The #1 Core Skill You Need To Succeed During Your Divorce

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Divorce is a challenging and emotional process that takes a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Yes, you'll need a competent and reputable lawyer or divorce mediator. But beyond that, there is a skill you can actively work on to show up as your best self: the ability to take care of yourself in the most important ways. 

Prioritizing your well-being is critical to your well-being before and after your divorce as part of this healing journey. That doesn't mean an occasional manicure or night in with Netflix. That means truly caring for yourself so you can show up as your best self.

After all, you'll need to be present, calm, and prepared for any court proceedings or mediation meetings so you can look out for your (and, if applicable, your children's) best interest. 

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Four ways you'll improve your outcome by prioritizing self-care (& nine ways to do it well!)

Divorce can be a traumatic experience, so you must take care of yourself during this difficult time. Here are some reasons why self-care is crucial during divorce:

1. You'll competently handle stress and emotions

Divorce can bring a lot of stress and emotions, such as anger, sadness, and anxiety. Taking care of yourself helps you manage these feelings and reduces the negative impact on your mental and physical health.

2. You'll maintain your physical health

Divorce can be physically draining, so it's important to take care of your body during this time. Stress and emotional turmoil can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Practicing self-care can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.

3. You will improve your mental health

Divorce can take a toll on your mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Self-care can help improve your mental well-being by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

4. You'll set a good example for your children

If you have children, practicing self-care during divorce can set a good example for them. It shows them it's important to take care of yourself, even during difficult times, and can help them cope with the changes in their family.

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Examples of prioritizing self-care:

1. Taking time for yourself

During her divorce, Sarah made it a priority to take time for herself every day. She would go for a walk, read a book, or take a relaxing bath. This helped her recharge and cope with the stress of the divorce process.

2. Seeking therapy

After her divorce, John started seeing a therapist to help him process his emotions and heal from the trauma of his marriage ending. Therapy provided him with a safe space to express his feelings and work through his issues.

3. Setting boundaries

During her divorce, Maria set boundaries with her ex-spouse to protect her emotional well-being. She limited communication to only necessary matters and avoided engaging in arguments or conflicts.

The most profound ways to take care of yourself during your divorce:

It's important to start practicing self-care before your divorce to help prepare yourself for the emotional and physical challenges that lie ahead. Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself before your divorce:

1. Seek support

Divorce can be isolating, so you need to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Having a support system can help you cope with the emotional roller-coaster of divorce and provide a safe space to express your feelings.

2. Take care of your physical health

Prioritize your physical health by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. These habits help boost your immune system and give energy to navigate the divorce process.

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3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Make time for these practices in your daily routine to help you stay grounded and calm during this difficult time.

4. Set boundaries

During divorce, you must set boundaries with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and others involved in the process. This can help reduce conflict and protect your emotional well-being.

5. Self-care tips after your divorce

After your divorce is finalized, it's important to continue practicing self-care to help you heal and move forward. 



6. Allow yourself to grieve

Divorce is a loss, so you need to allow yourself to grieve. This may involve seeking therapy, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend or family member. Give yourself time and space to process your emotions and heal.

7. Engage in activities you enjoy

Divorce can leave you feeling lost and unsure of your identity. Engaging in activities you enjoy can help you reconnect with yourself and find joy during this difficult time. Whether it's a hobby, exercise, or spending time with loved ones, be sure to make time for activities that bring you happiness.

8. Practice having empathy for your own journey 

Be kind to yourself during this healing journey. Divorce can bring feelings of guilt, shame, and self-doubt, but it's important to practice acceptance and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can.

9. Set goals for the future

Divorce can feel like the end of a chapter, but it's also an opportunity for a new beginning. Set goals for yourself and focus on the future. This can help you move forward and find purpose and fulfillment in your life.

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Who can help you practice self-care during divorce?

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Photo by Andyone on Unsplash

During a divorce, it's vital to have a support system to help you practice self-care. Here are some people who can help you during this time:

1. Friends and family

Friends and family can provide emotional support and be a listening ear during your divorce. They can also help with practical tasks, such as childcare or running errands, to give you time to focus on self-care.

2. Therapists or coaches

Therapists or divorce coaches can provide support and guidance during divorce. They can help you process your emotions, develop coping strategies, and work through any issues that may arise during this time.

3. Divorce support groups

Joining a divorce support group can provide a community of people who understand what you're going through. These groups offer emotional support, advice, and resources to help you navigate the divorce process.



A family law attorney's perspective: 

Divorce can be a challenging and emotional experience, but practicing self-care can help you cope and heal. By prioritizing your physical and mental well-being, seeking support, and setting boundaries, you can navigate the divorce process and emerge stronger on the other side. Remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to heal and move forward.

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Scott Levin is a Family Law Attorney, Divorce Mediator, and Certified Divorce Financial Expert who specializes in helping couples divorce amicably through mediation.