10 Ways to Reduce Stress During Separation

Stress during a separation is generally inevitable, BUT it does not have to take over you and your life. Whether your separation is amicable or not, there will be aspects that cause you stress. Knowing this is the case, you can be prepared! Here are 10 ways to reduce stress during your separation. 

  1. Know that it is OK to have different feelings at different times. Sometimes feelings creep up on us and when we fight them we create stress. Take time to honor whatever feelings come up.
  2. Look for support. Find support in family and friends, those who love and care about you. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you, who you can talk to about the feelings that come up, who support you.
  3. Give yourself a break. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in life and beat yourself up over everything. DON’T! Spend your time doing something else. 
  4. Prioritize. Make lists of what needs to be done and what is the most important. Break things down to step by step so that each task feels more attainable. 
  5. Set aside time for yourself. It is so important to refocus, ground yourself, and prioritize yourself. Spend time giving yourself what you need and filling up your bucket. 
  6. Declutter. What better time to get rid of all that stuff that you haven’t looked at or touched in over a year? 
  7. Look into some personal development. Read books that intrigue you, listen to podcasts, find Youtube videos. Personal development can really help to empower and help you to move forward. Find someone who speaks to you and tackle it. 
  8. Spend time with your children. Instead of planning dates with your ex, plan them with your children.  
  9. Take care of yourself physically. Eat well, exercise, meditate, sleep, whatever you need to do to take care of your mind, body, and soul. 
  10. Let go of control. Know that you can’t control everything and that is ok. Stay focused on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. There is no sense in worrying about things that are out of your control. 

Remember that stress affects many aspects of your life, and especially if you children, the best thing you can do is be the best you. 

If you are struggling with the effects and stress of divorce, please reach out, we have many professionals who are available to help you in various capacities. 


Love Yourself First

Valentine’s day is one of those days… you either hate it, or you love it. When you have ended a relationship, Valentine’s Day can bring out the bitterness in you. 

Remember though, the most important person to love first is yourself. Here is an idea, treat yourself to your dream Valentine’s day. Whether that is a wine and dine, or a romantic staycation, or a night in with your favourite foods. Give yourself everything you have always wanted from someone else on Valentine’s day. Light the candles. Get the flowers. Do you! Here are some great self care ideas for this day of self love:

  1. Take yourself out- Try that restaurant you have been wanting to go to. Go to that movie, try that dance class. Whatever it is...just do it!
  2. Take your kids out for a date. If you have children, plan a special date with them. 
  3. Give yourself the best night in imaginable. Take a bath with salt and candles. Make the most delicious dinner (or order in). Watch any movie you want. Eat the desert. Do whatever you want!
  4. Work on your goals. What better way to focus on yourself then to work towards the goals you have set. Use this time to focus on building the life you want and push for it. 
  5. Plan a night with your friends. Have drinks, do a potluck, go to a movie, hit the bar. Surround yourself with people that lift you up and set you free. 
  6. Crank up the music and have a dance party. Listen to whatever you want and dance the night away, or sing your heart out. 
  7. Make no plans and go with the flow. Ask yourself, “what do I want to do right now?” and do it. Once you’ve done that repeat! 
  8. Center yourself and find your peacefulness. Meditate or go to yoga. Take a walk or spend time in nature. Whatever works to ground yourself. Do that!

 

Valentine’s day shouldn’t just be about celebrating the traditional relationships, it should be about celebrating all relationships and that includes the relationship with yourself. If you can’t date yourself, spoil yourself, pamper yourself, and show yourself love, then how can you expect anyone else to? 

 

So, make this Valentine’s day everything you hoped it would be.


