7 Tips on Coping with Divorce


The break up of a relationship can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time for most. We embark on a grieving process, with all of the doubts and emotions that this entails.  The practicalities of a divorce can add an extra pressure that, under already tense circumstances, does nothing to ease feelings of stress. Here are some basic tips that we hope shall help you to keep strong, stay calm and give you the space you need to take care of yourself.

The Legal Stuff 

Hire a legal professional. These people have undergone years of training and experience in the field, and they have only your best interests at heart: trust them. Allow them to deal with the niggling ins and outs, whilst you concentrate on taking care of yourself. Likewise, do not feel under any pressure to sign or agree to things you are unsure of. Read things through first with your legal representative, and listen to their advice: it is what they are there for.

Be Kind to Yourself 

We can only process so much mental and emotional information at one time. Sometimes as women we can demand so much of ourselves – a familiar issue to many of us will be that drive to both excel in the workplace and also embody the perfect mother – and we can feel a sting of disappointment if we fall short. Now is the time to let yourself of the hook. Imagine a close friend of yours is going through a divorce and is confiding her concerns to you, describing how she seems to be lagging behind on assignments or can’t keep on top of things at home. What advice would you give her? Would you tell her she was right to beat herself up, or would you comfort her and tell her to give herself a break? Treat yourself with the same love and understanding you would give to a friend.

Grieve 

Emotions are what make us human: they are the flags which let us know whether something is good or bad for us, and they are the cathartic release through which we process our experiences. We all need to let go and give ourselves up to those emotions sometimes, although this can be easier said than done. If we feel we have to carry on with our normal everyday lives we may try to keep things as contained as possible, in the fear we’ll simply unravel. Well, you won’t. If you are struggling to connect to your feelings because of this, then try giving yourself an hour every day in which you can cry, scream and rant if you want to. After the hour is up, treat yourself to a lovely hot scented bath, or eating a delicious meal. Beginning like this will show you that not only can you experience deep emotions without crumbling, but that normal life will continue afterwards, including all those wonderful little things that give you joy.

Explore your Emotions 

You may find yourself experiencing many different and conflicting emotions around the break up of a relationship. We can often feel rejected, angry, mournful or guilty, even after coming out of relationships in which we were not entirely happy. Keeping a journal can help as it provides an outlet for all our experiences without censure, and can also become a mirror for the grieving process, eventually illuminating just how far you have come since day one.

Share your Feelings 

You do not need to go through this alone. Confide in family and friends, allow them to help you and take the pressure off. We can sometimes worry about ‘burdening’ others with our feelings, telling ourselves that the ‘strong’ thing to do is to deal with it all inside. Challenge that voice by reminding yourself how good it can feel to help another or ease their woes. Recall a time that a close friend was able to cry on your shoulder, or an instance in which you were able to provide assistance to a family member during a time of crisis, and think about how valuable that made you feel. Opening up and asking for help gives those that you are close to the opportunity to feel useful.  If you are over burdening your loved ones, spread your need to talk more widely with a support group, a counselor or coach or with others you might meet at a Day of Women retreat.

Use Your Time for You 

When a relationship ends we may struggle to come to terms with the loss of immediate companionship, or of the presence of that person with whom we shared our past history. It may be too difficult to take part in activities you both enjoyed, or to visit places you spent time in together. However, we can sometimes become so absorbed in a relationship that the singular, personal dreams we have become sidelined. Use this time to try new things. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn how to cook authentic Indian food from scratch, or have had an idea for a short story burning in the back of your mind. Give them a go! Make arrangements to see old friends that you may have lost contact with, or take up social activities you’ve never tried before and make new friends with shared interests. Soon you may find that you have never been busier, or more satisfied with life.

Look to the Future 

The most saddening aspect of a relationship’s end can sometimes be mourning the plans that were made for the future, or the hopes and dreams of how things would one day be. Especially at the beginning of the grieving process, our minds can become consumed with repetitive thoughts like these. This will change, with time. You will move on, and over time new hopes and dreams will appear where the old ones used to be. Life can take us on very unpredictable journeys, so keep yourself open to new possibilities and pathways. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, we will look back and realise that the happiness we have now wouldn’t have been possible without a change that occurred in our past, no matter how painful that change might have been at the time.

 

 

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