Your mental health at the moment may not agree, but life after divorce can signal a positive start. The trials and tribulations of divorce bring about their own unique challenges for divorcing parties; some that you may not expect. For example, you may have a pet with your ex and be too worried about how you will share ownership, or you and your partner may have frozen embryos which can lead to having to make very difficult emotional choices. These types of mental challenges, of course, take their toll on your mental health, so it is crucial to take steps in looking after your well-being. We’ve compiled the most practical and useful ways you can take charge of your mental health following divorce.
Become a master of self-care
Unlike gaining a degree or passing your driving test, getting better at self-care doesn’t require lots of skills but it does need you to get to know yourself and enforce positive routines. Think about the activities you do that improve your mood. Maybe it’s sitting and reading, watering the plants in your garden or hardcore HIIT workout routines. However big or small the activity may be makes a conscious effort to do more of it each day, and slowly you allow yourself to feel more at peace and confident.
Although it has become popularised, practising mindfulness can help improve sleep, reduce stress and is thought to lower blood pressure and reduce pain in some instances. Its principles of learning greater acceptance, how to let go, trusting yourself and patience can be a huge benefit for your mental well-being during divorce proceedings when many of these virtues are often tested to the maximum.
Consciously assign time to divorce worries
This may sound counter-intuitive but by dedicating specific time to think about your divorce, you are giving yourself the headspace to not think about your divorce. It’s challenging, particularly when you have matters to resolve with your ex-spouse. If you have had a particularly heavy day discussing your divorce this can encourage your mental health to spiral. When we have stress about one issue, it can throw shade on the rest of our dealings and activities throughout the day, overall making us feel down and depressed. Being conscious of this can help you move your thoughts into another place. Activities like tuning into a TV drama series, or watching your children play football. Anything that changes your concentration or environment helps if you a struggling to get your divorce off your mind.
Seek professional therapy
Seeking professional support like counselling or therapy can help guide you through the stress and uncertainty that typically comes with a divorce. It’s often what many divorcing couples report as being invaluable in helping their emotional well-being. Gaining insight and support from a third party can help you see a new perspective on your life after marriage, and help you move on to healthier, long-lasting relationships with a new level of self-awareness.
Take your time moving to the next phase of your life
The next phase of your life is the pot at the end of the rainbow when it comes to divorce. It is what you are striving for, but it will take time. Although we may know this on an intellectual level, our emotions can take a while to catch up. Be patient. In the beginning, allow yourself space to indulge your feelings. If your divorce has left you with low confidence and self-esteem, you may feel you want to jump into a new relationship to feel validated. But this can be a mistake. It’s best to trust the process and when you have done the work on yourself and prioritised your mental health, the right person will come into your life.
Keeping your mental health in check may sound simple but it can take effort. Don’t be hard on yourself if you forget to go to your yoga class or end up falling asleep while trying to read a book. Experiencing lots of emotions is very tiring, so it’s important to allow your mind to process everything through proper rest and sleep too.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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