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People get divorced for so many reasons - feeling alone in the marriage, infidelity, loss of intimacy and companionship, financial stress, or simply feeling like you're wrong for one another. Whatever the reasons are, there is no underestimating how difficult the divorce process is and how gruesome the divorce pain and stress can be.
Eight Tips for coping with Divorce Pain
1. Make sure you pay attention to your emotional needs.
Be aware of sad or angry moods that don’t seem to go away. Though there will be ups and downs as you go through the divorce process – and it is a very tough process for most people -- the goal is to feel better over time and leaving the divorce pain behind you. If you cannot seem to move forward to a more balanced place emotionally, get some help. A little talk therapy, either in a group, with a friend or with a therapist, can go a long way when you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally.
2. Keep yourself physically fit.
Nothing helps our emotions bounce back better than physical activity. It will help in relieving tension, anger, and anxiety. Exercise helps to reduce the body’s level of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). Exercise also helps you cope with the strong emotions elicited by the post divorce pain and stress by naturally stimulating the production of “feel good” brain chemicals, known as endorphins.
3. Nurture yourself.
Eat fresh and nutritious foods. Surround yourself with positive people. Read a good book. Get plenty of rest. Take a hot bath. Develop a new hobby. Put effort into living a lifestyle that promotes feelings of high self-worth and a positive outlook. This post in the Huffington Post talks greatly about self-care, which is immensely important in this process that'll help you be the best person that you can be.
4. Let go of problems that are beyond your control.
Pick your battles carefully and learn to move on from things that you cannot change. Remember: If you could not control your spouse’s thoughts, actions, and priorities while you were married, you certainly will not be able to control them any better now that you are getting divorced. Give your mind and emotions a rest by focusing on what you do have control over: yourself.
5. Give yourself permission to feel.
What we do with the emotions we are feeling, whether positive or negative, plays a big role in the quality of life we experience. Try not to allow your feelings to cause you to seek revenge or play the victim. If you are hurt or angry, it is best to find someone safe to vent to and get those feelings out. Also, know that heavy drinking and drug use will delay the healing process and could get you into serious trouble if you are already on edge and emotionally volatile.
If you start feeling better, go with it. Smile. Laugh. You deserve to be happy, but it is only you that can make that a reality. Be confident that you can have a better life and you will.
6. Don't make hasty decisions. Seek good advice.
When you are living through a highly stressful situation, it is often difficult to get a clear head. Unfortunately, in a divorce situation – when most people are emotionally off-kilter – you are called upon to make all kinds of serious decisions that cannot wait until you are back to “normal”. When you can, take time to think things through and thoroughly weigh all your options.
Before you make major decisions, seek out the opinions of professionals that know what they are talking about, have experience, know the right questions to ask and are good listeners, e.g., financial planners, divorce financial analysts, CPAs, divorce attorneys, therapists, career planners, academic counselors.
7. Be sure to make time for fun. Be social.
Remember to laugh and play. Schedule activities that bring you pleasure and participate in them regularly. Maintain a close circle of friends and socialize often. If you do not have friends that you can count on, now is the time to seek and join groups that will provide companionship and the potential for friendships. Do not isolate yourself from others. You can still choose to be happy without necessarily forgiving the wrongdoer.
8. Let go and move on. Forgive, Accept.
It will take time to heal from the divorce and your feelings of loss. Eventually, though, the goal is to let go and move on to a better life than you had while you were married. If you feel emotionally stuck for too long, consider a new tactic – get professional help, learn meditation, change a part of your everyday habits, refresh your lifestyle.
It will also be important to look inward and own your part in the demise of the marriage (which might not be now, but might be something of value to work on down the road). Forgive yourself.
At some point down the road a little, or now (depending on who you are), make an effort to forgive your spouse. If you cannot forgive, or do not want to forgive, at least accept them for the person they are.