When you’re in the midst of a divorce or separation, feeling stressed is a normal reaction. You’re embarking on a new journey and wondering what the future holds. Who wouldn’t be experiencing a lot of anticipation, curiosity, and grief, sometimes all at once?
A certain degree of stress can be a good thing: it gives us the energy and impetus to face challenging situations. Difficulties occur when stress impacts our ability to cope. If you’ve been experiencing any of the following situations, it’s a sign that the stress you’re dealing with has become too much:
- Trouble concentrating
- Ongoing inability to eat or sleep enough to stay healthy
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Feeling like you can no longer cope
If the pressures of dealing with the divorce, supporting your children, and preparing for your new future start affecting your daily life, these five simple but effective tips can help you manage the stress.
1. Take Things More Slowly
When you’re facing a difficult situation, the best thing to do is slow down. Divorce is a time when you’re going to be making some significant decisions, such as where you’re going to live and whether you should go back to work (if you’ve been a full-time parent). It’s hard to evaluate options when you’re stressed. If you slow down and let yourself take the time you need to think carefully about things, it can help you make the right decision and even release some stress in the process.
2. Nurture Yourself Physically and Emotionally
Commit to taking care of yourself by:
- Eating balanced and nutritious meals instead of sugary or highly-processed foods.
- Following a regular exercise routine, even if you only have time for a brisk walk at lunchtime
- Making time for activities that you know you enjoy, like reading a new book by your favorite author or relaxing in a hot bubble bath
- Surrounding yourself with positive people who support you.
These acts of self-care can help relieve anxiety, stress, and anger so that you can focus on your wellbeing during this time of change.
3. Be Willing to Learn
As human beings, we embrace certainty and structure. Divorce changes the future you expected to have, and can leave you feeling uncertain and even vulnerable. What if your spouse always handled the finances or had all credit cards or lines of credit in their name only? What if they handled all the repairs around the home?
Taking on and learning these new responsibilities and needs can seem daunting. To overcome those feelings, tell yourself you are going to see a financial planner, apply for a credit card, watch home repair tutorials on YouTube, and take other steps to become more independent. Knowledge is indeed power, so find professionals who can support your goals and focus on learning as much as you can.
4. Keep a Journal
Writing has always been powerful therapy. When stressful thoughts are keeping you up at night, write them down. Capturing them on paper is a positive and calming experience that will help you go back to sleep. When you wake up, those words can form the basis of an action plan that makes the situation seem less overwhelming.
Keeping a journal is also a great way of reminding ourselves that every cloud has a silver lining. Even in the midst of a life-changing event like divorce, spending a few minutes each day to list the things we’re grateful for (our children, our family, etc.) can restore a sense of peace and equilibrium that chases away stress.
5. Reach Out to Others
You may be the one getting divorced, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Your friends and family are there to listen to and support you, and professional support is available in the form of attorneys, financial planners, counselors, and even divorce coaches. Stress is the natural outcome when we feel alone, so reaching out can help keep it more manageable or at bay.
Although divorce can be quite stressful, it is also a brand new beginning. If you focus on the positive possibilities ahead, you can create new, exciting goals and dreams. At Bliss Law Group, we hope these suggestions help you successfully manage stress so that nothing stops you from achieving your true potential. If you need help with your divorce or any other family law issue, call us at 253-844-4412.