Divorce can be one of the hardest things a person can go through, as it is a major life-changing event. You have so many different things to consider, from monetary issues to day-to-day life. It’s even more challenging when there are children to consider. Make time to gather yourself and ground yourself so you can push through the obstacles of divorce.
You will likely feel anger, blame, sadness, lonely, guilt, betrayal and an array of other emotions as you go through your divorce. Allow yourself to feel each of these feelings in the waves that they come in. It’s important to give yourself permission to feel your feelings and grieve what you’ve lost. Going through a divorce is a loss; it does not matter what the circumstances are. Avoid stalking your ex or trying to get revenge. Your energy and attention should be put on yourself. You need to take of yourself to help heal yourself and, eventually, to move on with your life.
Major emotional upset can often affect you physically, as well. You may find that you want to sleep all the time. You can’t seem to sleep enough. You may not eat at all, or you find yourself overeating. Try to eat a healthy diet and participate in some form of exercise that you enjoy. Go for a walk, swim, hike, ride a bike, join a yoga class or do something every day to take care of yourself. Exercise provides a natural boost of endorphins that typically make you feel better physically and emotionally. Abstain from partaking in harmful behavior, such as drugs, alcohol, promiscuity or other unhealthy acts, as these can hurt you and your children more than anything else.
Scale back on some of your responsibilities if possible, such as work projects. Make a list of things you must do, such as renting an apartment or cleaning out the garage, to remind yourself of what needs to be done and feel a sense of satisfaction each time you are able to check something off your list. Follow a daily routine to establish a sense of normalcy in your life and to take control of what you can, especially when there are a number of things you can’t control as you go through your divorce.
Talk to your children as openly and honestly as you can about what’s going on. Avoid talking negatively about your partner to your children. Your problems with your ex should not become your children’s problems. Instead, allow your children to make-up their own minds and maintain as healthy a relationship with the other parent as possible. Set aside special time to just talk, play and be with your children. Get them books about children coping with divorce and find a professional for them to talk to if you notice major behavioral changes or unsafe behaviors.
Choose your battles wisely; some things are just not worth fighting over. Decide on what’s important for you, whether it’s a family heirloom, custody or a pet, and let everything else that doesn’t matter so much go. It’s not worth the energy or anguish to fight over every single thing just to be spiteful or to keep your ex from getting something because it’s important to him.
Avoid rushing into a new relationship. Take the time to rediscover yourself, and take care of yourself before trying to commit to someone else. If you feel the need to have a new bond in your life, consider volunteering at a hospital, nursing home or even adopt a new pet.
Find a network of trusted adults who you can call on to talk to. Choose people who are non-judgmental and supportive, whether it’s friends, relatives or support groups. Start a journal to jot down your deepest thoughts, concerns or feelings any time you feel the need. Express yourself so that you can begin the healing process. Take up a new activity, such as joining a club or taking on a yoga class, to do something that you want to do and give you the opportunity to meet new people.
- man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com