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New Year's Rituals for a Fresh Start After Divorce

Whether you decided to start the divorce process this year or completed it, chances are, you may be ready to bid this year adieu. Or maybe you'd use a different choice of words?

Don't spend your precious me-time scouring the internet for ideas. I already did that for you. Here are a few clever ways you can start the New Year off on the right foot, by saying goodbye (and maybe even good riddance?) to the past 12 months:

Smudge the bad energy out

The ancient smoke-purification ritual of smudging has been used for centuries to clear negative energy – and now you can do it in (and from) the comfort of your own home! Wellness author Erin Magner writes, "Even if you're unfamiliar with the ancient practice, you've probably seen smudge sticks – you know, those fat, leafy bundles of sage that are popping up in just about every cool wellness girl's Instagram account. Many believe this potent plant has the power to shift energy into a calmer, happier state." For Well + Good, Erin has pulled together the ultimate guide to smudging, complete with a list of supplies and a to-do list:

Your no-fail guide to using sage to clear your home

For thousands of years, cultures around the world have believed that a person's energy is like perfume-once you come in contact with someone else's vibes, good or bad, they tend to linger for a while.

Write your thoughts down

For her Huffington Post article 7 Ways to Survive a Breakup, author Lora Somoza recommends writing a letter. Lora writes: "Even after the break-up, there's always a feeling of wanting to say one last thing. Or a feeling that comes up that you wish you had a chance to express. Or that perfect comeback you had wished you had said while the two of you were fighting. Well, my darling, here's your chance. You get to write him a letter. And you can write any and every little thing you've wanted to say."

The catch: after you write the letter, you're not allowed to send it. This is supposed to be a cathartic experience – not the chance to get in the last word. My personal recommendation? Burn the letter after you write it.

Create a fresh start

Marquita Herald wrote an article for Emotionally Resilient Living, 10 Surprising Ways to Create a Fresh Start, that's worth a read. I really like her list of ideas that you can implement any time, in any situation, to help create the fresh start you know you're ready for. Ideas like saying "yes" to challenge yourself to try new things, to create a "stop doing" list to give yourself permission to not do activities that aren't truly worth your while.

It's natural to equate making a fresh start with the beginning of a New Year, or when undergoing a major life change. But consider the following definitions for the term fresh start ...

Make a resolution

For The Huffington Post, writer Lindsey Ellison compiled a list of 10 New Year's Resolutions to Make After Divorce, and I think they're terrific. Her list is a great place to start if you're struggling with how to move on. From setting boundaries to journaling to why you maybe shouldn't start dating just yet, her article will help you come up with a resolution that fits your situation.

So you did it, you finally got divorced (or separated). It may have been your worst year ever, especially if you just signed the divorce papers. And now a new year is upon you, and perhaps this is the first New Year where you feel hopeful.

Cheers to your new beginning

For a lighter approach, break out the bubbly or a fancy mocktail and share a toast with a friend to say goodbye to the past year. A few silly and sarcastic toasts that may fit the bill:

  • "To alimony: man's best proof that you have to pay for your mistakes." – via Etiquette Scholar
  • "Diamonds are a girl's best friend and dogs are a man's best friend. Now you know which sex has more sense." – Zsa Zsa Gabor, via People
  • "'Tis better to have loved and lost Than to marry and be bossed!" – via Etiquette Scholar
  • Here's to the men (or women) we love, Here's to the men who love us. But if the men we love don't love us, screw them, and here's to us!" – variation of Willa Ford's song, "A Toast to Men"