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Engaging kids are in meaningful conversation when you’re face to face is tricky enough. 

When your kids are with their other parent, and you’re trying to chat to them over the phone it can be almost impossible. “How was your day?” is usually met with a one-word response “Good” or “OK”, and “What did you do?” with “Nothing” or “Not much”.

Here are some tips that can help to take it a little further:

1 : LEARN
Become a student of whatever it is your kids are interested in. Develop an interest in their interests so you can engage knowledgeably with them and ask relevant questions. ASK them about whatever it is they love to do. Maybe one of your kids loves reading. Pick a book for you both to read, so you can talk about. Ask about the main character in the book they’re reading. Snowboarding. Soccer. Sewing. Singing. Whatever they love, find a way to connect with them about it. Just remember, what they loved in January, may not be the same by July.

2 : LISTEN
Actively listen to what they tell you about what they do, who they talk to, what they watch. Even if you have to remind yourself to TAKE NOTES. KNOW their friends and what they most like doing with them. Know the games they play and TV programs or movies they like to watch. Know the names of their teachers, and sporting coaches. Subjects they are studying. Where they went on the school excursion. Books they are reading. You Tubers they are following.

3 : BE ATTENTIVE
When your kids DO talk, fully attend to what they are saying. Reflect back to them what you’ve heard. Ask them a question to clarify what they’ve already said. Kids know if you’re really interested and have your attention by the way you respond. Actively attending and engaging with them shows them you care about what they have to say and encourages them to talk more. Kids are more likely to share their thoughts and feelings, even just the daily stuff of their life, if they feel you think what they have to say is important.

4 : ALLOW THEM TIME
Kids often take time to gather their thoughts or find the right word. Listen like you have all the time in the world. (In fact, make sure you DO have all the time they need; try not to schedule a call when you have only a short window of time.) Hear your kids out. Avoid cutting them off or offering them a word or phrase if they are taking a long time. It’s easy to jump in, offering a thought, opinion or solution for your child but resist the urge. If anything, offer a gentle “yep… I’m listening…” and allow them the time to find their own way of expressing whatever it is they want to tell you.

5 : TIME IT RIGHT
Choose the times you call wisely. Not dinnertime, bedtime or when kids are likely to be tired, cranky or otherwise engaged. Not when you know your co-parent is trying to get them out the door to an appointment or get homework done. While a fixed communication schedule will help some kids and families, and alleviate anxiety (for both kids and parents) about when communication will take place, it won’t work for others. As above, make sure you schedule a call for when you have plenty of time. You never know… they may want to chat for hours!

6 : DON’T FORCE IT
Communication between you and your child when they are with their other parent is purely for the benefit of the child. Although gentle encouragement may be necessary, children should never be forced to talk and nor should this chat time be used to extract information from your child about their other parent and what’s going on in their home. It is for you to maintain a healthy connection to your kids while they’re not with you. 

7 : TAKE IT TO THEM
A voice call is just one way of staying in touch with your kids when they’re with their co-parent. There are also plenty of other options, offering voice, text and video communication. Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp, Voxer, Skype, Zoom. Take it to them. Communicate on their level and in the mode they are most comfortable. This is easier, safer and more relevant with older kids are who have access to their own device. With younger children, phone or iPad / laptop communication remains the most common and may require some supervision. Supervision however doesn’t mean stalking. For your kids to have a meaningful conversation and share freely, they need some degree of privacy. Finding a balance between supervision and privacy is important but of course, both parents need to be on board, with the safety and wellbeing of the child being most important.

8 : IF ALL ELSE FAILS
A simple text telling your child that you’re thinking of them; a photo of something you saw that reminded you of them; a gif they will think is funny or silly… all can keep the communication channels open.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR KIDS (age and stage appropriate) to get your kids talking:

  1. Tell me 3 things that happened today…
  2. What was the best / worst / funniest / silliest thing that happened today?
  3. What was your favourite / least favourite part of school / soccer /dancing / your day?
  4. What music have you heard today? Did you have a song in your head today?
  5. If you could eat ANYTHING for dinner tonight / lunch tomorrow, what would it be?
  6. What did you like better today? Recess or lunch? The morning or the afternoon?
  7. WOW! I didn’t’ know that. Can you tell me more about…?
  8. What else can you tell me about that?
  9. Really? What happened then?
  10. That’s so interesting. Is there more you know about that?
  11. And what did that make you think?
  12. So, how did you feel about that?
  13. What do you think you’ll do next?
  14. What are you looking forward to tomorrow / next week?
  15. What was one thing you did to help someone / someone did to help you today?
  16. What’s one thing you want to learn how to do?
  17. Was there something that made you laugh / cry / feel happy / sad today?
  18. What was the last dream you can remember having?
  19. If you could invent one thing what would it be?
  20. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
  21. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your day today? Why do you say that? How could you make tomorrow a 10?
  22. If you could be famous for one thing, what would it be?
  23. If you were a Disney / Marvel character who would you be? Why?
  24. What makes (name one of their friends) so special / such a good friend / so much fun to be around?
  25. Tell me about 3 things that went well for you today?

As the conversation comes to an end, praise the positive. Finish with something that will make your child happy they’ve talked with you and more likely to want to talk again.

“I’m so glad you shared that with me” or  “I really like hearing what you’ve been up to”, or “It’s great to hear about what you think / feel.” Reassure them about when you will talk next, “talk to you tomorrow / on Wednesday / next week,” before saying goodbye.

When my kids were little, we had a sign off we used at the end of every phone call “Bye. Love you. See you.” It was a way of finishing our conversation, knowing the connection is over for now (BYE), reaffirming that we that we love one another (LOVE YOU) and that we will be together again soon (SEE YOU). 

Maybe you and your kids will find your own unique family sign-off? However you choose to end your conversations with your kids here’s hoping they are filled with love and laughter and are at least occasionally longer than it takes to dial their number! 

Sallyanne is a Divorce Coach who works with clients to make their journey through divorce and beyond smoother, less painful and less costly – emotionally and financially.

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At Hello Mojo we’re often asked ‘SHOULD I go back to my former name?’. To help you better understand the ins and outs of this issue, and what to do if you’d like to change your name back after separation or divorce, we talked to Genevieve Dennis at Easy Name Change. Here is her advice.

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Her Blog

If the countdown to Christmas is giving you chills, and every ad showing a happy family enjoying a celebratory lunch is making you well up… I get it. It’s the big moments in the year, like Christmas, that really make it hit home: things have changed. And, yes, when you’re thinking about not being a ‘whole’ family unit anymore, not enjoying your in-laws traditions, having to share your kids on Christmas day, it’s true that the idea of the most wonderful time of the year can feel anything but. Besides, who’s going to put a present under the tree for you?