Birdnesting and divorce.... Pros and Cons

What is nesting? Great questions?!? NBC News (https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/birdnesting-gives-kids-one-stable-home-after-divorce-does-it-ncna935336) defines it as “for some divorcing or divorced parents, the answer is 'nesting' (also called 'birdnesting'). This means to keep the family residence intact as a home where both parents rotate living with their children, while otherwise dwelling in separate residences”

Essentially what this means is that instead of the children going from each parent’s house the children remain in the family home while each parent rotates in and out of the house based on an agreed upon schedule. For example, many parents follow a 2-2-3 schedule where one parent would be with the children in the family home for 2 days while the other parent resides in their own place and then they alternate. 

Pros and cons of nesting arrangements

Pros

Financial- Nesting can help to say a lot money during and after the separation. Mostly because it allows you each time to make informed decisions without having to move quickly. This may allow the housing market to rise, or allow for more house shopping time. 

Emotional- This is a great option for the children. Because the children don’t have to move and lose their family home there is much less disruption to their lives. The children don’t have to go from living in one home to living in two and shuffling back and forth. Also, it allows for everyone to have some time to adjust without having to pack everything up. Nesting is a slower transition which allows you time to let go and come to terms with your new circumstances. 

Cons

Blurred lines- When you split everything and go your separate ways everything is finalized. When you are nesting, you are sharing financial responsibilities and that sometimes can cause lines to be blurred. There is no clean break. 

Emotional- This somewhat ties into the blurred lines. There is no clean break, or leaving your ex in the dust with this option. There are many reminders in the family home of what was before. Although it may be what is most comfortable for the children it may not be what is most comfortable for you. In addition, it is very difficult to keep your lives separate when you are consistently sharing a space. 

The decision to go with a nesting arrangement should be discussed at length. Your mediator should walk you through it and assist you is negotiating all aspects of the arrangement down to what will happen when one of you wants to terminate the arrangement. It is imperative that you are prepared for all aspects of nesting to make an informed decision moving forward with your separation. 

If you have questions about nesting and whether or not it is for you, one of our mediators would be happy to meet with you. Book your consultation today!


Child Centered Divorce: What does it mean, and how to do it.

It’s always out there when you read about separation and divorce, “child centered”. What does that even mean? Of course our children are one of the most important topics when dealing with separation and divorce, but what does child centered even mean and how do you know if you are doing it in a way that IS child centered?

 

Let’s start with what it is. The dictionary defines child centered as giving priority to the interests and need of children. A child centered approach to separation and divorce is when the focus of the negotiations and the process is moved from legal rights, finances, and individual protection and gain to the putting the children’s needs and best interests at the forefront. Although it is important that you know your rights and that you protect yourself in the separation process, it should not be done at the expense of your children. A child centered separation focuses primarily on how this process is affecting the children involved and what plan of action could be taken to alleviate as much tension, stress, drama, and chaos as possible. 

 

Over time research has shown that it is not necessarily the divorce that causes long term emotional and psychological effects on children, but how that divorce is handled. The more anger, arguing, and chaos in involved in the separation, the higher the likelihood that a child will suffer emotionally. 

 

The next question. How do we know if our approach is child centered? Well, are you constantly arguing with your ex? Are you more worried about how much money you are getting, or about proving how awful a parent your ex is? Are you battling with lawyers in and out of a courtroom? Are you constantly defending yourself and trying to prove a point, or prove how wront your ex is, or continuing hostility because of emotion rather than fact? If you answered yes to any of these questions then our guess would be that your approach is not child centered. 

 

None of what was described above is in the children;s best interest. The moment it becomes about YOU it is no longer about THEM. 

 

What that being said, how do we go about our separation in a child centered way? Mediation is generally the best option in keeping a separation child centered. Your mediator's focus SHOULD be primarily on what is in the best interest of the children which also includes setting you both up for success. When making decisions it is important to always keep this question at the front of your mind: How will this affect my children?  

