162527802In the list of life’s most stressful events, divorce is near the top of the list. Divorce can cause health concerns, sleeplessness, job performance problems, distraction, and short tempers. It can damage relationships with others and, obviously, can be very hard on children. People going through divorce often exert great energy trying to keep things together, while also trying to make decisions with long-lasting implications. It is important to find ways to lessen stress during divorce and keep calm. Here are four tips to managing stress during divorce:
  1. Find a professional team that makes you feel comfortable and you trust. A supportive team, starting with an attorney, will help you feel supported and more comfortable with the decisions you are making. Your attorney will be with you along the journey. Often your attorney will see you cry, get angry, and express fear. Other team members, like a financial neutral or child specialist, can also help you feel supported and help the process move forward in a positive manner. Your team should not cause you stress. Just the opposite – it should help you feel safe and lower anxiety.
  2. Focus on your own well-being. It is important to make sure you exercise self-care. Take care of yourself. Get sleep, exercise regularly, and reach out to friends for enjoyment and relaxation. The better you are personally, the better outcomes you will find in the divorce process.
  3. Be mindful of your future. Not knowing what the future holds can be stressful. Learn all that you can during this process about your future so you can alleviate this concern. Make sure you grasp the financial implications and parenting decisions being made. Ask lots of questions and keep your long-term goals in mind. The more you know, the more comfortable you will be moving forward.
  4. Consider a collaborative divorce. A litigation process – leaving decisions up to a third party – is inherently stressful. The adversarial nature of that process can add to the anxiety. On the other hand, negotiating outside of the courts and using a collaborative process can help you maintain control of the outcomes and help build a more positive co-parenting relationship.  You can learn more about collaborative divorce here.
Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. In fact, research shows that ending a marriage is second only to the death of a spouse as a predictor of illness. So in order to stay healthy, it makes sense to incorporate stress-reduction techniques early and often throughout the process. Here are three suggestions:
  1. Find an emotional outlet. It is common to focus on the loss you feel at the end of a relationship. While you may be tempted to suppress these unpleasant feelings, doing so will prevent you from moving past them. Make an effort to confront your negative emotions by talking them out with supportive friends or a therapist. It is normal to want to isolate yourself, but relationships are important. The end of your marriage does not mean that you must go through life alone. Putting your thoughts and fears on paper can also help you articulate your feelings and gain some clarity about your past, present and future.
  2. Practice self-care. Stressful times require that you become more intentional about taking care of yourself. Eating nourishing, nutrient-rich foods will give your body the fuel it needs to maintain your energy levels. Regular exercise can lower your stress levels and provide a healthy distraction from your worries. Treating yourself to something you love, such as a round of golf or massage, can alleviate stress.  Creating space for relaxation is essential also, whether it’s reading a good book, doing yoga or mediation, or taking a nap. Self-care is essential to the healing process.
  3. Feel gratitude. A breakup is painful and can make it difficult to look past your immediate feelings of pain and loss. Taking the time at the beginning and end of each day to recognize the many gifts you have been given can increase your sense of well-being. Try pausing at various times during the day to remind yourself, “I am grateful.” Some people find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal. Consciously choosing to be grateful on a regular basis can brighten your outlook on life.
Establishing these three healthy habits can help anyone reduce stress. They can be particularly helpful if you are experiencing the disruption of divorce.