But here’s the thing. Things are going to be different, sure, but they can be good different. This is the year you get to make Christmas your own. This is the moment you can begin some new traditions. And, with a little preparation, it is possible to crowd out your worries, fears and disappointments with a ton of love, joy, and gratitude. Forget the bitching and the blaming, let’s look at how to make this day emotional for all the right reasons.

Here are five ways to help you get through the holiday season:

1. Plan ahead

It might not be the most fun thing on your to-do list, but make plans with your ex about where the children will spend their holidays now and you’ll be thanking yourself later. 

Now, let’s take care of you. Have a think:

>>> Where will you spend Christmas Day and NYE?

>>> Who will you spend time with? Start sussing out your circle’s plans now.

>>> What will you wear? Is it time to splurge on a new outfit?

>>> What gifts do you want? Be sure you buy yourself exactly what you want this year. Alternatively, give a friend $100 and ask them to surprise you.

>>> Make sure your ex or a relative or friend is tasked with helping your children buy a gift for you, too.

2. Do some good

Christmas can be stressful and costly – or it can be filled with love, gratitude and good deeds. If you fancy the latter, commit to being of service to your community this year – and watch as it warms your heart more than any present. Need some inspiration? 

>>> Bake a cake for a neighbour, or offer to look after their plants if they’re going away.

>>> Visit your local neighbourhood centre on Christmas Day and serve food for the less fortunate.

>>> Gift wrap small bundles of clothes that you or your children have grown out of and deliver to charity.

>>> Between now and Christmas Eve put in one item per day in a basket. Books, biscuits, writing paper and pens, tea bags, a jumper you don’t wear anymore–anything at all you think will bring joy to someone else.

>>> Commit to doing one good deed per day. 

3. Keep it simple

The holiday season will be here before you know it. Don’t set yourself up for failure (or total exhaustion) by planning events every night and all weekend, or by setting unachievable goals in the lead up to Christmas Day. Don’t give yourself any reason to feel like you’ve let yourself down. And when New Year’s Eve comes around set yourself some powerful intentions rather than the usual resolutions, which are usually difficult to restart if you let slip.

4. Have a laugh

Be prepared. Don’t find yourself home alone without the essential rom coms, Christmas flicks and comedies. Make a list early and source the best of the best. Then turn your lounge room into a cinema experience, kick back and have a good laugh.

5. Give to your family

The best gift you can give your child or children this holiday season is the strong sense that the pain you are experiencing does not have to last forever.  I’m not saying that you have to go from breakdown to breakthrough on Christmas night – it’s more about a way of being for your entire journey. Show your children how it’s possible to positively navigate the ups and downs of your breakdown, to be flexible in your thinking, to gently manage your emotions, and then breakthrough to live a life you (and they) love.

If there’s just one thing you take away from all this, let it be this: get things sorted out early, and manage your expectations.

Remember: this Christmas is going to be different, but it can be good different with a little forethought. Will it be emotional? You bet! You’ll need to breathe deep, pop on a positive mindset and surrender in the knowledge that the holiday season gifts opportunities for personal growth like no other.

May your holiday season be filled with love, gratitude… and lots of smiles. You’ve got this!

I’d love to hear all the new traditions you’re starting this year, and the things you’re happy to leave behind. Tell me all about it in the comments below.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


Need more? Download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve already walked a mile in your shoes. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,







Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

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Self-identity and self-concept are largely developed through friends, family, values and simple day-to-day activities – all of which become incredibly intertwined in a long-term relationship. So when a relationship ends, the self-identity and self-concept that we have developed with our partners is suddenly pulled like a rug from beneath our feet. 

It leaves us feeling lost. We struggle to find out who we are, without them.

This struggle for a new sense of self-identity without our partner is why we see many newly single people take drastic measures such as getting tattoos, changed haircuts or in some cases leaving their jobs; they are trying to rediscover a less ‘shared’ sense of self. This process however, can often leave people feeling even more confused – this removal from a previously comfortable self-identity can lead to emptiness and an even longer road to rediscovering our true sense of self.

So, how can you go about rediscovering who you are on your own – reserving your clarity on your self-identity? How can you start to navigate the path of being a single entity rather than a partnership?

My name is Sally Golding — it’s lovely to meet you. I’m an online Divorce Support Angel & Relationship Coach and here is the advice I give my newly single clients on how to start this process:

Go to your support system

One of the most important steps to take after a break up is realising that you don’t have to do it alone. Men, in particular, find it hard to reach out to friends and family when they are in emotional turmoil, however, your support system is key in getting your self-identity back on track.

Spend time with people that love you, support you and that will offer a soothing rub and word of encouragement when you are down. If you share many of your friends with your ex, try and ensure you don’t concentrate on them as a topic – focus on yourself and enjoying the time spent with the special people you have in your life.

Self-care

The typical break up scenario involves long hours on the couch, a couple of tubs of ice cream and a big serving of self-pity. While this is okay for a weekend or so after the break up, the sooner you get up and out – the better you will feel. Self-care is an essential aspect to rediscovering your self-identity and confidence after a break up.

Looking after yourself from the inside out is the best way to start feeling good again. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, join a gym and get out into nature if possible. Being happy really is closely linked to being healthy. It isn’t just your physical aspects to consider and you should work on your spiritual self too; take up meditation, yoga, writing, join a program such as Naked Divorce or another kind of support system that will help you get your mind back on track.

Set goals

Setting goals is a wonderful way to get your mind focused on something other than the break up. Whether it’s as small as doing a yoga class or going for a walk three times a week, or something a little more large scale like running a marathon or getting a promotion at work – having a goal to work towards to will push your limits, help you to focus on positive things and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing sense of achievement once you’ve conquered what you set out to do. Set a goal and work towards it and you’ll be amazed at what happens to your self-confidence.

Do things that you love

We are all passionate about something and doing things we love is incredibly nurturing for the soul. Think about the things you enjoyed before your relationship that you may have given up and if possible try and get stuck into doing them again. These could be anything from dance classes or drawing, to guitar or kayaking; do whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.

You can also try new things if you aren’t sure what you really love – take up a sculpting class, volunteer at a soup kitchen or walk dogs at animal shelters; activities that give you a sense of purpose are particularly effective at helping you to understand what it is that you are truly passionate about.

Take the time to grieve

I often find that many of my clients jump into new relationships too soon. This mainly stems from the loss of identity and self-concept that is experienced after a traumatic break up – people tend to have forgotten how to be on their own.

My advice is always to take the time to grieve. You have lost an important part of your life and it’s only right that you spend enough time getting over the trauma rather than simply putting a band-aid on it. Don’t wallow in self-pity, but take the time to learn who you are without a partner, don’t rush into anything and you’ll find a renewed confidence within yourself when you are perfectly at home in your own body and your own mind.

These are just some of the many things you can do to try and rediscover who you are on your own, but most importantly, you need to practice self-love; your body and your mind are the only permanent home you’ll have forever.

As a Divorce Angel myself, my door is always open and I am here to help you move forward free from hurt and full of confidence.