 

Here are 5 tips to keeping your separation child centered:

  1. Keep it all factual- the moment you enter your feelings there is a chance that you are making it about you.
  2. Ask yourself, how will this decision affect my children now or in the future?
  3. Don’t argue over every small detail of the parenting plan. Let’s keep it real, so much will change over time with your children growing up that arguing about every small detail in the parenting RIGHT NOW is a waste of time and money when some of these arrangements can change within the next 6 months to a year depending on the age of your children. 
  4. Look to your mediator for direction. Although they cannot give you legal advice, they can assist you in making decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Remember, your mediator is not emotionally involved in all of this the way you are, therefore they will remain more objective. 
  5. Put yourself in your children’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective. 

 

If you have any questions about whether or not you are taking a child centered approach, contact us today, we would love to help! 


New Year New You? Setting Goals and moving forward in the new year after divorce.

With all of this New Year, New You chatter, reach for the stars make 2020 your year! It is hard to take it all in when you are struggling. The New Year after divorce can be so difficult. Your first New Years alone… what do you do? This may be the first year you celebrate alone, as a single person. It may be the first where you don’t feel festive or celebratory. It may be the first year where you want to unleash and get wild. Whatever it may be, that’s OK. BUT, if you are more on the side of struggling and withdrawing, here are some great suggestions for how to make it through and come out the other side with a fuller heart and a little more power. 

 

  1. DO what YOU WANT to do. It is so easy to get roped  into stuff that you don’t actually want to do. Friends suggest you get out and YOLO, family suggests you come over for a quiet dinner, kids want to have a sleepover and a party. Whatever the case may be, DO YOU. It is so important to take care of yourself during this time, regardless of what others are suggesting you should do. 
  2. Plan ahead. A lot of the times, with the Holiday hustle bustle you forget to think ahead and pre plan for feelings. By doing this you can think about what you may be feeling and make the necessary plans or arrangements to deal with those feelings with the time and attention that they require. 
  3. Set goals. Create your vision. This is so IMPORTANT! The feelings and emotions that come along with this time of the year, especially the first year after divorce, can be so unmotivating. Where do you even start? Here is a step by step approach to starting to create you vision and your goals.
    1. Sit in a quote space with a notebook and visualize the best version of you. What do you look like, who is around you, where are you, what are you dressed like, what do you behave like, who loves you, who do you love back, how much money are you making (or not), how do you live how do you treat yourself and others, what kind of mother/father are you, what is your relationship like with the people you love, how do you behave so have those relationships, who are you in those relationships, what is your vibe, how do you take care of yourself… These are all examples of the details for your vision. Once you have your visions write it all down in your notebook. It can be in sentences or point form, whatever works for you.
    2. Break down that vision into 10 dreams. What 10 dreams need to come true for for that vision to be a reality? 
    3. From those 10 dreams and break them down into 1 goals. What can you do today to get started?  **If you would like to have more information about this, look into Rachel Hollis’ Start Today Journal. 
  4. Once you have your dreams and visions, create a vision board. This is a create way to spend time in silence, or listening to music while getting those creative juices flowing. The end result is a great visual that you can look at every day to remind yourself of where you are heading. 
  5. Create momentum just by starting. Starting can usually be the hardest part about all of this. Once you have your first goal, do whatever you need to do to just start. 

Hopefully these suggestions can help with the New Year, New You craze of the beginning of a new year, and new decade.


Making It Through Your First Round of Holidays

The first year is always the hardest because it is filled with so many firsts. First birthdays without your ex. First kids birthdays, first Valentine's day being single. First Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas alone or shuttling children back and forth. At some point, during your first year, you find yourself alone in a house,  that is used to all of the hustle bustle. That’s ok! It will be hard, but it can also be liberating and self empowering. 

Here are 11 ideas of how to change your loneliness into self love, you’re quiet into self reflection, and your stillness into power. 

