Sara Woodard-Ortiz of The HeartFull Journey, a publisher of divorce-related coloring books, workbooks, and courses for women, believes that divorce is a journey. And, as with any journey, you’ll need to pack accordingly.

Divorce is an emotional time for virtually everyone. What you pack in your “divorce suitcase” are the things that will help you remain calm and move forward making good decisions. The journey can be a tough one, and these are the things that will help you get to the other side as a healthy, hopeful individual.

First, consider what not to pack: self-doubt, anger, and fear. “I don’t know if you can really leave those things behind when packing for a divorce,” she writes. “These emotions and many more are just something you need to go through.” Still, you can try to fill your life with other things.

Here are a few things Woodard-Ortiz wishes she had known to pack right away;

A list of your rights, legal and otherwise
It’s always good to understand your rights, but when it comes to divorce, a lot of your rights in divorce are most easily defined by reference to your situation. Sit down with your lawyer and discuss your exact situation, your fears and your goals. Your attorney can then help you understand your rights in the situation, what outcome is most likely, and how best to move toward your goals.

Woodard-Ortiz is thinking more along the lines of your emotional and social rights, however, which will help you avoid feeling ashamed and promote healthy interactions with others during the course of your divorce experience. Some suggestions she gives include:

  • The right to be angry, sad, mad, etc., and the right to work through these emotions in my own way and not block them out to appease others.
  • The right to distance myself from people who don’t support me.
  • The right to make decisions that are in my best interest and this doesn’t make me selfish.

The ability to say “no”
With everything on your plate, you need to be able to turn down social engagements and well-meaning advice.

A “pause button”
It’s often helpful to stop, take a deep breath, and wait before responding to something your ex says.

Time in your own company
Alone time is precious and rare, especially for single parents. Carve some out for yourself.

Your social support system
Invest more time in the people that really support you and less in people who judge. You can also support yourself with imagery, songs, inspirational quotes, and the like.

What else do you think would be good to pack in your “divorce suitcase”?