Going through a divorce can be emotionally challenging. It’s important to take care of yourself and practice good self-care in order to manage your affairs, heal, and move on in a healthy way.
It is especially vital to learn self-care practices if you have children. They will be confused and grieving and will need you to be there for them.
How to Take Care of Yourself During a Divorce
Here are some self-care tips to help navigate this difficult time:
1. Seek Support
Surround yourself with a support network—friends, family, a therapist, and support groups. Talking about your feelings can help in processing emotions. It is essential to find support that is healthy and which you can trust.
Many couples find themselves struggling to find a healthy support network during a breakup because many of their acquaintances are mutual friends. Venting or talking about your relationship problems can be uncomfortable with people who know both you and your ex.
This is where a support group or therapist can be valuable. Even if you feel you have no one to talk to, you can find support, encouragement, and a listening ear through therapy, group meetings, or even online counseling.
It’s also essential to make sure you have legal representation: find a local lawyer through searches such as “divorce lawyer Norwalk CT” for qualified, trustworthy recommendations.
2. Take Care of Your Health
Physical health is a huge part of self-care. Work on maintaining a healthy routine. Lifestyle choices such as eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep are vital. Physical health can significantly impact emotional well-being.
For example, if you aren’t sleeping well, your cognitive ability will be lower, it will be harder to focus, and you will have a more difficult time processing emotions in a healthy way.
If you are eating a poor diet, your immune system will suffer and you will feel tired and lethargic. When you get hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, from eating poorly or skipping meals, you are likely to be irritable and “hangry”. Focus on physical health to help yourself through this difficult time.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Many experts recommend mindfulness exercises for self-care, better mental health, lowering stress, and easing anxiety. Engage in mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
These practices can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm which is helpful when going through a life-altering situation such as a separation.
If you have children, talk to their therapist or pediatrician about practicing mindfulness together to help them process their own stress and fears in a healthy way.
4. Set Boundaries
You can’t have healthy relationships without having boundaries, so it’s essential to establish clear boundaries with your ex-partner. This is difficult for most couples because there are usually pre-existing communication struggles.
Boundaries can look very different depending on your relationship dynamics and past. Healthy boundaries could involve limiting communication to essential matters and giving yourself space to heal.
For people with children, consider family counseling to learn how to co-parent and set healthy boundaries with your children’s other parent.
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5. Allow Yourself to Grieve
Grieving is healthy and natural, and unless you take the time to process your feelings, you won’t be able to heal and create a new life. Try to accept your emotions. It’s okay and normal to feel sad, angry, disappointed, or lost.
It is also okay to sometimes feel excitement or relief. There are no invalid or unacceptable emotions. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship, and seek therapy if needed to work through these emotions.
6. Engage in Self-Discovery
One healthy way to take care of yourself is to work on self-discovery. Use this time to reconnect with yourself and relearn who you are, as an individual. Many people feel a bit lost after years of being a couple and are no longer sure who they are away from their partner.
Explore hobbies, take up new activities, and pursue interests you may have set aside during the marriage. Use therapy and counseling as well as your support group as good resources to help you in the self-discovery process.
7. Focus on the Future
The future is bright. There is no reason to stay stuck in the past or focus on what you have lost. While it’s important to acknowledge and process the present, looking toward the future can provide a sense of hope.
Set goals, both short-term and long-term, to create a positive focus. Work through your pain and loss through therapy and counseling so that you can learn to move on and won’t feel left behind.
8. Practice Self-Compassion
Be kind to yourself. Avoid self-blame and negative self-talk. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a friend going through a similar situation.
It’s essential to help yourself get better and move on, and negative talk, a pessimistic attitude, or a fearful outlook will hinder your progress.
If you struggle with this, a gratitude journal or similar practice can help you change your mindset and learn to be kinder to yourself.
9. Limit Stressors
Divorce, like other life changes, is an incredibly stressful time. Not only are you experiencing the loss of your marriage or relationship, but you are also having much of your life rearranged and redefined, from where you live, to your relationships with other friends and family members, in-laws, and your own children.
Make sure that you reduce stress where you can in order to make this process less difficult. Identify and reduce stress in your life where possible. This could mean minimizing exposure to triggers or situations that exacerbate negative emotions.
Minimize stress at work by doing less, taking on fewer projects, and taking time off for mental health breaks as needed. Minimize parenting stress by utilizing resources such as daycare and family members to give yourself breaks as needed.
10. Take Your Time
Healing takes time. Don’t rush the process or you will make it harder to move on and you will end up self-sabotaging.
It’s okay if you move on slowly or if you need time and space before you feel ready to make positive changes like moving into a new house, purchasing new furniture, handling a family holiday, and other stressful or hard situations.
Allow yourself the space and time to heal at your own pace while making sure you don’t stay stuck in the past.
Remember, self-care during a divorce is crucial for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It’s about nurturing yourself during a challenging period and allowing yourself the grace to heal and grow from the experience. Prioritize self-care so you can be at your best for yourself, your friends, and your children.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate about writing about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology, and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.