Divorce Self Care

Divorce can be an incredibly stressful time for many. A lot of people prefer to avoid divorce at all costs and will often prolong an unhappy marriage. Divorce is expensive, the family is pulled apart, and conflict kicks into overdrive. When it comes down to splitting assets and family division, you see a different side of your former spouse – and yourself. It’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression during the uncoupling transition. When you lose a partner, you experience new forms of stress, including financial, emotional, sexual, and physical. Due to the amount of stress that one endures during divorce, self-care should be a priority. Here are some tips for self-care to help establish mental health balance during a divorce:

1.) Establish a support system: It’s important to surround yourself with people who you can trust and rely on to have your back during the stressful time. Having a support network can help you with achieving emotional balance during a divorce. They become your backbone and are there for you on a consistent basis. Whether it’s going out to dinner at the end of the week or crying on a shoulder about the things that happened in court, a support system can help stabilize you by knowing that you are not going through this battle alone. Structuring your support system is important, as you don’t want to drain those that are consistently there for you.

2.) Going to therapy: While therapy is a part of your support system, it is different from friends and family. A therapist can provide education and objectivity. Therapists are also a consistent form of support and can help you manage your emotional turmoil around the divorce. More importantly, if serious concerns around your emotional health or the relationship dynamics of a high conflict divorce arise, the therapist can help guide you with appropriate next steps to take.

3.) Scheduling time to talk with your attorney and researching your case: A good rule of thumb is to never walk into a courtroom without an attorney, uneducated about your case, or without communicating with your attorney. It’s always important to be able to talk with your lawyer, especially prior to going to court, as you want to be informed about your case. More importantly, it is essential to be able to speak the same language as your attorney and be familiar with the concepts that they are advising you of when going to court. It builds trust between you and your lawyer; plus, it decreases the likelihood of negative surprises or unknowns when going to court. Writing down questions and discussing with your attorney can help you be better prepared for the reality of what’s going on in court. It’s helpful to ask clarifying questions and do your own research around divorce laws in your state. You want to be as well informed in court as you can, especially when decisions are being made about your future.

4.) Having fun: Scheduling time in your week to have something to look forward to can also help keep your spirits elevated. It’s good to have something to look forward to on a regular basis that can increase your mood and take your mind off of the stress of what you are going through. Some suggestions would be watching a comedy film, making and dancing to an upbeat playlist, or going out to dinner with friends.

5.) Taking a mental break: Be sure to take time for yourself where you are intentional about stepping away from all roles and obligations and dedicating time to yourself. If even it’s only for a few minutes a day, taking the time to mentally decompress can make all the difference for you. Some suggestions include taking a shower or a hot bath, writing in your journal for a few minutes each day, meditating, or just lying in for a few minutes and reflecting on your day.

While divorce is stressful, it’s important to remember that it should not consume your life. Reserving your energy while going through a legal battle is essential.

This blog was written by Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC. Dr. Jones is a licensed psychotherapist in California who specializes in helping women heal from narcissistic abuse. Dr. Jones has a podcast called A Date With Darkness, which is a podcast dedicated to educating those who are healing from trauma and abuse in their relationships. To contact Dr. Jones, please visit www.drnataliejones.com.