*Special Offer*

Today I’m offering Hello Mojo’s community my professional counselling services for FREE*. No matter whether you are in the early days of a breakup or are coming out the other side of your divorce, my no-obligation *FREE* 30 minute Clarity Call will help you formulate a plan to take your next step forward with confidence.

To book your *FREE* 30 minute Clarity Call contact me here.

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My biggest pain point at the start of this journey (besides the thought of not being able to see my kids every day, and grappling with the harsh reality of being all on my own now) was how to get started with the process of separation.

In fact, I had absolutely no idea of what to do until I met with a lawyer a few weeks after our split.

I arrived at my lawyer’s office with an empty notepad, a pen and my purse stuffed in the side pocket of a baby bag (oh, and I was carrying my sleeping 4-months-old baby). I was trembling with fear. I was 110% underprepared and had never felt so vulnerable.

I sank down into the depths of a big armchair across from my lawyer and was schooled on what was going to happen. The panic set in as I learned more and more about the things I needed to do, or rather, the things I should have done already.

I started on the back foot with the admin process and felt like I never caught up. I was completely overwhelmed, extremely emotional, fearful, and of course stressed that I’d left myself wide open for possible financial ruin.

If only someone had told me the essential must-do tasks right back in week one!

Well, you won’t have to make the same mistakes or learn the hard way.

Here’s the guide I wished someone had given me on day one of my separation. Really it’s just the first steps for protecting yourself, your children and your money. Think of it like a personal insurance policy to help you go in the right direction more quickly, and less painfully.

This guide applies even if your situation is amicable.

It is not a complete list of everything that you’ll need to do throughout your separation or divorce – it’s just a good place to start in week one. And, did I mention, the information you gather here will be extremely helpful in your first meeting with a legal professional or mediator.

Firstly, here’s what to do in the first 24 hours:

1. Tell someone
And I don’t mean update your Facebook status! Think about telling your parents, a best friend, colleague or even the police: someone that will help you to feel supported, safe and loved. Things are real now and your only choice is to move forwards. Today, you need to breathe deep. You’ve got this.

2. Turn off iCloud sharing on all of the devices
Love it or hate it, you can’t argue: technology enhances and improves our lives in so many amazing ways. But in the wrong hands technology can be used as a tool to control and monitor. From today onwards you don’t need your spouse or ex checking up on your emails, messages or calendar. Stay smart.

3. Jot down those important details swirling around in your head
The “D” word – documenting – is an extremely daunting-but-vital part of the separation and divorce process.  I cover this in more details below. But for today, all you need to do is jot down any important details that spring to mind, and make notes about any incidents that involve you or your children (and stick to the facts). Stress will impact your ability to remember the finer details – and soon there will be so many things to remember that it’ll become difficult to recall correctly.  Get things on the record while they’re fresh in your mind.

Once you’ve managed to take a breath, you feel as safe and supported as you can be, there are some important steps that you should take.

10 ways to protect yourself, your children & your money:

1. Get some advice
I know the first week, especially, is extremely tough as you deal with an onslaught of new emotions. You can be too quick to make decisions (and the wrong ones at that). And your actions can be driven by fear or revenge, or one of the other five hundred emotions you are feeling! As soon as possible get some professional advice on your situation. You may not be in a position to appoint a lawyer in this first week or even want to – but, you should talk with someone about the legal ramifications of ending your marriage or de facto relationship. Think about contacting a relationship support line, government support agency (both usually free calls) or a legal firm.

2. Take a vacay from social media
Period. Ah-huh… that’s right. Period. NO posting cryptic memes. 

3. Communication Caution
What you say, write or do could come back to bite you if your split gets messy (or even if it doesn’t). Careful with SMS, emails, social media and all your conversations (on the phone or in person). Don’t sign or promise anything to your ex while you are in a heightened state of shock, denial or rage etc. Let your ex know that you need a few days to digest what is going on before you make any firm commitments (and use that opportunity to seek legal advice). Also, be careful with whom you speak to. Your friends may end up choosing sides (and quite possibly not yours!).

4. Change PIN numbers
Firstly, your email account(s). While you’re at it, set up a new email account to be used for correspondence from lawyers etc. Then go for gold: PINS, usernames and password for everything and anything – banks, investment houses, superannuation, apple ID etc. Keep all records in a single document and in a secure place. And, check who has their fingerprint registered to be able to unlock your phone. 

5. Children
> Telling the children: If your situation is amicable, suggest to your ex that you make an agreement about when and where you will tell the children about what’s going on. My suggestion is that you first do some research or seek advice on the best way to do this as it varies a great deal by age group. Check out Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by M Gary Neuman. And, never discuss your relationship issues in front of the children (even while you are on the phone). You can buy the book here.
> Sorting out a temporary visitation schedule: If your split means that one parent is moving out, you may wish to draw up an interim parenting plan with your ex as to visitation arrangements for the children. Ensure that both parties recognise that it is an interim plan until formal arrangements have been made. You should always seek legal advice before any agreements are drawn up or signed. Removing yourself from the picture (i.e. you leaving the family home without the children) is not recommended as this could potentially impact future custody arrangements. Always, seek legal advice about children’s issues as soon as possible. And, of course, if you have any concerns about your safety or that of your children be sure to seek support, remove yourself and the children from danger and contact authorities immediately.
> Inform the children’s school: It’s a good idea (in any case), especially if you have concerns, to inform your child’s school (extra-curricular co-ordinators etc) that you are going through a separation. Ask that they inform you immediately of any odd behaviour by the child or other parent. Ensure that teachers and carers are aware of which parent is to collect the child from school on which days.

6. Close off your joint accounts
Consider closing your joint account. Talk to your bank to establish your own account with your own pool of money, and make sure the other joint account holder can’t access it. Check that your pay is going into this new account. If you don’t close the joint account ask about a dual signature requirement for withdrawal.

7. Cancel your redraw facility
Talk to your bank to cancel any redraw facility on your home loan to make sure your debts don’t grow. This only applies to some markets.

8. Do a financial stocktake
> Assets & Debts: Make a quick list of all personal and joint assets and debts (and those for your ex if you have access to the statements). This information will be useful when you seek legal advice. Here is a sample template for assessing a Household Balance Sheet.
> Bills & Expenses: Depending on your situation, you may need to sit down with your ex and look over the upcoming bills, repayments and standard household costs. Make a list of who agrees to pay for what, if there is a need to make changes. But, as always, seek advice from a legal professional or financial advisor as soon as possible. You should never be pressured into making a decision or agreement that you are not 100% OK with.

9. Do a household items stocktake
Go room to room and list down anything of value that you feel needs to be on record (don’t forget to visit the garage!). Take photos of each item of value and make sure the geo-stamp and location tracker are turned on. Unfortunately, things do go missing during a separation and divorce. If you have something of personal value, consider moving it to a safer location if necessary. Remember to list the removed item in your property settlement if advised to do so.

