Are you looking for divorce advice? Experiencing a divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences your body, mind, and spirit will endure. Even amicable separations bring forth a lot of emotion and logistical challenges stemming from your life taking a different path than expected. Practising self-care is essential for long-term health and well-being.
Here are some practical ways to take care of yourself during a divorce, so you can move on with your life.
Stop Negative Thought Spirals
It’s common to have negative thoughts when going through a divorce. However, these thoughts can lead to downward spirals and vicious cycles, causing you to get stuck in hypothetical scenarios that serve no one.
In cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), there are several strategies for dealing with negative thought patterns. The first step is recognizing and labelling your negative thoughts. Then, re-framing them to assist with emotional processing and letting go.
To practice re-framing, write down the negative thought you’re experiencing and ask yourself some questions: is it true, or is it just a feeling? How is this thought helping or harming me? What would I say to a friend in this experience? Then, rework the thought to make it more positive and constructive.
For example, “I’m going to be alone forever” could become, “It’s going to take time to heal from this, but I’m worthy of love.”
Seek Professional Support in All Pertinent Areas
Divorce is typically something we only navigate once or twice in our lives. However, there are professionals who deal with divorce every day in a variety of settings. Reaching out to those professionals can help you navigate the process and get back on your feet.
Consider seeking a professional counselor to help you deal with the stress and emotions associated with your divorce. A professional can walk you through skills like thought reframing in a more detailed, personal way.
It’s also important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. According to divorce attorney Avigayil Pearlman, working with a lawyer will help you manage communications and create distancing from your ex so you can focus on yourself. Additionally, having a legal professional review everything can help you get the continued care and assets you deserve.
Finally, reach out to a financial advisor. Depending on your situation, you may need to rethink your retirement savings plans and your income situation for the immediate future.
Take Time to Reflect
Give yourself time to reconnect with the most important person in your life: you. Reflect upon your relationship and how you’ve evolved and changed throughout. Consider what you want the rest of your life to look like, what you want to leave behind, and what you want to bring into future relationships.
Going through this exercise can help you process what happened and create context for your experience so you can find peace.
Outline Goals and Aspirations
After reflecting, outline some goals and aspirations. Consider things that got put on the back-burner during your relationship or long-term bucket list experiences that you want to start planning for.
After a divorce, it’s important to have things to look forward to. The future may feel uncertain, but creating tangible goals will help get you grounded.
Nourish Your Body
It’s also common for people to neglect their physical health in the time following a divorce. Be sure to provide your body with nutrients and hydration to protect your immunity, cognition, and overall well-being. Try to engage in physical movement. It doesn’t have to be an intense exercise program; something like yoga or hiking will do.
Be sure that you aren’t diving headfirst into exercise and nutrition as a crutch to avoid feeling your feelings and processing your thoughts. Pushing yourself too hard can also be damaging. Allow plenty of time for rest, recovery, and enjoyment.
Unplug and Reconnect
One of the best things you can do for your emotional and mental health during a divorce is to unplug from social media and reconnect with nature. As tempting as it may be, don’t dig into your ex’s social or engage in online chatter. There will be plenty of people who connect with you for information who don’t have your best interests at heart.
Find ways to distance yourself from the online space and set clear boundaries for yourself and others. Take this time to get outside and enjoy the proven positive effects the outdoors can have on mental health.
Use these tips to prioritize your health and well-being during a divorce. If you have children, remember that they need a healthy, happy parent to provide them care— self-care isn’t selfish. Above all else, give yourself time; brighter days are ahead.