How to Heal After A Divorce

My divorce is stressing me out. How do I find a sense of calm?

stressed, depressed woman

It’s easy to get stressed and angry during a divorce, regardless of why the marriage ended. There can be issues related to child custody, the pressure of ensuring that your kids adapt, unanticipated financial realities, new living arrangements and the challenges of dating.

Thanks to social media, there is the near-impossible task of preventing status updates and pictures of social events with shared friends that can set the tone of your day if you let it – and that’s for the remotely amicable separations. Add cheating, abuse or bad money management to the situation, and it’s easy to understand how quickly the stress from divorce can become overwhelming.

Here are four tips to help you find calm after a divorce.

1. Take care of yourself

The key to staying grounded is to make sure that you take care of yourself. It can be easy to lose sight of your own needs during any life changes, and divorce is no different. Make sure to get enough rest, eat properly, exercise regularly and build a good support group around you. This support can come from friends and family, but if that isn’t an option, look for support groups or seek counselling.

2. Avoid unhealthy temptations

As key as it is to find good coping strategies, avoiding bad ones is equally important. Drugs and alcohol can seem like quick fixes, but this type of behaviour can spiral out of control quite quickly. It’s also important to avoid destructive interactions with your ex – something that can become easy to do online.

3. Let yourself grieve

That doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to be angry, sad, jealous or lonely. All of these emotions are perfectly normal, and it’s OK to feel out of control and overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to feel and perhaps even grieve the end of your relationship. What isn’t possible, though, is to control another person’s behaviour, and that may be something you need to let go of to move on.

4. Ask for help

Eventually, you will get closure and embrace these changes in your life. If, after some time, that isn’t happening, you may need to seek professional help. And it’s important to not be afraid to ask for it. There isn’t a right way to experience divorce, but remember to be kind to yourself, take time to have fun and embrace a future full of possibilities.

Dr. Valerie Taylor is a psychiatrist-in-chief at Women’s College Hospital. Follow them on Twitter at @WCHospital

For more help on dealing with the stress from divorce:

• The End of Monogamy? Real Couples with Open Relationships

• 12 Subtle Signs Your Partner is Cheating On You

• Are We Genetically Programmed to Fall in Love?

Originally Published in Best Health Canada