10. Start documenting vital information
There are a few ways to do this: you can grab yourself a notepad and pen, allow your lawyer to do the work for you, or you can download Hello Mojo’s documenting app, a quick and easy mobile-based app designed to get you started on the right foot, keep you organised and get everything on the record — communication, vital information and evidence — start to finish. 

Either way, here’s what you need to know about documenting:

First things first, make a decision on how you wish to document.

If you choose to use a WORD doc ensure that the track changes function is turned ON, and always have a backup copy.

You will need a hard copy folder for printouts and other evidence.

Start documenting from today onwards. Don’t worry if you have missed documenting vital information, communication and evidence already – you will get to this in time (just don’t delete the SMS and email messages until you have copies on file). Make a few bullet points of past events if you think you will forget.

What to document? Note down important dates (like your separation date), and the details leading up to your separation (use only facts and non-emotive language). Do a personal profile for the adults and children in your family (i.e. names, DOB, address, employment, salary etc.). Keep copies of important communication both in and out (i.e. email, SMS, phone logs etc.), vital information, monies in and out, serious incidents (i.e. domestic abuse etc.), commitments made (i.e. a promise by one parent to take the children to the park and then that parent doesn’t show etc), and all matters relating to the children. It also a good idea to note down what assets and debts you and your ex brought to the relationship and what contributions either party made to them throughout the relationship. Lastly, make a quick list of your personal contributions (think: income, household admin, taking care of children etc) during the relationship and also right now.

Make documenting a daily ritual from here on in. Record by date and time. Attempt to link any conversations had over multiple communication channels. Always keep your documents in a safe location. I know this sounds overwhelming — but, you’ve got this!

If you’re on a roll, here are a few extras to add to your list:

11. Seek legal advice
It’s a good idea to research your options for legal representation as well as a number of firms before signing up. For a list of interview questions you should ask legal firms, check out my ebook, 5 Separation and Divorce Hacks.

12. Property
If you have property held in joint names, or just in your ex’s name it’s advised that you get some advice about what needs to happen, if property is held in your partner’s name, to prevent it being sold before the property settlement.

13. Wills
On the subject of legal advice – start thinking about updating your will, POA, healthcare directives, superannuation beneficiary nominations and life insurance policy.

14. Sorting out your living arrangements
> Discuss what is going to happen with regards to your living arrangements or seek alternative accommodation, if necessary. Always make your safety the top priority and contact authorities if you have any concerns about domestic violence.
> Update your rental agreement: if your name is on the lease then you can be liable for any unpaid rent or damage caused by your spouse or ex.
> Update your utility bills: if your name is on the account then you can be liable for any unpaid bill.

IMPORTANT FOR EXPATS: If you live abroad, immediately seek advice on how The Hague Convention Treaty may affect what you can and can’t do.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, the Hello Mojo app is now available on the App Store in Australia, USA and UK — and in Australia on Google Play (coming soon to USA and UK). It will help you get started and document absolutely everything so you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. Let Hello Moo help you to secure your best possible outcome. 

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


For more support, download my ebook, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks for loads more tips and information on getting started.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,






Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

 

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It’s no secret: the first few weeks (and sometimes months) of a separation or divorce can feel like a never ending cycle of really, really bad days.

Suddenly, everything is unknown. And, if you’re like me, crying becomes your new conversation starter.

Is this really happening to me?
What am I going to do now?
Who am I supposed to be if I’m not with them?
What about our dreams and plans?
What am I supposed to tell the children?

It would be brilliant if we had superpowers that allowed us to bypass this stage of a breakup. But alas, no can do.

Right now, you’re probably overwhelmed by your unfolding situation, the needs of your children, legal advice, and the arrival of many unknown and highly volatile emotions. Yes?

So, the idea that you’d have time, or even the ability, to prescribe regular self-care at this stagehmm, it’s right up there with the idea that pigs may fly!

Well: so far, so normal. (I know because I’ve been there.)

For everyone else (happily married or happily single): a bad day may come along once or twice a year. And when it does, don’t we hear about it! These folk certainly know how to make hay while the sun shines. They go wild for treatments that pamper and soothe their soul. And, in no time at all: a three-day yoga retreat, colonics, a green juice and a few massages later they are fully revived, refreshed and ready to take on the world. (I know, I’ve been there too!)

So, why is it that when we’re going through a separation or divorce – one of the toughest experiences we can ever go through – self-care is as far from our minds as possible?

We don’t prioritise it and we certainly don’t give ourselves permission to have those ever so important me-time moments very often, if at all.

Perhaps the idea of self-care has not even crossed your mind? You view it as a selfish act at such a difficult and financially pressing time of life? You feel guilty? You’re fearful of not being able to attend to so many other more pressing matters? I could go on and on.

What is self-care?

Self-Care: “refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development.” – according to Wikipedia.

Well, I’d give myself a D+ with regards to how I dealt with self-care throughout my journey. My excuse: I had a baby and a toddler to take care of. They needed me.

In hindsight, my choice not to dish out self-care on a regular basis (although my excuse was absolutely valid) left me feeling emotionally and physically drained, stressed and angry most of the time. I gave myself no space or time around the avalanche of emotions to step back and reflect on what had happened or to focus on the benefits of consciously uncoupling and choosing how I wanted this experience to play-out.

Had I committed to a daily dose of self-care, I would’ve been a much more present mama, daughter, sister and friend. I would’ve dealt with a number of things differently.

And, (here’s the winning ticket) I know I would’ve come out the other side of divorce much faster than I actually did.

So, listen up: making time for self-care is uber important throughout your separation or divorce. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

It’s absolutely OK to take time out for you, especially now. Don’t feel that you need to justify it – not to yourself, not anyone. You need this time as much as your family needs you to have it. Let all the painful or angry thoughts (and voices) in your head take a bathroom break.

And…get back in touch with YOU.

So, I want to share with you some of the ways that you can focus on your self-care each day. Ideas that don’t cost the world (or in fact anything at all) and certainly don’t require much preparation or indeed a three-day retreat to achieve results.

1. Get a dose of nature. Sit in your garden & simply admire the beauty of nature. Breathe. Zoom in on a bird gliding by, a beautiful flower or a ant going about his busy day. And remember: thank Mother Earth for all that she provides you. Here’s 11 cool scientific reasons that proves nature relaxes.

2. Take a bath with gorgeous essential oils and Epsom salts, and listen to some relaxing music or a meditation. When Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin to help replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. It also increases energy and reduces irritability. Here are some tips to get started: HERE

3. Re-live your childhood. Think of 3 things you loved doing as a child and re-visit them. Think swimming at the beach, swinging on a swing at the park, or painting – that’s a big one. Painting and having a creative outlet can be like a form of meditation. It can lower your heart rate, reduce your stress and energise your spirit. You don’t have to be creative. You just have to give yourself permission to be the beginner. Here are some great steps to get started.

