Divorce can certainly turn your existing world upside down. Not only are you dealing with the legal and financial aspects of the divorce process, but you’re also attempting to come to terms with the realization that your marriage is over and your life is undoubtedly going to change as a result.
It can be easy to feel like your life is swirling out of control and you are powerless to influence the outcome. But that’s not the case. There are several things you can do that can help you deal with divorce and the stresses involved in getting a divorce.
Primarily, it’s important to recognize that self-care is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Taking care of yourself should always be your No. 1 priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, it’s difficult to care for others. Just remember that, throughout the divorce process, you’re going to feel angry, anxious, sad, frustrated, confused and exhausted at certain times.
The first step to deal with divorce is to acknowledge that these feelings are valid – and it’s OK to be emotional at times. Once you accept that, you’re already on your way. Your emotional reactions will lessen over time and you’ll quickly realize that venturing into an unknown future isn’t so daunting. In fact, future horizons can be exciting, rejuvenating, rewarding and completely life changing for the better.
Here are a few things you can do to deal with divorce if you’re feeling stressed or anxious because of an impending one:
It’s hard to stay positive when things seem bleak, but it’s important to realize that things will get better with time. Finding new activities that interest you and meeting new people can help you transition to a better life. Try to be flexible and look for the positive spin in every situation.
Go Easy on Yourself
This goes along with acknowledging your feelings and staying positive. Give yourself a break! You’re going through a tough time, and it’s OK to take time to cope, heal and regroup. Just remember that nobody is Superman or Superwoman. Divorce is an aspect of life that many of us have had to deal with at some point (or points) in our lives.
Most adults understand that divorce is just a part of life. Truth is, nobody’s going to be as hard on you as you probably will be to yourself. So, ease up a bit – you’re good!
We know it can be difficult, but try not to argue with your spouse or former spouse. If you’re in a discussion that begins to turn contentious, stay calm and recommend talking again later when tensions have cooled. Sometimes it’s more productive to walk away or hang up the phone, take a break, and talk about it later.
Don’t argue in front of your children. While this can be easier said than done, it’s important. As parents, it’s critical that you show your children the importance of working together to deal with divorce rather than yelling and screaming.
Don’t Go Through It Alone
If you’re having a hard time dealing with a separation or divorce, the best thing to do is share your feelings with someone you trust. Talking with a dependable friend or family member can help you get through trying times. Don’t isolate yourself, and never hesitate to ask a friend if you need help. A true friend will be glad you did.
Another approach is to seek professional help. Consider joining a divorce support group in your area or talk with a therapist or counselor. If you belong to a church or religious organization, you may also want to seek the counsel of a trusted pastor or spiritual leader. The key is to find someone you’re comfortable with, so you can speak openly and honestly about your feelings.
Don’t Make Any Hasty Decisions
If you’re going through a highly stressful divorce, don’t make any drastic decisions or changes to your life until you’ve thought things through. When deciding, weigh your options and use logical thinking. Don’t make a rash decision based on emotion. Give yourself time to think about things and be patient with the decision-making process. It’s also OK to lean on a friend or family member for support or advice if you need a second opinion on something.
Trust Your Lawyer
If you’re going through a divorce, it’s highly advisable that you hire an expert divorce attorney to protect your interests. Knowing that an experienced lawyer has your back during the process and in court can help put you at ease when handling all the complexities of a divorce. Your lawyer is there to help you understand the process, prepare documents and represent you and your interests in court. Just remember, they are not your therapist!
Finding a good divorce lawyer is simple. Many people ask a friend or relative for a recommendation, or search reviews and websites online. When you do choose a lawyer, it’s important to be honest and forthright about your concerns and expectations so they completely understand how to best serve you.
When life gets overwhelming, we can often start to neglect our body and mind. But when things amp up is exactly when you should be focusing more on your emotional and physical fitness. Make it a point to dedicate time for adequate exercise and rest each day. Try to get on a regular routine and stay away from toxins that can ultimately harm your body, like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. They will only lead to more problems.
Don’t run yourself ragged. Make sure to carve out a little time each day to relax, reflect and unwind. Many have found comfort and Zen through jogging, spinning, yoga or meditation.
Explore Your Interests
A divorce can often present an opportunity for you to connect with things you love doing apart from your spouse. Remember all those cool things you did when you were single? Now’s the time to focus on your interests and do things that you enjoy. Revisit your favorite sport and join a team, find a club that fascinates you, or dive into a fun craft project like woodworking, painting or knitting. Having a hobby is a great way to meet friends that share the same interests as you.
Volunteer and Pay It Forward
Going through a divorce can often give you a new perspective on things. Volunteering at a charitable organization or club can be rewarding in several ways. First, giving back to your community can provide a sense of self-worth and fulfillment that is unmatched. Second, it’s a perfect way to connect with thoughtful people that care as much as you do!
Talk with Your Kids
If you have kids, how you address the divorce with them will largely depend on their age and maturity level. While you shouldn’t share every detail of your divorce with your kids, it’s important to let them know that it isn’t their fault and that things will be better moving forward. Listen to your kids’ concerns and try to see things from their perspective.
If your children are younger, try to keep a stable routine on a daily and weekly schedule. Familiarity during a difficult time can help alleviate stress and keep kids on track with school and other activities.
Don’t involve your children in the conflict and don’t ask them to choose sides. It’s best to not argue with or talk negatively about your spouse or former spouse in their presence. Under no circumstances should you use your kids as messenger or a spy.