How To Make a Divorced Dad Sanctuary With Feng Shui
- A dad going through a divorce can be overloaded with emotions, including depression, stress and anxiety.
- There's a chance he's looking to get back in the dating game as well, which means keeping a clean bachelor pad.
- Using feng shui to declutter a home and potentially reduce some of that anxiety—not to mention making things look nice if a date arrives—could be a boost to a difficult situation.
Men who have just gone through a split can reclaim their lives after divorce. It's common, though, for them to experience challenges navigating identity and rebuilding their home life.
Coping with a relationship loss can be difficult. The potential depression that a divorced dad faces can make it hard to see the value in prioritizing himself and the state of his surroundings. Even after the wounds have healed, some men find it difficult to know how to improve a new home and how it feels and functions.
What is feng shui, and why should you care?
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice of arranging objects and furniture in a space to promote positive energy flow. It's based on the belief that objects in our surroundings have the power to influence our well-being and support feelings of comfort and balance.
"Clutter contributes to anxiety," said Lisa Yee, L.M.F.T., a marriage and family therapist based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Persistent anxiety is one of many signs of depression divorced dads may experience.
"A lot of the dads are dealing with so many other issues that decorating the home is not a priority for them," said Keith Munson, M.S., L.M.F.T., a psychotherapist at Wild Tree Wellness in Eagan, Minnesota. "Dads often feel guilty for one reason or another, even if the divorce wasn't their fault, so the idea of doing something for themselves falls completely off the list."
In the two years following a divorce, men are twice as likely to report depressive episodes than women, according to a 2007 report.
Keeping possessions from the previous marriage in the home can take a toll on one's mental health.
"If they can afford it, I tell them to walk through their space and get rid of anything that triggers negative memories," Munson said.
What are the five elements of feng shui?
The goal of feng shui is to have its five interconnected elements equally balanced throughout your home. If you have a room that feels "off" somehow, try incorporating some of these different elements to make it more comfortable and appealing:
Where do you begin if you've never decorated before?
Divorced dads should take some time to figure out what they like, Yee said. Enlist the help of outside sources if possible. Yee worked with a client who hired an interior decorator because he was a busy professional and didn't have time to meet. He took pictures and videos of his house, and the designer created a plan to fit him.
This isn't practical for everyone, but lower-cost alternatives are available.
Consider selling some of the unwanted furniture in the home or replacing it with second-hand furniture.
"A lot of the dads live on a lot less income, and most of the men I work with are paying child support and spousal support," Munson said. "So they're trying to recreate their life on a pretty limited budget."
How do you feng shui your home after divorce?
Some men may worry about finding partners who are OK dating dads. They shouldn't. A 2022 survey indicated that 92 percent of single women were open to dating single fathers.
A challenge divorced dads may encounter is hosting dates at the post-divorce home when it still shows signs of the previous marriage. Keeping photos of the nuclear family in common areas, especially those that include the ex, has the potential to negatively affect a divorced dad's dating success, mental health and sex life.
"I think one would question whether or not the person had moved on yet," Yee said.
If it's important to the kids, Munson suggests putting the photos out in common areas of the home when the kids come over, then putting them away after the kids leave. If the kids have their own rooms, try to limit those items to their spaces to provide comfort and ensure a smooth transition between homes.
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How can I feng shui my living space?
Creating a space that is kid-friendly and serves as a bachelor pad when the kids leave can help divorced dads overcome the fear of dating again.
"Try to rearrange the space so it's not the exact same," Munson said. "You can paint a room for $100 if you do it yourself, and that can also make a big difference."
It's always possible to feng shui a home, no matter the type or size.
Is space limited? Organization can help.
"I encourage divorced parents to pick up the toys and create a calm space for themselves when the kids aren't around," Yee said. "Declutter and simplify your life."
The living room is a shared area in a home, so ensure there's enough seating in the room for each member of the family. To help encourage conversation, position the furniture in a U-shaped structure when space allows.
How can I feng shui my kitchen?
If you like to entertain, kitchens are common gathering places. Let your kitchen reflect your personality. It's a blend of form and function.
Your kitchen represents nourishment and resources in feng shui. In addition to keeping your stovetop clean, it's a feng shui belief that more stove burners can attract more opportunities and sources of wealth.
Open shelving can create the illusion of more space by removing visual blocks created by clunky cabinetry.
Since houses often contain spacious kitchens, hanging wall art or painting the cabinets can help your space feel more energetic. Consider tossing old kitchenware that was acquired pre-divorce.
"You'll feel so much better cooking with Goodwill pans than you will thinking about your marriage every time you hold that frying pan," Munson said.
How do you feng shui your bedroom?
"In the bedroom itself, I'm a big advocate of having no kids' stuff, even if you're living with family," Yee said. "Seeing your kids' stuff lying around can cause a big break in arousal. Display that in the kitchen or the family room or a hallway. It has a place in the home—just not in that room."
When deciding where to put your bed in your room, the commanding position is favored in feng shui. The commanding position is farthest from the door and positioned diagonally. If the layout of the room doesn't allow for this placement, keeping your room clean and closer to minimalist styling can still go a long way.
Better sleep means better sex, so be sure to invest in some new bedding that looks and feels good. And invest in a nice bed frame and a quality mattress. Someone who starts dating a divorced man with kids will appreciate the effort put into a cozy space.
Avoid arranging the bed under a window or in the "coffin position" where your feet point out of the door, according to the principles of feng shui.
The bottom line
Keeping old furniture or decor from a previous marriage in the home can evoke negative emotions for divorced dads.
A comfortable, clutter-free space can make a positive impact on mental health.