Ellie Sakrzewski, owner of The Big Blow, is no stranger to divorce.
She went through her own in 2014, after moving to Singapore 13 years prior with her then-husband, and having a son. Before that, Ellie had been a hair and makeup stylist in Tokyo, Paris and other major cities.
When her marriage broke down, Ellie says she was concerned about her ability to provide for herself and her son. But, she wasn’t ready to give up on SG. “My life was here, my networks were here,” says Ellie, who is originally from Australia. “I wanted to keep stability for my son.”
According to researcher Dr. Yvonne McNulty, who has studied hundreds of divorcing expat couples in SG, many “trailing” spouses find themselves in Ellie’s position. Particularly for women who feel they have “given up” a career to follow their partner, she shares, “Nearly all of them regretted that they had become so dependent on their spouse, not realising that by doing so, they had limited their options for what they could do during the divorce. It impacted the lawyer they could obtain; their ability to stay in Singapore and live a half-decent life; their ability to make choices about housing, schools, and so on.”
These are the 3 things she says got her “off the couch” after divorce. Read on to find out!
Post-breakup, her best friend gave her a 90-minute session with a life coach. “It was the best gift I’ve ever gotten,” says Ellie, who credits this coach with helping her start work again as a certified yoga teacher. The coach also made her list out her life achievements – “rather than focus on my failures,” Ellie recalls. Before long, she realised she’d always loved doing hair and makeup, and was inspired to register her business in late 2014. By June 2015, she’d opened her popular salon at Cluny Court.
“If you can’t afford a life coach, have a good friend to talk to,” says Ellie, who cites her best friend’s role and other pals who rallied around her. But, she notes, “It’s important to remember your friends need you just as much as you need them.”
Last, Ellie recommends that people “find their sport” – whether it’s walking, cycling or “whatever you like doing,” she says. “I rode horses every morning during my divorce. It’s what saved me.”
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