 

  1. Switch perspectives. It is hard when you find yourself alone in stillness not to fall into the trap of the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve spiral. This is not a time to rehash the past but to look to your future. Step out of the negativity and move your thoughts towards something more positive. 
  2. Listen to music that you love. Music changes vibes, and there is nothing else like it when you are home alone and cranking some jams and singing or dancing your heart out. 
  3. Cook. Cook or bake, make whatever you love. This isn’t about over indulging it’s about creating and using your time to experiment in the kitchen and try new recipes. 
  4. Read. There are so many good books out there that help to move you towards self empowerment. Pick one up, put some relaxing tunes on, make yourself a meal, and read. Highlight what jumps out at you. Journal as you about your thoughts and feelings. 
  5. Relax. Do whatever it is that you LOVE to do to relax. Whether that be yoga, taking a bath, getting a massage, going for a run, hitting the gym, pampering yourself with a face mask and a hair mask. Whatever it is that totally relaxes you, plan a whole day of just that.
  6. Surround yourself with people who love you. If you are not ready to be fully alone without finding yourself deep in your feelings and emotions, THAT’S OK! Reach out for help from your tribe. Make plans to go for dinner, have a movie night, have friends over to bake or cook, hold a potluck. Whatever you enjoy doing with the people you love, DO IT!
  7. Be selfish. Being viewed as selfish generally has a negative context, but it doesn’t always have to be. This is a difficult time for you and you have every right to take care of yourself, whatever that means. It is not selfish to take care of your mind, body, and soul. So do that! 
  8. Honor where you are and what you are feeling. Emotions that go along with divorce are generally not pleasant emotions that we seek to keep around. In order to pass though these feelings and emotions you must honor them, sit with them, feel them, and come to terms with them. Journalling, talking, and expressing your feelings and emotions is the best way to pass through them and come out of the other side. 
  9. Get creative. Creativity brings out another side of us that grounds us within ourselves. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could be creating a vision board, planning a paint night, participating in arts and crafts, baking, cooking, writing, drawing, making music. Anything that gets the creative juices flowing and your hands/feet moving. 
  10. Get active. It is no secret that movement changes how we feel. Boost those endorphins, move for 30 minutes. Dance, hike, swim, lift weights, do yoga, kickboxing, anything that gets your body moving. 
  11. Build new traditions. This is a great one! Get creative, this is your chance to create any traditions that you want. All of those things that you thought, “mmm I would love to do that with my family”,  or “wow I love that idea”. DO IT! Not only does it help you to move forward and focus on the positives, but it also benefits the children. Win, win!

 

These are just examples of what can help those firsts transform and propel you forward into your new way of living. If you are still struggling with your separation we are here to help. Never forget that reaching out when you are in need is a very courageous thing to do and we are always here to listen. We have services that can assist you in any stage of your struggle. Try some of these suggestions our and let us know what you think :) Click here to contact us!

 

 


What you need to know about Consultations with Clarity Divorce Centre

What happens in a Consultation at Clarity?

Your consultation is an important part of the process. This is where you get the opportunity to sit one-on-one with one of our Mediators to discuss your current situation, what is going on, and what you are looking to achieve. You can come in for a consultation for many reasons such as:

  • Starting the mediation process: At Clarity, the beginning of mediation starts with the consultations. Each party involved in the mediation is given the opportunity to me
  • To find out if mediation is for you: If you are unsure if separation with the right step for you, or you are unsure if mediation with the right road to take, then meeting with one of our mediators is the best first step! They will be able to answer all your questions and help to establish a clear path moving forward.

The best part about the consultation is that it is your own time to meet with a professional and discuss everything that you are going through so that WE can best help YOU.

 

What you need to know about the consultation:

  1. They are generally an hour long.
  2. We have daytime and evenings available.
  3. We have two locations- One in the East end on Canotek Road and one in the West end in Kanata.
  4. We accept all forms of payment except for American Express.
  5. We CANNOT provide you with legal advice, but we can direct you to lawyers in our network who can.
  6. We can help you to come up with a clear roadmap on moving forward.
  7. You do no need to bring anything with you as this is more of a discovery meeting, but if you have your financials handy then you are more than welcome to bring them.
  8. We do not have long wait times and can get you in pretty quickly depending on what time of the year it is.
  9. We do ask for 24 hour notice if you cannot make it to your appointment.
  10. A consultation with one of our mediators can save you money and set you up for a much more successful, faster, less emotionally strenuous separation.

