11 Ways to Jumpstart the Recovery of Your Divorce

05/12/2015 01:36 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2016

This heartbreaking comment was posted on Divorced Girl Smiling:

I promised to love, honor and cherish him forever & I didn't break a promise. I would do anything for my life to rewind 4 months & for this to not be happening. I don't understand nor can I believe that this is my life now; that my husband left me & I'm all alone. We were together for 14 years since we were 16. How could he do this? It just feels like it all meant nothing to him when it meant everything to me. I just don't know how I'll ever recover.

When a spouse leaves, it can seem almost impossible to imagine being happy again someday. In this woman's case, her husband has taken her youth and your innocence, and she really doesn't know what life is like without him. It's very traumatizing and will have an affect on her forever.

That said, here is the good news. I know countless men and women whose spouses left them and every single one of them falls madly in love again at some point. It is a certainty. (Unless they play the victim and focus on being bitter and angry about their ex.) This doesn't mean they are recovered, but dating and being capable of new relationships is part of the healing process.

I believe that recovery from divorce is immanent. How does one recover and how long does it take to recover? It's different for everyone. People recover in different ways, and recovering takes some time. It doesn't happen overnight.

The beginning stages of a divorce are the roughest. So, here are 11 things you can do that will give you a good jumpstart on recovering from your divorce:

1. Join a gym. Please don't roll your eyes. You need the release of endorphins, and the hundreds of other mental benefits that result from both cardio and weight training.

2. Start doing yoga. It will teach your breathing techniques and give you a sense of peace and tranquility during those times when your mind wanders to a bad place.

3. Connect with girlfriends. You need your girls right now! Make lots of coffee walking or shopping dates.

4. Get into reading. There is nothing better than a great book to take your mind off of your own problems. It doesn't even matter what genre it is, reading not only makes you smarter, but gives you new appreciation for a larger world, not just your own.

5. Find your faith. I'm not saying you have to rush to church or synagogue, but talking to God and having faith is a very soothing way to cope with divorce. He is listening.

6. Avoid alcohol. It will intensify strong emotions of anger, sadness and hopelessness.

7. Be open to meeting men, even if it's just as friends. Try to remember that not all men leave. There are some really good ones out there.

8. Follow your passion. Do what you love, whether it's professionally or just a hobby. Your passion makes you happy. Right now, you need happy. Big time.

9. Enjoy your living space. Make it what you want by redecorating, painting, organizing and disposing of unneeded items taking up room. You'll love and appreciate where you live and you'll enjoy the comfort.

10. Volunteer. I just read a few articles on Robert Herjevac's divorce (shark tank guy.) Apparently he was so depressed about his divorce and didn't know what to do, so he volunteered at a soup kitchen, and said it changed his life. It probably put everything in perspective, and gave him a sense of self-worth that is badly needed during a divorce.

11. Think of your husband leaving you as something you couldn't control. In other words, don't keep looking back saying, "Maybe if I'd have done....he wouldn't have left." This is what was meant to be, and someday, (although hard to fathom right now) you will realize and accept it, and actually be glad it turned out this way.

I'm not saying these are going to cause immediate recovery, but rather that they are diversions, and ways for you to learn, grow and reflect upon the life you want moving forward. No one recovers from divorce quickly. It takes years, sometimes. But the choices you make in the beginning are very important and meaningful in the way things turn out later.

Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.