Divorce is a traumatic and difficult experience. And despite the often heard phrase "amicable divorce," that is the rare exception and not the rule. But once you’ve decided that divorce is the right choice, there are ways to make the process less painful and help yourself begin to build a new life.

Seek Legal Advice
Do-it-yourself divorces are not advisable because divorce is rarely a fair process. Hire a divorce lawyer to help you through it, suggest the experts at Kitchen Simeson Belliveau Llp. The cost varies, but good legal advice is worth every penny. A lawyer will give you good advice about your rights, and will speed up the process as much as possible by handling all the filings and paperwork, which is not something you should have to navigate yourself.

Allow Yourself to Mourn
The end of a marriage is a true loss, and you should allow yourself time to grieve. Either therapy or a support group may help you tremendously. A group setting, especially, will let you see that what you are feeling is not unique, and others who are sharing the same experience will be a source of strength and information to you.

Learn Something New
Marriage includes a lot of compromise, so now is the time to find out who you are as an individual. Learn to paint, take a dance class, hike with a group, journal or take yoga. Whatever you choose, try to include physical activity in your routine, too. There is overwhelming evidence that exercise helps greatly with depression, so don't deny yourself this tool to help you cope.

Change Your Surroundings
If you remain in your "married" house, it’s time to make it yours. Get a new bedspread and pictures in the bedroom so you can see this most intimate setting as yours, rather than ours. Get rid of anything your spouse left behind and does not want. Own your home, because it belongs to you now.

Change Your Look
It’s hard to get through a divorce without your self-esteem getting bruised. Consider a new hairdo, some clothes in colors you haven't worn, or perhaps a professional makeover at a cosmetics counter. Show yourself and the world that you are still a strong, beautiful, competent person who is taking charge of their own life.

Don't Rush Into a New Relationship
If you choose to start dating as soon as the divorce is final, don't let yourself be pulled into an exclusive relationship right away. Interim relationships are fine as long as you are honest about what they are, but rebound relationships are much more dangerous and potentially hurtful.

Most importantly, remain true to who you are. This is a time to explore not just the world, but yourself, and that can be an incredibly exciting and empowering experience.

Author's Bio: 

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about family, health, home and lifestyle. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn't writing.