In the pursuit of wholeness and recovery after the divorce – maybe any divorce, but certainly a divorce from a homosexual husband – it is necessary we should pursue some adult-level pleasures:
1. Readers Digest has had it right, all those years: Laughter is the best medicine! Enjoy friends who make you laugh. Watch old comedies (for some reason, old comedies are much funnier than newer ones). I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Kathryn Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, Philadelphia Story, Holiday and Bringing Up Baby. And my first relationship after my divorce, I entered into simply because my friend made me laugh… and I realized after our first date that I’d nearly forgotten how to laugh.
2. As a reader posted in a comment, last night, Take up a new hobby. She mentioned learning a musical instrument; I already play a couple of instruments, and I can attest to the therapeutic value of music.
3. Dance! I took up contra dancing, learned to shag and swing. Wonderful activity and even more delightful social activity. One of the things I loved about contra dancing is that I could walk in the door by myself and dance every single dance of the evening, with a different partner each time – that’s one of the rules of the game. I’ve got a belly dance instructional DVD now – we’ll see how that goes.
4. Indulge in a “Gracious Lady Luncheon.” Put on your favorite dress and a hat and take yourself out to a “nice” place to eat. You know – the kind where the nice waitress comes and takes your order at your table and brings your food to you and clears away the plates when you’re done. Department stores used to have attached restaurants where customers could sit down for a nice meal; nowadays there are all sorts of little cafés and sandwich shops where the food is good and the ambiance charming.
5. I have go give Sarah Ban Breathnach credit for this one, from her book Simple Abundance*: create a scrapbook of things that you really love, using clippings from magazines, catalogs, etc. I was so confused by all the different messages I was processing about what I was supposed to like, do, be… this little exercise gave me a tangible means of sifting through all the data and discovering just what I, on my very own, like to surround myself with, wear, look at, do (flowers, the colors pink and red, dresses, antique hats, cats and dogs, roses, Chanel No. 5…)
6. Eat right and take your vitamins! — When we’re tired, physically or emotionally, and possibly depressed, it’s so easy to go to the “comfort foods,” and to eat in excess. Take up some culinary skills, go for good ingredients… but don’t just eat sandwiches because they’re easy and effortless.
As for vitamins, spend money and get good ones. The cheap ones don’t digest properly and aren’t absorbable in the bloodstream, so you’re literally flushing your money down the toilet by taking them. Try this: pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into a glass, and drop one of your current vitamins/supplements into the acid. Wait 15 minutes. If the vitamin is still sitting there, unchanged, then you’re not digesting the things. And if you don’t feel noticeably better in an hour or so after taking your vitamins, they aren’t being absorbed into your bloodstream. I’ve gotten very good results with vitamins from Nature’s Plus (from my local health food store) and from Melaleuca (direct purchase, membership required).
7. Fresh air and sunshine. You’d think that would be obvious, wouldn’t you? But when we’re even mildly depressed, it’s easy to hole up inside the house in artificially heated or cooled comfort. How long can you wait to turn on the a/c in the summer? Fresh air is so much healthier, so much more invigorating, than air conditioned air.
And you don’t want to court skin cancer by getting a suntan, but you do need a few minutes’ exposure to sunlight every day. Open the curtains and flood your home with natural sunlight. Go out early and walk around the yard – or walk late in the day to destress after work. Take up an outdoor hobby that gets you outdoors, regularly.
8. Writing in a journal can be a good way of recording the changes that are going on inside yourself and serve as a very good catharsis.
To be continued…
*Ban Breathnach, Sarah. Simple Abundance. New York: Time Warner, 1995.