Going through a divorce can turn your world upside down. Everything that once felt settled and organized may now have shifted into chaos and uncertainty. These feelings of overwhelm, embarrassment, shame, outward perceptions, judgment, internal turmoil (the list goes on) can start to have a profound effect on your everyday life, mental health and ability to complete tasks.
Before you know it, heavy and hard-hitting decisions will need to be made and legal bills might begin piling up. Do you have children? How will real estate be handled? What about alimony? Finding ways to positively cope through the burden and strain of a divorce will be essential to making informed, proactive and smart decisions, so use this guide to help ease your transition and maintain positive mental health during divorce.
Lean On Your Friends And Family
Now more than ever, make time for your friends and family. Don’t push them away when they offer to help support you in this difficult time. Everyone deals with life transitions differently, and it will be wise of you to rely on your core community who know you best. Make sure you don’t suffer in silence; those close to you want to help, so allow them to. A girls night in with homemade food and movies, a heart-to-heart with your mom, a much needed catch-up with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time – all of these simple acts can help dull the pain.
Divorce is complex and deeply emotional, and if feelings start to bubble up while around your loved ones, don’t hold back. Share what is on your mind and be vulnerable. You’ll be surprised how liberating opening up is. This one-on-one time will undoubtedly help release some of the pent up, stressed energy you’ve been holding onto.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes the pain of a divorce becomes too intense to handle on your own, and seeking professional help could be the answer. It’s not uncommon for people going through divorce to suffer from depression and other mental health issues. If you feel yourself slipping into unhealthy patterns and a persistent negative headspace, seeking help for anxiety or depression may help you tackle all of the changes you are experiencing. It’s important to recognize that divorce can cause significant mood disturbances and if you don’t feel like yourself, psychiatric care may be a vital step in your recovery.
Ruminating on the past will not be a valuable part of your healing journey, but engaging in conversations with your therapist will be. They will equip you with the tools, knowledge and skills needed to mindfully move forward, at your own pace, while lessening feelings of despair and emptiness.
Limit Social Media Usage
The world of social media can be an extremely draining and toxic place, and while emotions are high during this time in your life, it’s best to avoid using these apps as much as possible. In the heat of the moment, you might be scrolling through old photos of you and your partner or see a photo of them with someone new and feel compelled to comment something out of hate, spite, jealousy, or revenge – but it’s best to err on the side of caution.
This type of behavior is only going to lead to further remorse and unhappiness later on. Under no circumstance should you ever publicly bash, insult or make claims against your soon to be ex-partner, despite your feelings of frustration, hurt and anger. This can make legal settlements, and other situations, more difficult down the road.
Spend More Time With Your Children
Studies show that children who are a product of divorce face high levels of stress and may take years to adjust. Make sure you prioritize your children’s needs and take note of any emotional difficulties they may be experiencing, specifically feelings of grief, anger and sadness. Be patient and reassure them that the divorce has nothing to do with them. As their parents, you should work together to remain civil in front of the kids, being cautious to not argue in their presence, which may further heighten their anxiety.
Integrating these steps into your routine while navigating life on your own may feel daunting, but just starting is a step in the right direction. Don’t expect everything to naturally and easily fall into place. Stepping into your own will take hard work, diligence and perseverance. Post-divorce, it’s completely normal to feel like you’re a failure.
Your self-esteem has likely been shattered and rebuilding a new life from the ground up is scary. It’s intimidating. It’s unknown. Flounder for a while and try out some new hobbies. Fail and get back up, and then fail again. This is all a part of your transformation – you’re going to find the best version of yourself along the way.