Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place this year between the 16th-22nd May with the primary theme being relationships.
It is a well-documented and proven fact that divorce is an extremely difficult process and can take its toll on your health causing stress, anxiety and depression. It is for this reason that it is important that you continue to take care of both your mental and physical health, as well as your emotional well- being throughout and after the divorce.
A separation can trigger feelings akin to loss and grief, making it hard to get through the day and live your life. No matter what the reason behind it, divorce is one of the most painful and disruptive events a woman can experience. Whether you initiated the divorce or feel victimised by it, you will probably undergo a wide range of emotions when your marriage ends. The simple truth is that divorce is hard.
But, there are things that you can do to cope with the stress, the anxiety and the emotional pain to make it through this often very challenging time.
Accept Your Situation and Recognise Your Feelings
It’s frightening to venture into the unknown, even if the relationship that you were in was a bad one; it’s still normal to feel anxious about your uncertain future. It’s also perfectly normal to experience a range of different emotions including; guilt, grief, anger, regret, frustration, doubt, shame and being upset. These feelings can be intense and unexpected but it’s important to manage them by seeking support from friends and family.
Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your emotions. It will only make things worse for you and those around you.
Take a Break
You have full permission to take time off from your normal routine and your job. Take some time to grieve, relax and re-discover who you are. This time to process your emotions and re-connect with yourself will be imperative to helping you move forward with your newly single life.
Seek Help from Friends and Family
Sharing your feelings is a great way to take the weight off your chest. Speaking to close friends and family or friends who have been through a divorce can help you shed the negative and give you a new, more positive perspective on life by helping you to work through your emotions and fears.
Friends are always great for trying something new, or taking your mind off things by going shopping, taking a spa retreat or just for someone to talk to.
If you have mostly couple’s friends and feel that it might be difficult to talk to them about the divorce, you can always seek out a support group or a divorce reinvention coach to help guide you through this difficult time.
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go through your divorce alone, there is always someone you can talk to.
Create a Plan to Take Care of Yourself – Physically and Emotionally
The stress and emotional pain caused by divorce can often lead to coping mechanisms. Things like, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sleeplessness or becoming a workaholic…this will only make things worse, causing you more problems in the long run.
It’s quite easy to fall into a slump after divorce, and it’s normal to find yourself slumped on the sofa or in bed, working your way through a huge bucket of ice cream and a box of chocolates or even staying late at work until the security guard tells you to leave the office. Again, this isn’t good for your body. Make healthy choices: eat well, sleep well and exercise. When you’re going through the stress of a divorce or breakup, healthy habits easily fall by the wayside. You might find yourself not eating at all or overeating your favourite junk foods like ice cream or burgers. Again, exercise might be harder to fit in because of the added pressures at home and sleep might be elusive. But all of the work you are doing to move forward in a positive way will be pointless if you don’t make long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
Regular exercise will help to relieve the stress and anxiety you feel whilst also ensuring that you maintain your physical health.
Exercising also gives you time alone to process and work through your emotions whilst presenting opportunities for socialising with old and new friends.
Make a Financial Plan
Finances change when you go through a divorce. You might find yourself needing to start work (if your ex-partner was the primary earner in your relationship) or you might need to increase your income.
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that you may need to downsize your outgoings which could involve moving to a smaller home in a different area or starting a new career.
To avoid financial struggle and confusion in the near future, now is the perfect time to think about your finances. Make a list of your income and outgoings and see what you need to do to balance the two figures. If you need help with this, you can always seek the guidance of Citizen’s Advice or a Money Advice Helpline.
Communicate with Your Ex
If this is at all possible, the key to communicating effectively with your ex-partner is to put your feelings and emotions aside. Don’t engage in power struggles as there are things that you’ll need to work out amenably, especially if you have children together.
If you see a conversation start to heat up, calmly suggest that you should both go away and speak at another time.
Seek Medical Help
According to the recent Mental Health Foundation: Living with Anxiety report, only seven per cent of people who say they suffer from anxiety actively seek help from their GP.
Think Positively of Your Future and Begin Making New Plans
Divorce is not the end of your life, it is a new beginning. You now have the freedom to seek new opportunities and re-discover who you truly are and what you want from life.
Not happy in your current career? Now is the time to assess what you want to do, retrain and make a move in the direction of your choosing. Did you stop doing the hobbies that you love when you were married? Take them up again or better yet try something new.
Seek out new opportunities for happiness every day, whether that’s buying something new to wear, reconnecting with a friend at work or trying a new activity.
Repeat this mantra to yourself every morning to give yourself a positive outlook on your new life:
“Everything happens for a reason. What’s happened is in the past and I am choosing a new, happy life for me.”
Whatever you do, take the process in your stride, it is all part of your Believe and Live Again recovery, bounce back and transition journey from being a “we” to becoming a “me”.
If you would like to have an informal chat about it, don't hesitate to get in touch on: +44 208 938 3672 and myself or a member of my team will gladly schedule a Complimentary Believe and Live Again Coaching Discovery session or a no-obligation 30 minute "Forgive and Let Go" consultation and together, we could be embarking upon the Believe and Live Again 5 R's journey to heal your heart, outgrow your challenges and let go of the past so that your glorious future can finally emerge.
Once again, I invite you to contact me or schedule a time to talk, call: +44 (0) 208 938 3672 (24 hours) or click on the pink "Contact" at the bottom right hand side of this page and this will take you into my "Let's Talk" contact form. Kindly complete the form and you will get a call back.
In the meantime, until next time, Keep Smiling, Keep Strong and Keep Believing.
Best Wishes and God's Blessings