Click here or call 343-887-5053 to book your consultation today!


Divorce...How Do I Tell The Kids?

A couple having a "the talk" with their son.

A divorce can be a difficult time for any family, but communication is important. The children need to understand that they aren’t responsible for what is taking place. They also need to realize that both parents love them and want to be a part of their lives. This can help children to deal with the many changes that will take place with a divorce.

It is a good idea for the parents to sit down with the children to discuss the issue of divorce. Some parents choose to do this with all of the children at one time. Others find it is better to do so with each child one at a time. This is often due to age differences as well as the individual personalities of each child.

The responsibility of telling the children about the divorce should never fall on the shoulders of only one parent. A united front needs to be displayed from the start of it. The children will feel more secure hearing the information from both of their parents rather than just one of them.

The children don’t need to know all of the details of why the parents are divorcing. It shouldn’t turn into a blame game where each of the parents tries to get the children to take their side in the matter. What they do need to know is that their parents won’t be staying together and how that is going to affect them.

Give children time to take in the information that is taking place. Even though they likely have an idea that things aren’t going well in the home, they may be shocked by the idea of a divorce. Let them know they can come to either parent with questions that they may have about it.

It can be a good idea to have another meeting with both parents and all the children or each child one on one a couple of weeks later. That will give the children some time to deal with their thoughts about the divorce. They may be more ready to talk about it now than they were when you first told them about it.

Be ready to offer your children more support during the divorce process. Some children act out in anger because of it. Others many become withdrawn due to their emotions. It is important that their needs are addresses as too many parents are too wrapped up in their own feelings over a divorce to provide their children with the support they need.

Older children may press for more information as to why the divorce is taking place. Parents need to have a plan of action as to how they will handle such questions. If one of the adults has been having an affair you may decide it is best not to disclose that information to the children. This is a personal choice that you need to make before you sit down to talk about the divorce with the children though.

Parents need to come to terms with the concepts of the divorce before the children are approached though. The children need to be reassured that they will be fine through all of it. That can’t happen if they get the impression that their parents aren’t okay with what is going to be taking place.

Try to share some basic plans with the children as well. For example you need to tell them what the living arrangements will be. You also need to let them know when the changes will be taking place. This way they can start to prepare for what is ahead of them.

When children are involved in what is going on with a divorce they tend to deal with it better. They don’t feel like they are just being thrown into the middle of what is going on. A divorce is never easy for anyone, especially when children are involved. Yet it can be a process everyone gets through if you are willing to put your differences aside and work together to come up with a good solution for everyone.

Here are a few more tips for when you are talking to your children:

  • Remember that more times than not, this is not their choice.
    Age appropriate honesty is always the best way to go. Answer their questions as direct as possible.
  • Keep your emotions and opinions about the situation to yourself. Many times children will not want to upset anyone and therefore will not share their feelings or thoughts to avoid affecting how their parents feel.
  • Have a plan. Know what you are going to say. Explain to your children what will happen and how it will happen. Children are often affected by the "unknown" so the more you can alleviate that then better. If there will be a new schedule tell them what that is. If they are moving explain to them what will happen.
  • Allow them to have their feelings about it. It is uncomfortable to see your children sad, angry, hurt, confused, or upset, but they need to be free to experience their feelings and honor their feelings.

Coping With Divorce When Children Are Involved

A divorce is a life changing decision made when a marriage has fallen apart. When a couple has children, it can be a million times more complicated. If they are very young, they may not understand why one parent has moved out and is suddenly not in the picture on a daily basis.

If they are a bit older, they may feel that the situation is their fault. It is important that you handle these circumstances carefully in order to make it as easy as possible for your children to adjust to live after a divorce.

