Even when you’re sure that ending your marriage is the right decision, divorce is an extremely stressful ordeal. These tips will lessen the psychological and physical toll, so that you can get through the process with greater ease:
- Know that it’s normal to feel crazy when you’re getting divorced. Facing that your marriage is over and then figuring out how to dismantle your partnership and move into a whole new life can be hugely disorienting. You are likely to feel relieved, uncertain, excited, scared, angry, confused, liberated, and sad – back and forth and sometimes all at once – and you may find yourself doing and saying things that seem completely irrational. To ground yourself, remember that there’s no way to transition from one major life chapter into the next without emotional distress. Accepting your thoughts and feelings, even if they’re all over the place and really distressing at times, will make the roller coaster ride a little less rocky.
- Make your health your top priority. Good habits like eating well, exercising sufficiently, and sleeping enough can fall away amid the overwhelming distraction of divorce. It’s really hard to focus on what’s good for you when you’re so preoccupied, but you must keep yourself nourished, fit, and rested to move through divorce in one piece. So do whatever it takes – join a gym, hire a personal trainer, go to Weight Watchers – to stay on track with routines that you know will keep your strength and stamina up.
- Surround yourself with support. There’s nothing like divorce to make you feel alone and isolated, so it’s especially important to reach out and connect with people who care about you. Call on friends and family who are positive and hopeful about you and your future, and distance yourself from negative people who drain your precious energy and confidence.
- Practice balanced escapism. Divorce is a serious matter that can really wear on your head and heart, and it’s essential to lighten things up and take the edge off when you can. This means treating yourself regularly to pleasant diversions like mindless TV, coffee with your best friend, frivolous reading, cracking up at a comedy club, a weekend at a retreat center if you can swing it. You get the picture.
- Get therapy. One of the best things you can do to survive divorce is enlist an experienced psychotherapist. You may be tired of talking about the breakdown of your marriage, but venting to a professional will help you to work through your feelings, get needed perspective, make smart decisions, and ultimately grow from the experience. To find the right therapist, consult the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.
- Get support for your children. Research consistently shows that children are better off with divorced parents than they are with unhappily married parents. And though you’re doing the right thing for your kids by ending a bad situation and moving on, the transition is likely causing them stress. Kids First is a Maine organization devoted to helping children adjust as well as possible to divorce. Support may also be available at your child’s school.
Ready to move forward? Click here to start the collaborative process.
Book Recommendations For Coping With Divorce:
Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Rebuilding Your Life by Abigail Trafford
Do Your Divorce Right: Straight Talk from Family Court Judges by Andrew M. Horton and David Kennedy
For Better or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered by Mavis Hetherington
Helping Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by Gary M. Neumann
How to Survive the Loss of Love by Peter McWilliams
Mom’s House/Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci
Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher
What About the Kids? Raising Your Children Before, During and After Divorce by Judith Wallerstein
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron