Going through a divorce is challenging for everyone involved. Even if you no longer love the person you were with, it’s normal to feel grief for the couple you were or the life you dreamed of living. These emotions are paired with financial stress and often the stress of co-parenting with someone you’d rather not see anymore.
With so much stress and uncertainty, practicing self-care is essential. Yet, self-care is more than spa days and me-time; it’s about giving yourself the love you deserve to get through the road ahead.
Here are six practical self-care tips when going through a divorce.
Create Emotional Separation
One of the most significant challenges ex-couples face when navigating a divorce is separating emotion from logic. Logically, you may know that it’s best for the kids to share their time between two loving parents. Emotionally, the thought of parting with your children is devastating.
Furthermore, continued contact with your ex can make things confusing. Sometimes people who divorce still have great love for each other, but they can’t make the relationship work. Other times, there’s a lot of anger and resentment that make communication difficult.
According to Thomas Stahl, an expert divorce lawyer in DC, emotional decision-making can sometimes take over and break down communication completely. Create emotional separation by letting an attorney handle your communications or setting boundaries about what you’ll discuss and when.
Take a Social Media Break
Technology is often referred to as a double-edged sword, as it’s both a practical tool and something that could be used as a weapon against you at the same time. When navigating a divorce, social media often feels like the latter.
It’s normal to feel grief when looking at photos of happy friends and family members online or to know that people are prying on your social media accounts for gossip. These issues can be exacerbated by one partner moving on publicly before the other is ready.
Consider uninstalling your social media apps and taking some time away. Doing so will also help you be more present in your daily life as you work through this difficult time.
Write Your Ideal Future
While it’s normal to grieve the future you thought you’d have, this occurrence also presents an opportunity to reshape a new future for yourself. Many people put their personal goals and dreams on hold in a marriage. Now is the ideal time to revisit them and give yourself something to look forward to.
Start writing down the things that made you happy as a child, memories you cherish, and activities you feel nostalgic for. Consider your goals as a new family unit and as an individual. Write about your ideal future so you can make it happen when you’re through the hardest days.
Create a Support Team
Identify who you need on your support team to get through the months ahead as you are getting divorced. This team could include everyone from your best friends to your mom to your therapist. Write down a personal emergency contact list and put it somewhere as a reminder that there’s always someone available to you.
Learn and Practice Self-Awareness
Going through emotional fluctuations is normal when navigating a divorce. The first step in learning to process your emotions is identifying and labeling them.
When you feel sad, angry or frustrated, stop and label what you’re feeling and what interaction made you feel that way. Then, ask yourself what you can control within the situation.
Learning self-awareness and processing your emotions are invaluable skill sets. Consider taking a self-paced course or reading books about the subject to develop this skill during your divorce.
Set Aside Time for Enriching Activities
Finally, make time for enriching activities — yes, this includes the bubble baths and “me” time. Create a bucket list of things that you’d like to try or start doing. These activities could include anything from cooking classes to hiking. The activities can be relaxing or challenging, fuelling who you are inside or helping you discover the new you.
With these six practical self-care tips, you can nourish your mind and heart while preparing for a bright new future after your divorce.