By Jovana Kuvac and Jane McWilliams
So here you are in the middle of a divorce, somewhere you never imagined you would be. No matter how you feel about your divorce, it is likely unsettling, stressful, and at times, overwhelming.
In the midst of a divorce, it is not uncommon to ask yourself, “What went wrong?”. While pondering what changed along the way in your marriage, it is essential not to place blame—on yourself or your spouse. Placing “blame” increases stress levels and makes completing your divorce process more difficult. After all, at this point, what matters is that you can begin adjusting while maintaining a sense of well-being. It is more important to take care of yourself even through the difficult parts of your divorce. This is an opportunity to focus on self-care and self-love. By acknowledging that you are unique and individually important, you will find the strength to be kind to yourself as you go through one of life’s more difficult transitions. You can grow to be an even stronger, more resilient, and healthier version of your former self.
Allow Yourself to Feel
Getting to the point of consistent self-care isn’t always easy. You will likely find that at some point, you have to resist the urge to bottle up your emotions. As you experience the strong, unpleasant emotions that arise during your divorce process, it is perfectly normal to consider ignoring them, thinking they will magically go away. That is a perfectly good temporary fix and can provide a short-term ‘breather,’ but it can be very damaging as a long-term solution. Whatever emotions you are experiencing, the first step toward healing is allowing yourself to feel them. As you adjust, it is normal to feel pain, sadness, guilt, and fear, while simultaneously feeling relief, peace, and a renewed interest in what your future might bring. Allowing yourself to feel these many different emotions will help you learn to accept all of your emotions at face value–without judgment. It may be helpful to remind yourself that you are likely your own worst critic. Taking a moment to be mindful of this will allow you to recognize that there is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling; it is just how it is right now. If you find yourself struggling with self-judgment, ask yourself, “Would I say this to my very best friend?” and if the answer is “no,” you have some room to develop a new non-judgemental mindset. When you acknowledge, accept, and validate your emotions, you will inevitably grow emotionally. And if you are struggling, talk with supportive friends and family or a professional counselor to ensure that you keep moving forward.
You may find it helpful to stay busy with activities not related to your divorce during this time. Maintaining a routine, enjoying your hobbies, and attending celebrations can help you maintain a positive outlook. And if, at times, you feel that you need to take a short break from these activities, don’t judge yourself harshly. Take pride in making choices that support your well-being, and eventually, you will be ready to try some new hobbies or complete some tasks that have been on your to-do list for a while. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and allow yourself to breathe through some of the more difficult moments. When you feel yourself getting a little overwhelmed or unable to be productive, take a step back and acknowledge what you are experiencing in that exact moment. Try online meditation exercises that focus on breathing or counting to ten with a deep breath in between each number. No matter what you choose, find something that works for you and helps you remain mindful at all times.
The key is to avoid ruminating without taking on too much. You will need time to do nothing but breathe through your emotions and breathe through the stress. Learn to sit with your emotions for a bit without trying to change them. Rather, you may try accepting them for a brief moment. You do not have to accomplish everything right now. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, refocus your attention on yourself. Take things day-by-day and some days, take things moment-by-moment. And most importantly, b-r-e-a-t-h-e, reminding yourself, ‘this too shall pass.’
Strengthening Close Relationships
This time presents an opportunity to focus on strengthening your closest relationships, including the most important relationship of all—your relationship with yourself. Thinking about your divorce 24/7 won’t make your healing process any easier. In times of need, we often convince ourselves that we can handle anything that comes our way and that we don’t need help. However, it is wise to reach out to others when you’re struggling or even when you just want to talk. Isolating yourself from those who care about you prevents you from getting the support and love you deserve. You can consciously decide to welcome love and care into your life. As you know only too well, divorce is not easy, but it is easier with support. At The Aurit Center, we believe in helping our clients have a simple and positive process, keeping stress low, and focusing on a bright future ahead.
Trust Yourself and Your Future
Today you might be struggling with your emotions, and that is okay. It is important to trust yourself and trust your future amid everything that is going on in your life. Trust yourself—trust that your emotions are valid and that you are coping with your divorce in the best way that you can. Trust your future—trust that there is so much more in store for you, even after your divorce is finalized. The here and now might seem overwhelming, but tomorrow is a new day. Take life one day at a time, knowing that each day offers endless possibilities. This won’t always be easy, but remember that you are stronger than you believe and will learn so much about yourself through your healing process. You can even learn to truly love yourself. This is not the end of your journey; this is only the beginning of a future where you practice self-care and self-love, no matter how tough things seem.
Be Kind To Yourself
Proceeding through your divorce process can take a toll on you and your family. Stress levels are high, and you might be in a standoff with your emotions. Throughout all of this, it is important to be kind to yourself. You can let your strength shine through during difficult times. Recognize that it is important to occasionally prioritize your wants and needs. Respect your decisions and your emotions throughout your divorce. Press the pause button on some of the problems you might be facing and take a moment to yourself. You will thank yourself in the long run.
Thoughtfully and purposely providing yourself with self-care can greatly impact your healing process. When you are focused on your own wellness and stress reduction, you will bring your best self to your divorce process. Your divorce is an opportunity to reflect on your interests, strengths, and goals.
If you and your spouse need further support, The Aurit Center For Divorce Mediation helps spouses complete their divorce in the most peaceful way possible. We recognize that the divorce process is difficult, and we are here to help you minimize conflict.