If you’re going through a divorce, then you don’t need us to tell you that it’s one of the most stressful things that someone can undergo. According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale, it’s the most emotionally taxing thing an adult can experience, barring the death of a spouse. It’s not unusual for divorce to precipitate problems like anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks.
Stress has several meanings, but whether it’s mental or physical, stress is pressure exerted by an outside force, usually in excess of what we can comfortably withstand. For this reason, stress is most often used to refer to something that makes us feel overwhelmed and out of control.
What most people don’t realize is that even when the stressor turns out to be a good thing, that doesn’t minimize the emotional toll that it takes. The mental strain of adjusting to a new way of being, and working through all attendant emotions, can make just about anyone feel like they’re drowning.
One of the most taxing things about divorce is that it usually comes with a lot of attendant worries and changes. For example, you might be moving to a new place, or even living in the same place, but adjusting a lot of your regular routines and interactions. You might need to deal with an adjustment in your financial situation. You probably have to absorb and counter a lot of interpersonal conflict, whether that’s just with your former spouse, or you also have to navigate negativity from friends, family, in-laws, and children. To top it all off, you have to deal with the paperwork of divorce, including court dates, debates over custody and possessions, and financial expenditures that you really don’t want to deal with.
Along with all of this comes the emotional toll of grieving the end of a relationship that was as much a part of your life as your morning toothbrushing routine.
Self-Care during Divorce
For all of these reasons and more, practicing self-care during divorce is essential. “Self-care” might look different to different people, but it’s important that you take measures to protect your mental health, and put time aside to do things that enrich your life and give you something to look forward to.
First off, do what you need to do make sure that the paperwork is under control. Hire a lawyer, or a mediator, who treats you with compassion, and whom you can trust. Reserve a few days when you can talk to your bank, make the calls you need, and file the necessary paperwork, instead of letting it drag out and continue to weigh on you.
Next, reach out to friends and family who are helpful during this time. Ask for what you need, and talk out your concerns. If you feel like you need more help than what your friends can readily offer you, think about counseling in order to help you manage this difficult transition.