Women Who Do These 5 Little Things Are Way Better At Handling Divorce

Inject a little calm into your perpetually overwhelming life.

Last updated on Apr 19, 2024

Woman journaling post divorce Los Muertos Crew | Unsplash

Divorce is such a trip, tossing you head first into a largely unfamiliar world. You’re suddenly forced to navigate situations (and make hard decisions) you’ve never faced before. You’re living alone (and wondering if you’ll live alone for the rest of your life). You’re handling your finances or what’s left of them. You’re building a personal relationship with your kids in a new way. You’re working with an attorney and legal system that doesn't know (and sometimes doesn’t seem to care about) you and your situation. And, hopefully, you’re standing up to your ex (maybe for the first time).


It's a lot! No wonder you feel like divorce is eating you alive. The constant overwhelm often leads to profound anxiety, frustration, and sadness, which creates more overwhelm. It’s a vicious cycle. And, you worry your friends will stop taking your calls because you feel so needy. So, what can you do to manage the stress without losing your mind?

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Women who do these 5 things are way better at handling divorce.

1. They take deep breaths

I know it sounds ridiculous on the surface (and even patronizing to your real sense of overwhelm), but here's a fact: When you're under stress, your breath gets shallow. And shallow breathing increases anxiety. (See the vicious cycle here?)


Deep, calm breaths, however, offer these benefits: managing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, regulating heart rate, sparking brain growth, improving immune function, and boosting energy. And, let’s face it, these are all things you need to handle divorce (and all of its drama) well.



2. They hug themselves

Yup, this is another seemingly silly idea, but there is scientific evidence behind this tip. Psychology Today reports that hugging increases your sense of security, positive feelings, and better health. PsychCentral states that you can receive these benefits simply by hugging yourself or imagining a hug. (If you do choose to imagine a hug, don’t imagine hugging your ex. That opens another whole can of worms.)

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hugging herself to reduce anxietyPhoto: Krakenimages.com via Shutterstock

3. They practice the "bubble" exercise

I learned this technique while processing my overwhelming feelings during my divorce. It helped me feel whole again, less drained, and less like divorce was eating me alive bit by bit (or rather, bite by bite).

To perform the bubble exercise: Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take a few calming, deep breaths and imagine yourself surrounded by a protective bubble. Once you imagine your bubble, notice its color, thickness, and texture. Play with making the bubble thicker to prevent unwanted interruptions, like the hurtful texts your ex keeps sending. Experiment with how you can adjust your protective bubble to support you in finding a calm, safe place.


4. They write their feelings down

The University of Rochester Medical Center found that journaling helps manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Huffington Post reports ten additional benefits of journaling: stretching your IQ, evoking mindfulness, achieving goals, boosting emotional intelligence, boosting memory and comprehension, strengthening self-discipline, improving communication skills, promoting healing, sparking creativity, and enhancing self-confidence.

Journaling costs almost nothing (just the price of a pen and some paper,) and you can do it almost anywhere. It sounds like a perfect activity to embrace during divorce!

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5. They seek out real support

Divorce is one of the loneliest life events you can experience. It’s inherently isolating because few people understand it unless they’ve been through it themselves. Maybe it's time to join a divorce recovery support group (I did, and it helped so much!), and work with a therapist or even a divorce coach.

Having space to talk freely with a group (or an individual) who truly understands what you’re going through is liberating, calming, and incredibly heartening. Sometimes, knowing you're not the only one dealing with this madness is enough to make it feel less daunting.

Now, all of this said — though these tips will take the edge off, they won’t magically make you immune to the stress of your divorce or that horrible feeling of being eaten alive by all the demands. You'll still have to face those challenges. But that's what strong women do ... they handle things. Just pause to take care of yourself in the process.

With continued practice, the tips above offer you much-needed room to think more clearly and make better decisions.




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Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage, divorce, and co-parenting has appeared on MSN, Yahoo, Psych Central, Huffington Post, Prevention, and The Good Men Project, among others.