The first thing you want to do is sit down and discuss the situation with your children. It is best for both parents to be present during this conversation. This allows your kids to see that there are no hard feelings between the two of you, and that life will be okay with one parent living elsewhere.

Explain that the decision was made between you and the other parent, and that the children had nothing to do with it. Leave out any negative information, and avoid pointing fingers or arguing with your ex-spouse in front of the children.

During this conversation, you must also make the children understand that the divorce was not their fault. Children may not see the bad things going on in their parent’s relationship, so they naturally assume that they are the cause for the separation.

They think if they had behaved better that their parents would still be together. You must not let them take the blame. They need to know that they were not even a slight part of the reason that you and your ex have decided to end the marriage.

Since child custody arrangements will need to be made, you will need to keep your relationship with your ex-spouse civilized. This is not just for your children’s sake, but it will also make things run smoothly in the situation of visitation, holidays, and other situations that arise regarding the custody the two of you share.

Your children should never see the two of you argue, call each other names, or anything else that could make them feel bad. Also, avoid making your children the messengers between you and your ex-spouse.

Competition between parents is very unhealthy, for both the adults and the children. Trying to be your children’s favorite will do nothing for you in the long run. All it will do is tear your children apart. There will be a great deal of stress placed on the kids if they are forced to choose their favorite parent. This is completely unnecessary, and no child should have to be faced with such a decision.

Here are a few more tips to coping with divorce when children are involved:

  • Be kind to yourself, beating yourself up serves no one and your children are watching.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Being a single parent is not easy, therefore rely on friends and family to help you when you need it.
  • Make sure that you take some time for your own self care because this is important. Divorce is an emotional roller coaster for you and your children and they need you to try to be the nest you can be for them.
  •  

Taking Care of Your Children After Divorce

It can be scary to think about how you will take care of your children after a divorce. There are going to be many changes on the horizon for everyone to deal with. Yet you need to be confident that you can take care of them. Even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support you can do it. Taking care of your own needs is vital as you can’t successfully care for your children if you aren’t okay yourself.

Don’t be too stubborn to take advantage of the help that is offered. Ask for what you need from those that do offer to be there for you. It may be someone to listen to you or to care for your children for a few hours. You may need to seek professional assistance to help you with your emotions. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling for all of you if you feel it could be beneficial.

Establishing a solid budget for the new family structure is important as well. You need to know you will be able to keep a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on the table. Cutting out unnecessary expenses is going to have to be part of the plan for most people that have just been divorced. In time your finances should improve and you will be able to add in some comforts again for everyone to enjoy.

Some parents worry that their children are going to miss out on material things due to the financial changes a divorce can bring. While it may take the entire family some time to adjust to such changes, everyone will be just fine. The truth is that as long as their basic needs are being met they will get by. In fact, it may serve as a lesson that teaches them to appreciate what they do have.

Think of cost effective things you can do as a family. You may spend the afternoon at the park or going for a walk. Play board games or watch a movie together. When money is tight you can all do things that allow you more time to bond instead of being an additional expense for the family.

Communication is very important when it comes to caring for your children after a divorce. Make sure your children feel safe enough to come to you to talk. If you break down in tears every time the subject of the divorce comes up, they will clam up. While you may get emotional during the discussions you have to be strong. If you are positive about everything turning out fine they will believe in it as well.

Be as honest as you can about what took place and why. Children will have various questions about the divorce. Some what to know why it happened overall such as why the family had to deal with it. Others want to know the specific reasons why their parents aren’t together. Make sure you fully understand what your child is really asking before you start to answer.

You do need to do your very best to get along with the other parent. You want to make it possible for both of you to take care of the children. In fact, their support can help you to have the personal time you need. They may be willing to assist you financially as well if you are struggling to make ends meet.

It can be hard to take care of your children after a divorce. Yet many parents will tell you that is all that got them through such a difficult time in their lives. They focused on being strong for their children and there were days that got them out of bed. It can be hard to go from a two parent household to one, but many people are successfully doing just that every day.