Divorce can be one of the most stressful situations anyone can face. We’ve all met people who seem to wear their divorce on their sleeve. But here’s a tip for you as enter this process: off-loading stress onto others will often push them away, thereby creating even more stress. How do you deal with the hardship of divorce so that it doesn’t consume you? Here are 7 tips to ease you through.
Mindfulness meditation. Much of divorce stress comes from regretting the past and worrying about the future. Those negative thoughts can make a bad situation seem even worse and obscure the positives in your life. Meditating even ten minutes a day can help you be aware of the present moment so you can stop lugging around baggage from the past and worrying about things that may never happen. If you’re someone who feels that you “can’t” meditate on your own, try a guided meditation app like this one.
Eat and sleep well. This simple prescription can be anything but when you’re faced with a transition as daunting as divorce. However, not sleeping and eating enough can fast-track you to anxiety and clinical depression. The solution? Eat small, frequent meals and consider seeing a psychiatrist for a short-term trial of medication to help you sleep . Your divorce will seem more manageable when your body and mind are functioning properly.
Ask friends for help. When friends say, “I wish there was something I could do to help,” take them up on it! Give them tangible tasks, like bringing over prepared meals or watching your kids for the afternoon so you can have a break. You will find that good friends will be more than happy to help you out. Telling them specifically what you want will take the guesswork out of it for them and make it more likely that you’ll get the support you need.
Set limits. It may be tempting to work on your divorce 24/7 when you’re bombarded with paperwork, documents, and e-mails, but it’s important to set limits on the amount of time you spend preparing for your dissolution. Make an agreement with yourself that you will only work on divorce-related activities during set hours. When that time is up, get your mind off your troubles! Eat, sleep, watch re-runs of Law & Order, visit friends, do something to distance yourself psychologically from divorce so it does not consume your life.
Spend time in “no-divorce zones.” There’s more to life than divorce, so make time for activities you enjoy. Exercise is especially helpful because it boosts your endorphins and elevates your mood. What else makes you revel in the moment? Cooking? Gardening? Playing music? Doing more of what you enjoy will make the challenges of divorce tolerable.
Stay connected to friends and family. Some people isolate when they’re under stress, but avoiding loved ones will only give you more time with those pesky interlopers Gloom and Doom. If you’re concerned about money, make coffee dates or go for a hike with a friend. Focusing on your healthy relationships will help ground you in this time of flux.
Therapy. Professional counseling with a divorce therapist will give you tools to cope with the stress of divorce. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you manage anxiety and crisis situations by changing the way you think about things. Somatic therapies such as EMDR can help you process the trauma of divorce and harness internal resources so you don’t feel like you’re a victim of your circumstances. If you can’t afford therapy, you can teach yourself CBT techniques by reading books on the subject.
Remember: as bad as things may seem now, your current circumstances will change. Yes, divorce brings loss, but it also brings opportunity. You can let divorce decimate you, or you can treat it as an invitation to improve your coping skills and manifest a more meaningful life than the one you had in an unhappy marriage.
Stressed out over the legal side of your divorce? For all your divorce and family needs, our attorneys are here to help. Please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.