People do not enter into marriage, expecting to end up divorced, but sometimes divorce happens. Although divorce rates have decreased, they still hover around 50%. While going through a divorce, most people react with emotion rather than logic. Who can blame them? Divorce can be a roller coaster ride and people just want the pain to dissipate – quickly.
Divorce is difficult. In the beginning, to help people through the process of divorce, the first thing I help people do is slow down and breathe. They want to have it all figured out. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen that way. Its a process, albeit often an uncomfortable one. I encourage them to take a time out or sit back and take some time to ponder – especially before making any major decisions as this is often a tumultuous time. This allows them the time for reason to enter their brain and some of the heightened emotion to leave.
There are many questions, legal and otherwise. What are my legal rights? What am I entitled to under the law? I always advise them to seek legal counsel. This provides honest and relevant information, allowing a person to filter information – both solicited and unsolicited – provided by family and friends. People also have many financial concerns predicated on what their specific financial situation is. They wonder how will my divorce affect me financially? How will I be able to survive? Jeff Landers, President and Founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors says, “when you’re in the middle of a contentious divorce, however, thinking financially, not emotionally can be easier said than done.” So much of what’s going on in your life during a divorce is intensely emotional. Seeking professional and expert advice in these two key areas puts the control back where it belongs – in your hands.
In addition to steering them in the right direction legally and financially, there are several things that a person can do to stay healthy emotionally, mentally, and physically while going through a divorce.
1.) Understand that divorce is a time of upheaval – Regardless of who initiated the divorce, it’s painful. Your emotions will probably go from anger and sadness to happiness and feelings of freedom. Expect this as part of the process.
2.) Give yourself a break and take it easy – Not every day has to productive.
3.) Remember that no two people will experience divorce in the same way – Your journey will be unique as you are.
4.) Create and maintain structure in your day - Too much “free time” often results in feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
5.) Learn how to silence the inner critic – Find ways to be good to yourself, less critical. Limit the “could have, would have, should have”, that often leave you feeling worse about yourself. This is dead end.
6.) Do something that you always wanted to do, but didn’t pursue – Volunteer or start a new hobby.
7.) Exercise and eat healthy – These are the healthy habits that often go by the wayside when going through a life transition.
8.) Limit your alcohol intake – When you are feeling down, this could become a conditioned response to negative feelings and set up a negative cycle.