Going through a divorce can be very difficult, no matter what the reason for it may be. Divorce can turn your world completely upside down and make it hard just to get through the day. No matter how strong and stable you may look on the outside, your inner world can be crumbling around you. But that doesn’t mean you have to crumble with it.
Divorce is one of the most stressful, overwhelming, and emotional experiences a person can go through. Even if both spouses are better off apart, realizing divorce may be necessary can still be difficult to accept. This emotional rollercoaster can take a serious toll on your physical and mental wellbeing if you’re not careful.
Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can and will get through this if you practice healthy coping habits and stay focused on the positive. This is not to say you should ignore reality, but rather, accept the situation and learn how to move on in a healthy, productive way.
Here are 8 healthy coping strategies that can help you process your divorce so you can start your new life.
1. Seek support from your loved ones
Perhaps the most important thing you can do during a divorce is seek support from your loved ones. It may not feel like it now, but there are people who care about you and your wellbeing. Whether they are family members or close friends, a supportive and encouraging group of people can help you get through this difficult time in one piece. One note of caution—it is important to rely on loved ones who don’t add fuel to the fire, but offer constructive support and encouragement without creating more conflict. You may even consider joining a safe organized support group in your community or online. Whoever you may lean on during this time of emotional upheaval, make sure it’s someone you can trust to be open and honest with. When you’re surrounded by your loved ones in a safe and nurturing environment, a world of possibilities and hope will open itself up to you.
2. Practice physical and emotional self-care
Taking the time to care for yourself can help you feel rejuvenated and ready to face anything. Remember, your needs are important too. Not only does physical and emotional self-care promote overall health, it conveys to others that you value yourself and your needs. Self-care during divorce also helps manage feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. When you carve out time for yourself to address your needs, you are taking responsibility for yourself. Exercising or any physical movement can make a world of difference, especially because exercise releases “happy hormones” called endorphins. Finally, practicing self-care allows you to be better equipped to care for those you love most, like your children, parents, or siblings.
3. Take a step back and self-reflect
Whether you’re currently going through a divorce or your divorce was recently finalized, acceptance and self-reflection are essential. It may take a lot of sleepless nights and several boxes of tissues, but self-reflection will help you learn more about yourself as a person, parent, and/or partner. Most times, our lack of self-awareness causes problems in our relationships, especially when it comes to marriage. Get to know yourself again and set realistic standards for yourself and the company you keep. Don’t settle in your relationships, including the one you have with yourself!
4. Avoid power struggles and arguments
Divorce is difficult enough without constant power struggles and never-ending arguments. If you want to cope with divorce in a healthy way, try to avoid playing the blame game. A marriage takes two people to work—and it is very hard work—so try not to dwell on the past and what could’ve been if you or your spouse would’ve done or said something differently. If you do dwell on these things, resentment and bitterness is bound to boil over and cause an explosion. When you’re going through a divorce, your divorce mediator can help you and your spouse compromise and effectively communicate in a way that’s productive for everyone.
5. Don’t involve your children in the conflict
The worst possible thing you can do during a divorce is put your children in the middle of the conflict. This means, do not confide in your children, make them choose sides, or use them as a bargaining chip. If at all possible, it’s best to avoid fighting in front of your children throughout the process and even after the divorce is finalized. A high-conflict relationship between parents can negative affect your children for the rest of their lives. This can lead to a number of behavioral or mental health issues as they continue into adulthood. Children do not need to bear the burden of their parents’ relationship. Divorce mediation is a non-adversarial and less stressful approach divorce that not only benefits you, but it will benefit the children as well.
6. Explore your interests
Now that you’re getting a divorce, it’s time to learn how to be on your own again, at least for a little while. Being alone can be scary but try think of this time as an opportunity for growth—an opportunity to find yourself again. Have you always wanted to take an Italian cooking class, but never did? Do you want to learn how to play a new, exciting sport or enriching professional skill? Now is the time to go after what you truly want and to explore your interests. Find what makes you happy and go for it!
7. Learn how to let go and move on
When we experience heartache or emotional pain, it’s hard to find hope in the future or discover our sense of purpose. Everyone experiences pain; it’s natural and unavoidable. However, it’s how we deal with our pain that sets us apart. One of the best ways to heal from hurtful experiences is to learn lessons from the situation. If we focus on lessons learned, we can shift our focus on growth and momentum. When we get stuck in the past, we can become immobilized and trapped in our painful memories. As life continues on, we must learn how to let go and live our lives in the present moment. If we constantly focus on the past, we can miss the life unfolding in front of our very eyes. So, be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel your emotions, to forgive, and to heal. Doing so will help you let go of your guilt, shame, anger, and sorrow. Divorce marks an ending, but it also marks a beginning. You can use this as an opportunity to learn, grow, and find inner peace and happiness.
8. Seek Professional Help
If you’re struggling with a painful and emotional divorce, you may benefit from speaking with a professional divorce mediator on Long Island. We have a compassionate and skilled team of attorneys and therapists at New York Divorce Mediation Group, LLC who strive to help families wade through murky waters of divorce.
At New York Divorce Mediation Group, LLC, we offer divorce mediation services as a smarter alternative to costly court proceedings. We provide compassionate guidance to divorcing couples in Long Island and the greater New York metro area. If you and your partner are planning to divorce or have any questions about divorce mediation, please call us at (516) 749-5017 to schedule a consultation.