4. Star gaze. Lie down and just stare up at the stars. This can help put things in perspective.

5. Time for an e-tox! That’s right, a detox of all things electronic. Seriously: NO phone, NO computer and NO devices. If you really feel the need to, let people know the day before that you will be off the air or put a new voice mail on your phone. The true lesson here: it’s all about NOT feeling guilty. It’s OK (even liberating) to be uncontactable and not respond immediately. When you get this one right – you’ll feel a huge sense of freedom.

6. Rise & shine. Get the kids (or your bestie) up bright and early and drive to a vantage point to watch the sun rise. When you’re broken-hearted, depressed and feeling like the world is going to end, this is an awesome thing to do. Let the sun be your constant. It will always rise for you and bring with it a brand new day full of possibility.

7. An attitude of gratitude multiplies. The beginning stages of a split usually take you to quite a dark and lonely place. It may feel like there’s a hole in your heart and all the happiness and love have leaked out. Usually all you can think (and talk) about is your own pain and hurt. Well, let’s shake this up: turn your attention outward and do a random act of kindness for another. What you put out in the world you get back.

8. Live in the moment. Grab a cup of tea and then sit in your favourite spot. Center your thoughts on what you DO have in your life today. As difficult as things may be right now, try eliminating all thoughts about what you want or wish to have in your life, or where you think you would rather be. Consume your mind with being grateful for here, and now.

9. Pamper yourself. Look up a cheap and cheerful Thai place and get a loooong foot massage. Don’t use this hour of bliss as a counselling session – tell the therapist that you don’t wish to chit-chat. Caution: in the early days of your split when you’re super emotional, a massage can really stir things up: so watch out for this. And, drink plenty of water afterwards.

10. Connect with yourself. Spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of each day rolling your shoulders and neck, taking deep breaths, doing yoga, reciting a mantra or meditating. Get out of bed and put a little extra effort into how you look today. And, before breakfast drink a glass of hot water with lemon.

IMPORTANT: always have a box of tissues on hand during your time of self-care. If you feel like crying (which you probably will), just let the tears flow – don’t hold them in. Feel the emotion, experience the emotion and when you’re done, take a moment to breathe and reflect on how you feel now.

And…START TODAY


The best way to manage the stresses and strains of a separation or divorce is to practise self-care every single day.

It’s also worth your while to re-visit the Health and Well-Being section in my FREE e-book, 5 Separation and Divorce Hacks for loads of extra hints and tips.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


I’d love to know your favourite self-care rituals too. Let me know in the comments below!

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,






Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

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Her Blog

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, you guessed it: exactly the same applies when it comes to surviving a separation or divorce.

As early as possible, you need to begin assembling an A-list support team (let’s call them your entourage) to help you break-down, break-through and then move on from your breakup! Now, if you’re already well on the way to legal separation or divorce but still feel isolated or alone – this blog’s for you too!

What you need is a group of people who will act like a nice, cushy layer of bubble wrap – supporting you, guiding you and protecting you (and your children if you have them) from the pain and challenges surrounding separation or divorce.

Finding the right mix of people takes time and can be trial and error. Some might be on your team for a little while; others are in for the long haul. This is absolutely normal – so don’t take it personally if a few people drop out of the picture.

So, who’s in your entourage?
There are those you need to help manage your emotions:
  1. You need people who’ve been through loss and healed

  2. You need a sympathetic shoulder to cry on

  3. You need a professional that can listen and give you exercises to actively move you through your emotions

  4. You need people to soothe your soul and help you heal

Then there’s the crew you need for the practical stuff:
  1. Professionals who can guide you through the process – legally and financially

  2. Someone who isn’t emotionally attached to the situation

  3. Someone to straighten you out when you’re throwing a pity party

Some of us are blessed with a ready-made network of amazing extended families and incredible friends. Others may have some key people, but not all the bases covered. Whatever the case, believe me when I say you need to extend your network and start building your support team – because you can’t walk this journey alone.

Here are 10 tips to help you assemble your entourage

Emotional Support:
  • Carefully choose one or more of the following: a friend, relative, church leader, social worker, counsellor or professional that you can speak to on a regular basis for the purpose of downloading your emotions and heartache. Tell your story. Actively work through your emotions. Be open to personal growth and look inward at YOU during this process too. Don’t bottle things up and brew.

  • NOTE: be careful of people who thrive on drama, invite you to talk more than you want to or encourage you to embellish on reality. These people are not helpful and can set your healing process back a long way.


Legal & Financial:
  • Consider your options for legal representation.There are tips on how to do this in my e-book, 5 Separation and Divorce Hacks.

  • Reconnect with your accountant (or find a new one if there is a conflict of interest with your ex).

  • Find a financial mentor or advisor if you need support crunching the numbers or covering bills.

  • Make contact with a government support officer to discuss options and payments for single parents, children’s benefits or hardship.

  • Appoint a lawyer in the case a business is jointly-owned, or perhaps to get advice on protecting IP if you’ve discussed a new business venture or idea with your ex prior to separation.

  • Download Hello Mojo’s documenting app. It’s specifically designed to help you know where to  start the process, to help you document everything important along the way, and prepare for the unknown.


Mental Health:
  • Make an appointment with a counsellor, social worker, psychologist etc (government support agencies often have a list of professionals you can meet with free of charge). In some countries, doctors prescribe what they call Mental Health Plans to subsidize payment of private Mental Health professionals. Ask your doctor if this type of plan exists in your State.


Personal Safety:
  • If domestic abuse is present, it’s vital you have a police representative or domestic abuse officer on your case and continually updated. You should also have professional counselling support and get familiar with alternate accommodation facilities should you require them.

  • NOTE: domestic abuse covers more than just physical abuse. Conditions of domestic abuse include: physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse (including in person, on the phone, or via email or SMS), neglect, financial abuse (including withholding funds), stalking, harm to an animal or property, restricting your spiritual or cultural participation, or exposing children to the effects of these behaviours. Always seek support or advice from authorities if you have concerns.


Mentoring:
  • If no one within your family or friends springs to mind, search further afield for someone who may be sympathetic to your situation but emotionally unattached. The idea: they mentor you on being able to approach the legalities of your separation or divorce just like it’s a business transaction. They help you remove the emotion from the facts and figures of the legal process, and save you valuable time and tons of money. It’s always good to bounce ideas off someone (other than your legal representative) regarding the merits and cost of battling contentious issues – both for and against you.

  • Connect with someone who has been through a loss and healed. They can inspire you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe in love and happiness again.


Religious:
  • If you are in any way religious, or even if you’re not, think about becoming more connected with a place of worship. This can be invaluable in helping you through the dark days and difficult decisions.


Spiritual:
  • If it interests you, meeting with a spiritual reader or psychic may offer some comfort or hope at this difficult time of your life. It did for me!


