Divorce is a hugely difficult process. I can relate because I went through one after 26 years of marriage. It takes a huge toll, emotionally, physically and financially but there are ways to minimize the affect. Here are 5 ways to take care of yourself during a divorce.
1. Don’t make it ugly
You were once in love with this person, right? If you are the one who wants the divorce, try your best to use compassion and respect. The more you can do that, the less likely that things will escalate and get ugly. Even if you aren’t the one who wants the divorce, remember that staying with a spouse that no longer wants to be with you will cause more suffering. An ugly divorce will cause more anguish and the bitterness will last for years. If you have children, remember that your spouse will always be in your life in some way and the better the divorce process, the more likely you will be able to move on and not resent your ex or create family strife when you inevitably see him or her at family events. Do what you can to have an “amicable” divorce. If you can settle your divorce, you will be able to get on with your life, maybe a new and better life, all the more quickly.
2. Take responsibility
Both spouses contribute to the relationship issues that caused the divorce. Sometimes there is a situation where one spouse is more at fault but there are always two sides to a divorce. Admitting to co-responsibility will enable you to see what your role was and how you can prevent it from happening in future relationships, which can be very empowering and also an opportunity for self growth.
3. Talk it out
The feelings you have during a divorce have to be processed in order to move on. It’s OK to feel crazy and have wildly fluctuating emotions. After all, you lost someone you thought you would love the rest of your life with. Find a friend or a therapist to vent your thoughts. Don’t bad mouth your spouse publicly, and don’t put anything negative on social media. Whatever you do, spare the children. They don’t need to hear negative comments about their other parent and it can damage their relationship with you as well.
4. Take care of yourself
Exercise, sleep and nourishing your body will help you cope with what is going on emotionally. Exercise will lower stress and increase the hormones and other chemicals that will make you feel better. Feeling physically stronger and sexier can improve your self esteem at a time you really need an emotional boost. Be kind to yourself and try to get plenty of sleep. Set a bedtime and stick to it. And make an extra effort to spoil your body with healthy food. It’s easy to indulge yourself with sweets and junk but that’s a short term fix and it won’t make you feel better in the long run. Think of other ways your can spoil yourself right now. This is an important time for self love.
5. Get support from friends
Your friends and family can help you get through this rough patch in your life. Losing your spouse can bring intense feelings of fear and loneliness and this is a good time to deepen your relationships. Try to surround yourself with upbeat people and specifically ask for help to keep you sane and healthy and bring fun into your life. This is a good time to join new groups, make new friends and try new things. You may discover a whole new you, or the you that you lost in your marriage, and that will help you feel better about yourself and ultimately about your breakup.