Realistic coping strategies to help you adjust and feel “normal” again.
Divorce is a life crisis, whether you decide to divorce or your husband decides to end the relationship marriage. It may seem as if the rug has been pulled from under your feet. It will affect you emotionally, financially, and in many practical day-to-day ways. It may take several months or longer to adjust to your new life, but these coping strategies will help.
1. Divorce feels like the death of your hopes and dreams.
Allow yourself to grieve, to experience all the feelings of loss, Angerconfusion, and anxiety. Give yourself time to process all of your feelings so you can heal. Jamie* (not his real name) found it easy to get angry at his wife for “leaving me and the kids,” but he found it very difficult to let his feelings out. sadness And Guilt.
2. Support is critical.
Go to a friends, family or divorce support group. Sharing experiences with safe and understanding people can help you manage your feelings. Jimmy leaned on his brother, who also had one absolutefor support.
- Consider professional help If you are struggling to cope. A therapist with experience in divorce-related issues can help you develop new tools and perspectives and can help you navigate the legal process.
- Spend time with friends and family Someone who makes you feel good about yourself. Surround yourself with uplifting and positive people and activities. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you get divorced. The marriage failed, but you are not a failure. Jimmy rediscovered football and joined an adult football club.
- Avoid isolating yourself. symptom isolation depressionThis is the time when you need to connect with people. You may spend some time alone dealing with your feelings, but make an effort to talk to friends and get out of your house.
- Don’t turn to your children for support. They need you to model self-care and ResilienceThey shouldn’t feel like they need to worry about your performance. Jimmy often talked to his kids about how we “left your mom” until his eldest child begged him to see a therapist, and came to my office.
3. Take care of yourself physically.
- Focus on health: Eat well, exercise (even just walk 20 minutes a day), and sleeping. When you feel good physically, you will feel better mentally too. You should see your doctor if you cannot sleep or eat. Jimmy would often eat fast food for convenience. After he began working with a dietitian, he lost weight and lowered his blood pressure.
- pressure reduction tools Necessary: Deep breathing or belly breathing can calm your body and mind. It is considered contemplation, Mindfulness Practices, or yoga to reduce stress. When you feel grounded, you can process your emotions when they feel overwhelming.
- Avoid negativity: Use Alcohol Or drugs to deal with your feelings are physically and psychologically destructive. Your recovery will be more difficult and take longer.
4. Engage in self-care.
- The important thing is Cultivate hobbies or activities that bring you joy or relaxation. Do what makes you feel good.
- This time a chance to Personal growth and self discovery. For this reason, it is helpful to avoid entering a new relationship right away. Take the time to refresh yourself, understanding how you contributed to the breakup and what characteristics you would like to foster in yourself. Jimmy told me that he knew he had to learn how to control his anger before he could create a long-term relationship. It was after several short relationships ended abruptly when he lost his temper.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Healing takes time. Embrace the inevitable ups and downs. Try not to avoid a growth opportunity, and don’t force yourself to “go ahead” too quickly.
- New daily routine It can help you feel more stable during a time of emotional turmoil. Jamie set an alarm to wake up at the same time every day, meditate for 20 minutes, and then get ready for work. During his lunch hour, he would take a 20-minute walk and go to yoga twice a week. He told me that this structure made him feel “centered” and “normal” again.
5. Focus on the future.
- Embrace the changes If you now move to another house, or share Fatherhood and Motherhood time with your ex. Jimmy used his time off work to develop new interests and discovered a passion for painting.
- While reflecting on the past is important to understanding your role, it is important to do so Think of your own Objectives For the future. It can be helpful to develop a vision of how you want your life to look in one, two, or five years. Set realistic goals and think about the steps needed to achieve them.
- Tell yourself that you will be happy again. Give yourself permission to find happinessDespite the divorce. You deserve to be happy and have a fulfilling life.
6. Emphasize good communication with your ex.
- Try Maintain open and respectful communication With your ex, especially if you have children. Conflict between parents is the biggest factor in the harm children suffer from their parents’ divorce.
- Communicate clearly And in a neutral tone as possible, to avoid misunderstanding or triggering each other. Stick to the “BIFF” model: brief, informative, assertive, and friendly.
- Limit contact if necessary. If the communication is too argumentative or intrusive, you may need to set some clear boundaries. Jamie chose to limit communication with his ex-wife to short emails because “the sound of her voice makes my blood boil.” This is one of the ways he worked to control his anger.
7. Seek legal advice.
- Make sure you understand The legal and financial aspects of your divorce, as well as your legal rights and responsibilities. Do not sign anything until you have given yourself enough time to fully understand what you are signing.
- stay out of court, if it was possible. Learn about the divorce process options in your jurisdiction. These include mediation and collaborative divorce, both of which are confidential and allow you to make the best possible decisions for your family. Jimmy was able to successfully mediate his divorce with the help and support of his brother and family. Ten years later, Jamie has remarried and feels “I’m finally myself”.
You and your divorce are one of a kind. Take the time you need to use the above coping strategies and heal. If you find a coping method that works for you, keep doing it. One day you will notice that more days feel balanced, and life will slowly get better.
© Ann Gold-Buchu, Ph.D. 2023