Child Support:
  • Seek professional support for your children. Student counsellors at your child’s school may be able to offer support for free or point you in the right direction.


Health & Well-Being:
  • Contact a friend, neighbour, yoga studio or personal trainer to lock in some regular exercise times. Not only does exercise offer so many benefits for your body and mind, but also, you are likely to meet new friends along the way. It releases endorphins and helps promote a feeling of well-being you will most likely be struggling with.

  • Speak to a nutritionist or doctor about the most beneficial food & beverage choices – there’s a ton of science and research to support the fact that whole foods and healthy eating can dramatically affect our mood.

  • Write a list of people including your go-to hairdresser, skin and beauty salon, nail parlour, massage therapist, kinesiologist etc. People who can help you with self care and add a little more sparkle when you’re feeling down.


Empowerment:
  • Choose a few books or authors who can deepen your understanding about relationships, breakups and healing, and everything in between. Check out Breakup Emergency by Eris Huemer, or Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser, or Life Code by Dr Phil.

  • Bookmark pod casts, TED talks and YouTube videos that inspire through others’ acts of kindness, triumphs over adversity and words of wisdom. This uplifting Youtube video features a disabled, female, muslim, comedian discussing how she overcame her challenges in life. OK, it’s totally unrelated to the subject of breakups but gives you perspective; it shows you how humour helps in difficult situations; it shows you that times can be tough but you CAN make it through – move forwards with strength, a positive attitude and determination. Or this Youtube video, for anyone who’s ever loved. Relationships expert Ester Petel examines a completely alternate point of view on infidelity. Opens your mind!

  • Join a positive online forum for support (but, of course, exit the group if it’s making you feel more depressed or idle in your journey).

Important to note: be aware that your family and close friends will live this entire separation and divorce alongside you. They love you. Their support will be genuine and unfailing. However, do keep in mind that they have a life to live as well. Attempt, as best you can, to have a laugh with them from time to time and let your positive ‘old-self’ shine through when possible so your situation doesn’t drain them, too.

So that leads me to my last point: make sure there is someone in your entourage who can make you laugh – out loud and A LOT. I know: it’s not easy to see anything funny in your situation at the start, but little by little you’ll find ways to lighten up. Laughter – and a good sense of humour are some of the best forms of medicine you can get on this journey. This is definitely a case of more is more!

To make things simple, download this My Entourage checklist. In no time at all you’ll be surrounding yourself with an awesome team of love, support and good advice.

 

I’d love to know your recommendation for books, resources, people, motivational courses, videos or blogs on the subject of relationships, breakups, healing or overcoming adversity. Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,






Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

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Her Blog

Facing a brand new year can bring up a whole bunch of emotions: relief, freedom, fear, sadness–and that’s even before we get started on resolutions.

Oh, those pesky promises. When you’ve just gone through a split, it’s tempting to see the brand new shiny year as the time that everything changes. I know, I’ve been there. The first New Year after my marriage split, I only had one resolution: “This year isn’t going to be as bad as last year.” How could it have been?

But by February, amid legal negotiations, it felt worse than ever.

I was livid. I felt cheated. And I’d told everyone I knew that things were on the up.

By announcing my ‘resolution’ to the world, I’d put a huge amount of pressure on myself. And it was really all or nothing. Once the year got worse, I felt like it was all over.

Then the guilt and shame kicked in. I couldn’t even have a slightly better year… what hope did I have?

Then I heard about a different way to think about what we want from our lives, and how it could supercharge my year.

Resolutions vs intentions

First, let’s talk about resolutions.

Resolutions hold your energy in the past.

They require that you delve into your past to uncover something (or multiple things) that are broken and need fixing. You’re constantly thinking about the past–what not to do.

Say you’ve completely dropped the exercise habit. It’s broken, so to fix it you resolve to go to the gym 6 days a week and run a marathon by March. Sound familiar?

Now, let’s see what an intention looks like.

Intentions compassionately set the tone for your future. They focus on what you want to create for your FUTURE. They don’t tie you to an outcome based on your past. They simply ask that you bring mindfulness to your actions and make efforts to change.

So, same situation as before: you dropped the exercise. You choose THIS intention: I’m going to make time for movement in my daily life.

Hello, achievable and positive goal!

Let’s get one thing straight: it’s good for the soul to take stock of your life at New Years and reflect on the good or not-so-good habits you’d like to change, or ways you’d like to grow in mind, body, and spirit.

It’s just the resolution side of things that can trap you: instead of feeling positive and future focused, you’re running from your past and when you slip, you can feel a sense of failure and give up on the resolution completely.

In comparison, when you set an intention, a slip-up is viewed as part of the process. You can simply move on realizing that the next moment, is in fact, a brand new one.

The secret of change is to focus all your energy,
not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
– Socrates

You with me? If you love the sound of setting intentions and want to discover a really powerful way to do it, I love Deepak Chopra’s method that you can learn about here.

So what intention are you setting for 2019?

I’m making meditation a part of my day, because I know from the past that just 10 minutes can make all the difference. Gaia and Youtube has some incredible content on mindfulness, meditation and yoga, so I’m going to give them a try, and I might splash out on on a paid app like Calm or Headspace for their amazing guided meditations.

Speaking of apps, if you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything that you need to – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


For more support, download my FREE e-book,
5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed and inspired daily.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on resolutions vs intentions. What intentions are you going to set this year? Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,







Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

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Her Blog

You’ve probably been hearing it since you were a kid getting into schoolyard spats: there are always two sides to a story. “Yes, mum,” you probably sighed. These days, older and wiser, we realise that mum was probably right all along.

But, sorry mum, there’s actually a pretty big exception to this rule. And it has to do with your relationship and how it ended.

That’s when YOUR side of the story is the ONLY story that really matters.

Think about it: you’re newly separated, and you’ve got it worked out: ‘he did this’, ‘she did that’, ‘who do they think they are’, ‘how could they do this to me’, ‘they’ve ruined my life’. While it’s likely all based in truth, without a doubt it’s a story that we’ve cemented in our minds. It probably has a compelling beginning, a suspenseful middle and a dramatic end to rival a Hollywood blockbuster.

And nothing your ex can say or do will change your recollection of what happened – in fact, when your ex tells their side of the story to friends and family (which, you know is a total fabrication of the truth because your story is the only RIGHT one!) it gives you additional ammunition to beef up your story; you reload and fire straight back!

Well, I get it because I’ve been there. For a long time, I lived in that place where my story was the only story.  It was full of blame, hurt and anger – with absolutely zero mention of moving on.

Despite that, I did move on, and you will too. Part of the process of that is recognising the power the story you’re telling yourself is playing in your journey. When you’re armed with what I’m about to tell you, you’ll be able to get there even sooner.

