When people fall in love and get married, the last thing they think about is filing for divorce at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can change. From having to make big life decisions to deciding on whether to have kids or not, marriages can go through trying times that can make or break a couple. After a break down of a marriage, a legal separation or divorce is usually the next step. Divorce, the dissolution of a legal marriage, can leave the parties feeling like they’ve not only lost a major part of their life, but a loss of identity as well. If you’ve recently gone through the loss of a marriage, here are 5 ways to find your identity and rebuild your life after your divorce

Let yourself grieve: It’s normal to feel sad about this chapter of your life ending, even if you’re the one who initiated it. You’ve just closed a major chapter of your life and are unsure of what’s next. Take time to wallow in your feelings and really experience them instead of trying to bury them. You need to go through to grow through.

Lean on your inner circle: Surround yourself with your biggest supporters. Whether it’s your close knit family, your best friends or a divorce support group, it’s important to be around people who care about you. It’s common to want to be alone after this major life change and that’s ok. But don’t completely shut everyone out. Sometimes something as simple as taking a walk with a friend or seeing a movie with a loved one can help take your mind off of reality for a few hours.

Seek professional help: According to an Indianapolis divorce attorney, “divorces can have an immediate, lasting emotional and mental impact on your and your family.” There is a reason divorce counselors and therapists are available. Divorce can be really hard on a person, not only financially but mentally as well. Take advantage of the resources available to you and seek out a therapist in your area who specializes in divorce. If you find that therapy isn’t helpful, contact your primary care doctor to discuss other options.

Rediscover your old self: In all relationships, people tend to lose a part of themselves while getting to know their new partner. From watching different movies to trying out different activities, it can be easy to put the things you enjoy aside for the one you love. Remember the things that brought you joy and seek those out. Whether it’s wearing your hair a certain way or taking art classes, spend your time doing the things you love! After all, this is your time.

Look ahead: The future is a blank slate and you’re the one holding the paintbrush. Find things to look forward to whether it’s a trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or finding love again. The future is what you make of it. You’ve made it through the hard part, now it’s time to enjoy your life with clear eyes and a full heart. Using a gratitude journal can be extremely helpful to live in the now and plan for the future.

Divorce can be life shattering, but it’s up to you to figure out what to do with the pieces. Take time to reflect on what caused the divorce and look forward to what’s to come. Don’t just survive, take this time to thrive!

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