SELF - CARE IS ESSENTIAL DURING DIVORCEDivorce is stressful so during and after the process it is crucial to practice self-care. Learning stress reducing techniques during this life altering time can be so beneficial. Now that life has changed for you personally it is now time to look inward. Learning to focus on you and your needs should become top priority as you come to terms with the life altering changes that has occurred and accepting that it’s time to move forward to create a new life for yourself. If you become overwhelmed during this time and can’t seem to bounce back, knowing when to seek professional assistance is helpful. Also, learning to grieve the losses that you’ve experienced is necessary to accept where you are now and learning how to move forward. The three strategies below will help you better cope with divorce, enable you to practice self-care and move forward toward a positive life for yourself.
CREATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
When experiencing such a life change, it’s helpful to surround yourself with a good support system which may be comprised of family, friends and co-workers. Your local community centers such as churches, counseling centers or non-profits may offer support groups for individuals who are newly separated and divorced.
You may feel lost or isolated after divorce due to the fact that your spouse was the person with whom you shared your day, had conversation about life and with whom you made future plans but now he or she is not there. This is why having a group of supportive people in your life as well as groups who share the same or similar circumstances is helpful. Looking to yourself for fulfillment and learning to lean on your support system rather than your spouse will now become the norm.
FIND HEALTHY OUTLETS DURING AND AFTER DIVORCE
When caught in the maze of divorce, it’s often easy to focus on the losses associated but staying stuck in the maze will not enable you to move forward. Often times during marriage, there are so many chores and roles to be played that individuals “lose” themselves as to who they are. Now is the time to find healthy outlets to keep your mind active toward more positive things. Learning to re-connect with old friends may be a good place to begin. It may be difficult at first reaching out to old acquaintances and learning to participate in activities alone, but this may be the perfect way to begin. Meet one or two friends for dinner as this will give you an outing at night when you may feel lonelier. Learning a new hobby or making time for an old one will offer creative ways for you to spend your time. Search your local community to discover what it offers so you can participate and have the possibility of making new friends at these events. Many communities offer painting/art classes, culinary classes, tennis, or biking clubs.
Reminding yourself that it’s time to begin again – putting forth effort to find who you are as a person not a spouse, as man/woman not just a parent. This takes self-determination and courage so set realistic goals for one month of how you will begin to find healthy outlets. At the end of the month, reassess your goals and adjust as needed. Take one step at the time and life as a single will become easier.
CHILDREN OF DIVORCE NEED HELP TO COPE WITH DIVORCEChildren of divorce also need to learn coping skills. According to their age, this may be experienced somewhat differently. Allowing kids the opportunity to voice concerns that they may have as the transition of living between two homes is emotionally and mentally healthy. Having parents who listen to the concerns, attempt to reassure the children as well as work toward elevating problems that can be addressed in a reasonable manner is imperative. Children are often placed in the middle of this chaos and are asked to balance all of the changes flawlessly. When children of divorce have parents who realize that they will need time to adjust and they too need opportunities to find healthy outlets is beneficial. If one parent has moved to another community, allowing the children to explore what is offered for their age may help. Is there a community play center or local ice cream shop where other kids their age spend time? Allowing their friends to visit and be active in their lives when visiting at both parent’s home can bring a sense of stability.
Divorce brings about many changes but life does go on and all family members can learn to thrive. Making intentional goals toward self-care, finding healthy outlets for you and your children as well as creating a support system can assist as everyone learns to cope with divorce.
Divorce Tool Box web-based video series can help as you learn to explore self-care throughout the divorce process and beyond. It can also assist when making decisions during divorce to anticipate life after divorce so decisions are made to benefit everyone post-divorce. Learn what Divorce Tool Box is and how it works today!