First of all, if you’re reading this, the reality of a separation or divorce is probably extremely raw for you. You’re hurting, feeling lost and struggling with the weight of many new emotions. You may also be in the afternoon shadow of your split: in the I-wish-I-could-move-on boat.  Either way, I’m sending you a great big hug.

All of the emotions you’re experiencing right now are totally normal. They’re all part of the process: sharing your story, unpacking the pain, and searching for answers to those unanswerable questions. You need to do this (for a little while, anyway).

The problems start when your search for answers continually turn up empty but you keep searching anyway. You keep doing the same thing. Telling the same story. Feeling like you’ll never move on. I hate to say it, but that’s the point that you become stuck in a vicious cycle that gets you nowhere.

Let’s not even get to that point–but if you’re already there, I’m going to share how to get back to a better place.

The breakup story

Five years on, I still recall word-for-word the story I would tell people about my breakup. In the past, whenever I told my story, I swear, it was as though I was reliving that actual moment when my world fell apart. My heart would pound, a wave of fear and anxiety would overwhelm me, resentment set in and my voice went a little higher pitched. Sound familiar?

Let me state for the record: although I can still recall this story and may even think of it from time to time, it no longer has the same power over me or my life. I’m free from it.

Breaking the vicious cycle

Three years ago, I learned how to break this vicious cycle after attending a personal growth seminar – and thank goodness I did because otherwise I would still be telling the same story and feeling just as raw as the day it all happened.  

So, let’s talk about your breakup story: how you came up with your story and why it will keep you stuck in an unproductive past, limiting what’s possible for you in your present and future.

What’s really going on?

1. The story versus what actually happened
It’s human nature: we merge what actually happened with a story about what happened. This happens so fast it becomes hard to separate the two, and we think of them as one and the same. Pretty soon, the story has become the reality. But really, the story is just an interpretation, not a run down of the facts as they occurred (again: normal). Every time we tell the story, our pain, upset and loss of power are kept alive.

2. People look at life through a filter
As much as we’d like to believe that we’re totally objective and open minded, the way we were brought up, our values and our experiences all create a filter through which we view the events of our lives. It colours everything we see.

Stop for a minute: what filters did you look through to create your story? How about your ex?

3. We see ONLY what we see
Our past and the context of similar situations determines what we see and what we don’t see in a situation: what we consider and what we fail to notice, what we are able to do and what seems beyond our reach.

Could there be something that you are not seeing or have failed to notice when creating your story? 

4. Oh, the complaining
No matter how justified, all our complaints (which is what they boil down to) are holding us back. We might get some sympathy but there’s a steep cost: our energy levels, our state of mind, our whole outlook on life (never mind the friends who are getting rather tired of hearing it rehashed for the 475th time).

Put simply, you are not going to move forwards if you are persistently complaining through story telling, no matter how hard you’re trying to fix it in another way.

So think about it: are you in any way benefiting from the attention of others through your story? Are you the recipient of sympathy or the creator of additional ex-haters to validate your story? And, how about your ex: are they doing the same?

5. The inflated power of fear and anxiety
It might sound bizarre, but one of the biggest obstacles to living an amazing life beyond a breakup is fear. No matter how accomplished, successful, or courageous we are, it’s scary entering a new chapter. And often, we allow our fears and anxieties to stop us – to determine how much we’ll risk, and to limit the range in which we live. They become super powerful in this way.

How much of your story is created from a place of fear? And, how about your ex’s?

6. Who we are
The process of who we are began in childhood, as we gradually adopted ways of being and acting to deal successfully with things that didn’t quite go the way we thought they should. By the time we reach adulthood, we’ve got habits, approaches and characteristics that make up our personality and how we react to all kinds of situations, including a break up.

No matter how well you think you know someone, when a marriage breaks up (a major this-didn’t-go-the-way-I-thought-it-would moment) both you and your ex will have different, perhaps never before experienced ways of being built into your psyche. This will significantly impact the story each of us tell. 

Everyone has their own unique vantage point

So now you understand what’s happening behind the scenes, let’s take a look at how to start changing the story. It wasn’t till I learned this following exercise that I was truly able to untangle myself from my story and move forwards powerfully.

And, when the time is right, I hope this exercise helps you move on, too.

Let’s break it down:

1. Imagine you have a big cardboard box.
2. You’ve cut out four small windows on all four vertical walls of the box.
3. Imagine there is an object standing upright inside that box (lets say a mobile phone – it’s black on the back, white on the front and gold around the edges)
4. 
Imagine you have four people, each looking through their own window.

Each person goes on to explain what they see.

Person 1 looks in and sees the front of a phone. “I see a white mobile phone”.
Person 2 looks in and sees the back of a phone. “I see a black rectangle”.
Person 3 looks in a side window and sees the side of the phone . “I see a skinny gold line.”
Person 4 looks in the other side window. “I see a thin, tall, gold piece of metal”.

The point — there is only one object and there were FOUR right answers.

Whether an object or an event–hello marriage breakdown–the same applies. Each person looks at the event from a different perspective, a different vantage point and has a different opinion on what happened — and suddenly there are TWO or more right answers.

The way you saw your breakup can be totally different, yet just as right, as your ex’s take on things.

The thing is, as humans we then take it a step further. From here, with your differing but equally right opinions on what happened, you attach your own meaning and emotion to it (remember all those things going on behind the scenes?). Suddenly you have a story which becomes your very complex version of what happened.

With a story in hand, you’re going to have actions and reactions based on the hurt, anger, resentment and whatever else that’s crept into your story.

To help you really grasp this concept, spend a moment and draw two columns on a piece of paper. In the first column write down exactly what happened at the end of your marriage (‘she said I don’t love you anymore’, ‘he had an affair’, ‘she spent too much time at work’, ‘he walked out’ etc etc). Do this without attaching any meaning and emotion.  Just state the facts — what exactly happened? In the second column, write down the meaning and emotions that you’ve attached to each of the what happened items: “He knew how much that would hurt me’, ‘It’s exactly what I feared was going to happen’, for example.

This was my lightbulb moment: after doing this exercise, I fully understood that not only was my what happened totally different to that of my ex and we were both right in how we saw the breakup… but each of us had created stories using our own filters, seeing only what our past allowed us to see.

There was no point trying to play the comparison game anymore or spend any more of my life trying to discredit his story. It was just a story. And just like that, both my story and his lost their power.

I was able to let go of my story, not take things personally, and move forwards in a really powerful way.

When you bring your awareness to all of this, reflect on what actually happened and appreciate that your ex, from his own vantage point, saw what happened in a totally different but equally right way as you. Try exercising your empathy muscle while you’re at it.

Can you imagine what possibilities can come into your present and future when you let go of your story? It’s time to start creating some exciting new stories!

I’d love to hear what possibilities you’re looking forward to welcoming into your life with your breakup story in the rear view mirror. Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey, or you’re a victim of domestic abuse, Hello Mojo’s app is here to save you time, money and a whole lot of stress. The app gives you the know-how to start preparing your case and then document absolutely everything you need to – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for any legal obligations that may arise. Check it out now…

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


If you need extra support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.

