularly your children, will come to you at some point in the future and say, “I appreciate how much you sacrificed your own health and well-being for us – and how you let us know about it all along the way!”

Your commitment to self-care is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself – and your children. Here are some strategies to get you started.

1. Give Yourself Five Minutes a Day
Self-care doesn’t have to be big, fancy, expensive or time-consuming. Carve out at least 5 minutes a day to breathe, become still, let yourself daydream or sing along to your favorite tune. Imagine that each breath you take is refueling and grounding you.

2. Find Emotional Support
It’s always great to ensure you have the support of like-minded and like-spirited friends. If you hit a bump in the road, draw upon your support network. If the challenge you face is particularly tough, like going through a divorce, a downsizing or health issue, tap into people who have specialized experience in that area. Getting strong emotional support structures in place upfront will save you time and heartache in your healing journey.

3. Delegate as Much as Possible
When you’re feeling stress, stop and assess everything you have piled on your plate. Are there any responsibilities you have now that you can delegate or defer to someone else so you can give yourself some time off? Bulk up your babysitters and repair person lists. Make progress, not perfection, your goal.

4. Appreciate Yourself
A big reason people become self-sacrificing martyrs is because they are really seeking acknowledgement and appreciation. There is a much more reliable way to get that 24/7 which is by acknowledging yourself. Celebrate each and every accomplishment, new insight and decision you make. Writing them down in a self-appreciation journal will help make your progress more tangible and clear.

5. Be a Role Model for Your Children
Parents under stress often make the mistake of trying to keep a stiff upper lip around their children. Yet parents are powerful role models for their children. Children experience stress too. Remember, they will do what you do, not what you say.

Help build some healthy habits by teaching your children how to manage their own stress. You can start by naming the feelings you’re having. Share that “Mommy is feeling overloaded right now.” Next, ask yourself what you need to do in that moment to take care of yourself. Demonstrate this with your children by saying “Daddy needs to take a five minute break to collect my thoughts.” Taking responsibility for your feelings and your self-care is a powerful legacy to leave your children.

© 2010 Carolyn B. Ellis

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Success Strategist, coach and best-selling author, Carolyn B. Ellis, is the founder of ThrivePrinciples.com, empowering you to thrive no matter what your outside circumstances are. To get free tips on turning adversity into opportunity in order to improve your relationships, increase your self-confidence and reach your highest potential, visit www.ThrivePrinciples.com.

The Year of….

Setting a theme for your year can be fun and a very useful strategy to your success this year. Each holiday season for at least the past 20 years, I’ve carefully selected my theme, and this year was no exception. In a minute, I’ll share it with you. (I’m so excited about it I can barely keep myself from spilling it to you now!)

But first, here are a few pointers to selecting a good theme and then some examples from my own life about how to make a theme work for you.

Your theme:

• Will serve you best when it comes from your big picture and vision
• Should excite or inspire you
• Should stretch you
• Should be kept to a simple, memorable phrase

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Can You Take Your Own Advice?

It never ceases to amaze me how wise and insightful people can be when it comes to telling other people how they should solve their problems. Yet when it comes to figuring out solutions to our own problems, we may muddle around in confusion and indecision.

Let me give you an example. I was working with a new coaching client recently who was feeling overwhelmed. Work was unsatisfying, her children were acting up and the dynamics with her ex-spouse weren’t great. She felt unfocused and her self-confidence was plummeting quickly.

I asked her what she would tell a good friend to do if she was in a similar situation. She took a moment to consider what advice she would offer a friend, and quickly came up with the following. “I’d tell her to take first things first. She’s not getting enough sleep, so she needs to take better care of her physical health so she can think better and lower her stress level. Next, I’d Continue reading

Rejuvenating Your Energy Levels Post Divorce

Q. “How do I meet all of the needs of my children? Sometimes I have so little energy left that I don’t know how to do it all.”

A. The most important strategy I would recommend for you is to become ferociously committed to your self-care. Make your highest priority to nurture, love and care for yourself. Self-care will help to refuel your batteries which are being so significantly taxed right now, leaving you with little energy to be able to care for your children, let alone have the emotional bandwidth to make some of the important decisions you’ll need to make as you proceed in your divorce.

You sound overwhelmed at the thought of “how to do it all” so I would ask you to look at what exactly the “all” is. Write out a list …. Continue reading

Quit Playing the People Pleasing Game

Q. “My challenge is taking care of myself first, which I’m not used to doing. My kids are doing fine, but I’m a people pleaser and tend to take care of others.”

A. I am so glad you realize the importance of putting yourself back on your priority list, right at the top! It might feel uncomfortable to do because most of us were raised with the idea that being selfless is a virtue, even if it comes at the expense of our personal exhaustion or self-worth. This is Pitfall #4 “Going for the Martyr Medal” that I explain in my award-winning book, The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce. But unless you take care of yourself, you cannot really “take care” of anyone else.

Realize that there are no winners when you play the people pleasing game. You lose because … Continue reading