If you’re starting over after years of being married, you’re not alone. In 2021, 689,308 Americans got divorced according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention. Ending the life you started with someone may mean being uprooted from everything you know, healing from old wounds and starting again. One of the ways to get through such a challenging season is through intentional self-care and the support of your community.
Both of these things helped Rene Mondy, a therapist in Atlanta, and the founder of the Dear John Box & Registry when she went through a divorce 10 years ago. She is now remarried with two sons.
“Dear John The Box is really about helping women tap into their ‘zone’ where they feel most positive and creative about their new beginning,” Mondy tells ESSENCE. “It brings the intent, the purpose and the action together.”
Ten years ago, Mondy began an in-person divorce support group for women throughout Atlanta. However, the pandemic put a wrench in those meetings in 2020, which is when the founder got the idea of “delivering love via mail.” This act of kindness then expanded into the registry she has today.
Dear John boxes are meant to make accessing that zone easier, be it by having a new journal to facilitate the healing process or a bath soak to help you relax and ground yourself.
“For me, the ‘zone’ was moments during my prayer and affirmation time,” says Mondy. “That’s where the good energy in my circumstance revealed itself and gave me the motivation to carry on. For others, it can be when they are enjoying nature, exercising, listening to a favorite song, or time with a favorite friend.”
As someone going through a divorce, you can start a registry and invite friends and family to purchase things from the list for you. For instance, if you’ve moved into a new home as you start over on your own, you may need fresh kitchen appliances.
“Similar to registries for other occasions, the Dear John registry prompts them to envision what their successful new beginning looks like. They then select products from the registry needed to make it happen,” Mondy says.
The box can also be a creative way to communicate your needs with loved ones post-breakup. To make the experience more intimate, women can add notes to each product they choose for their registry that describes why that product is significant and how it may help them move forward. There are also safety precautions in place so the registry owner’s address remains private.
In addition to creating a registry, women can choose to sign up for a post-breakup subscription box, which includes items like therapy aids and wellness accessories.
If you know someone going through a divorce, you may wonder how you can show up for them. Mondy suggests showing them new ways to love and helping them address any fears they have. Additionally, you can help your loved one identify patterns as it relates to how they show up in relationships. In summary, helping your loved one go through the process of self-reflection can help them heal and identify lessons they can carry into future relationships.
“I’ve seen clients start over after ending a long-term relationship undergo an incredible transformation with the help of their friends,” says Mondy.
To start a registry, sign up for a subscription box, or buy a post-breakup gift, visit the Dear John The Box website.