Love,


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

0

Her Blog

A few weeks ago, my ex arrived a tiny bit later than arranged for the handover of our kids.

I was ready; watching the clock, waiting to turn that uninterrupted, magnesium-laced spa bath, red wine and book into my new reality. Bring. It. On.

Then suddenly, just like that: I looked at my watch – he was late. I felt my body tense up. My frown line deepened. I was frustrated and angry, in an instant. I started shallow breathing as my heart raced.

But wait, there’s more! Enter stage right: the little voices that started clamouring for my attention to the point where I couldn’t hear anything else.

Bye-bye present mama, thinking logically and able to enjoy the gift of an additional few minutes with my kiddies.

And hello triggered mum! I was on autopilot. Destination: Blame.

I’d been there before. My only response on the odd occasion that my ex arrives late (and just for the record, I’ve been late on occasions, too!) is go into overdrive: he doesn’t value my time, he doesn’t appreciate me, he doesn’t respect me as the mother of his children, and I can’t believe he’s willingly to let the children down.

Do I really believe any of this is true? No, of course not. But that’s where my head goes when I’m triggered – to a random meaning I’ve attached to any instance when my ex is late.

These days, I’m very well aware that when I’m in a triggered state I’m unable to humanise the situation, think it through consciously, or have any empathy whatsoever. And isn’t that sad?

In the situation of my ex running a little late, not once did I stop to consider: was he safe? Did he get held up in peak hour traffic on the two-hour commute (a massive effort after a long day at work!) or, perhaps, a business meeting that ran over while he was trying to close a deal to provide for the kids?

My only response was to unleash a bucket load of blame on him, and reinforce to myself that I’m the victim.

The good news: I now know how to catch myself when I’m triggered (well, most of the time!) and quickly switch it off.

I’ve learned the steps you need to take to diffuse a trigger, and I’m going to share them with you.

What is a trigger?

An emotional trigger is when somebody (the ex or your children, perhaps) does something, and rather than responding to them consciously you react on autopilot.  

As Jack Butler, founder of The Conscious Change Agent explains: “when you are triggered you go to a place in your past, where you felt less powerful.  The observer in you tends to get shut down and your range of capacity diminishes. You get tunnel vision and you can only see one way to respond. Typically if you are triggered you are in a place where you have lost some consciousness.”

The more important thing to understand is that when you’re triggered, “a disproportionate amount of meaning from your past gets brought into the present moment. It causes you to overreact or to interpret a situation the way in which a younger version of your would have interpreted it.”

The attached meaning is in no way a true reflection of the situation in the present.

How would you know if you’re being triggered?

I’ve been there, and maybe you have too. Here’s what you’ll feel if you’ve been triggered:

  1. Physically, you’re going to be breathing more rapidly

  2.  Your attention pattern is narrowed – you’ll develop a one-track mind

  3. You’ll feel stressed (sometimes sick in your stomach if that’s where you hold your fear)

  4. Say hello to the little voices doing all the talking

  5. Waves of urgency to resolve the situation right there and then

Counter-triggers

It’s also important to know that there are situations where you may be counter-triggered.  Being counter-triggered happens when someone else is in a triggered state and their reaction to you sets off a trigger in you.

Maybe your spouse or ex fires up about something that’s bothering them – and then you take the bait? But today – to better explain this concept, I’d like to talk about kids!  

Children move from a state of calm to a state of rage (you can’t have that toy!) or distress (it’s lights out time now!) or ecstasy (yes you can have a friend over, we’ll go bowling and eat sugar!) faster than presents get unwrapped on Christmas Day.

Like most parents, there have been times when my little angels have responded badly to a boundary or request. The result: an emotionally triggered child. Awesome!

The dream would be to always act in a mature fashion and defuse the situation for your child, modelling good behaviour and giving them tools to self-regulate. But there are times, especially as a single parent, where it’s complicated.

When your child is emotionally triggered, has this then set off a trigger in you?

Perhaps you recognise a behaviour or unfavourable mannerism in them that reminds you of your ex? Or, your child’s meltdown triggers feelings of resentment towards your ex for the fact that you are now having to deal with this situation as a single parent?

I could go on, and on.

If so, you’ll probably find that you’ve react to your child in a very different way than you would have in any normal situation.

Before you know it, there are two (maybe more) people in the room, all emotionally triggered.  

Talking logically at this point in time is not an option. Yelling and saying things you wished you hadn’t – that’s where we’re at.

So, how are you going to get things back to normal?

Here’s your 6-step TRIGGER DEFUSER:

  1. RECOGNISE: Write down a list of all the things that trigger you. And I mean, everything!

  2. TUNE IN: Beside each one, write down how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally when you’re being triggered.

  3. CONNECT THE TWO: Make yourself very aware that when you start to feel those feelings that you’re most likely being triggered.

  4. YOUR CALMING TOOL: What activity gives you a sense of peace and calm? What activity do you think could help you peel away those feelings and return you to a state of calm? Let’s call it your “go-to” activity (i.e. deep breaths, a 5 min walk, a quick yoga session, a cup of tea, a good book). Have kids? What are their calm-down activities? My son likes to listen to calming music, while my daughter likes to draw in her sketch pad.

  5. CREATE A GAME PLAN: Now, piece it all together so that next time you start experiencing any of those feelings you can bring awareness to it, remove yourself from the situation, redirect your energy to your “go-to” activity, and return to a peaceful and calm state as fast as possible.

  6. WHAT’S YOUR LINE?: It’s also a great idea to have a well-rehearsed line that you can comfortably rattle off to anyone that triggers you. It’s important that you can respectfully remove yourself from a situation without saying something that you wished you hadn’t. You will need to make the other person feel safe by stating an amount of time you need to disengage, and give them a commitment that you are not abandoning them but wish to revisit the issue respectfully when you are calm.

Want to know what my line is with my kids?

First, a big deep breath! “Honey, I love you and you know that we need to have a chat about what just happened. But, right now, I’m so cross I can’t do that respectfully. Please go sit on your bed, put your headphones on and listen to 3 songs. Mummy needs to have a cup of tea and find her happy place again. I’ll be back in five with a cuddle for our chat.”

Obviously, you may need to make this more age-appropriate for your children. But it works wonders–for all of us. I found it really helpful to role play this routine when everyone is in a state of calm so the children know the drill.

The best bit about this six-step trigger defuser is that you can teach it to your children (and model it to them every day – well, hopefully not!). Allowing them to self-regulate on their own goes a long way to helping them develop awesome coping skills as a teen and adult. These are skills you can’t buy.

What’s your “go-to” activity for calming down? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there’s now an app to help you save time, money and your energy. It helps you document absolutely everything you need to – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play


If you need extra support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully. 

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.







Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo

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