When bad things happen (and for most, divorce is a bad thing), it can trigger a number of emotions. Depending on how you process what is happening, your happiness can return, or your emotions can get away from you and you can find yourself feeling emotionally drained. If you don’t properly deal with the divorce stress and negative emotions, the consequences can begin to slowly affect you in deeper ways. You may develop trust issues that make it harder for you to move on in a new relationship, your self-confidence could take a nose-dive, and emotional stagnation could cause extreme self-sabotage. If you follow the advice and steps listed below, not only can you survive your divorce, but you can also thrive afterward.
Pay Attention to Your Emotional Needs
Find a support group to participate in and/or a therapist to talk with. A little talk therapy can go a long way when you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally. It's important for you to take responsibility for your own emotional well-being at this time of adversity and make sure that you nurture yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Stay Physically Fit
Stay as active as possible by keeping a regular exercise routine. Nothing helps our emotions bounce back better than physical activity. It will help in relieving tension, anger, and anxiety. Regular exercise is a great way to improve emotional well-being and elevate your mood, too.
Do Things That Nurture You Emotionally and Physically
Read a good book, get plenty of rest, take a hot bath, develop a new hobby, eat healthy and nutritious foods, and surround yourself with positive people. Put effort into living a lifestyle that will promote feelings of good self-worth and esteem during this time of adversity.
Let Go of Problems That Are Beyond Your Control
If you are faced with an uncomfortable or painful situation, learn to let it go; take some time to figure out what is best for you, and then come back to it. Stay focused on what you have control over and let go of the rest.
Refuse to engage in conflict with your ex-spouse. If the two of you can't be around each other without arguing, there is no shame in walking away.
Give Yourself Permission to Feel
Emotions are normal, whether they are negative or positive. What we do with the emotions we are feeling plays a big role in the quality of life we experience. Avoid destructive activities such as drinking or drugs when trying to deal with your feelings.
Don't allow your feelings to cause you to seek revenge, play the victim, or become abusive toward your spouse. If you are hurt or angry, it is best to find someone safe to vent out to and get those feelings out.
Change Any Expectations You Have
No one has any control over the feelings and actions of another person. We might think that during our marriage we had some control, but we did not. Now that there is a divorce in process, we have even less control than before.
Let go of trying to control any aspect of what your spouse may feel or what actions they will take. Let go of what you feel the outcome should be and learn to accept whatever might happen.
Don't Make Any Hasty Decisions
When you are living in a highly stressful situation, any decisions or changes to your life should not be made until you have thought of all the consequences. Take time to think things through and thoroughly weigh all your options. When making decisions, use logical thinking instead of emotional thinking to guide your decision making. Give yourself time and be patient with the decision-making process.
Make Time for Fun
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. Do not isolate yourself from others. If getting out and enjoying life means forcing yourself to do so, then so be it. You'll find that once you are out engaging in fun activities, you'll feel less stressed.
Let Go and Move On
Take the time needed to heal from the divorce and those feelings of loss. Try to look inward and own your responsibility in the problems that led to divorce. Forgive yourself and your spouse and don't allow the issues from this marriage to follow you into new relationships.
Taking time to identify what caused the divorce and to change what you need to change about the way you related to your ex will only help you move on after the divorce in a more productive manner.
Up next: A step-by-step guide for those thinking about divorce.