How to Handle The Stress of Divorce
Copyright © 2009 StraightDivorce.com
It’s very clear that getting a divorce is a very stressful situation. No one needs to be reminded that anytime a big change occurs, the human approach is to resist. And regardless of the fact that people realize that it’s time for a divorce, it still is an extremely difficult challenge. So, what is it about divorce that makes it so hard? Obviously, you are being asked to establish a new identity as a single individual or you are facing the loss of an important relationship that you have known for a long time. However you choose to look at it, you have to alter your life. And not everyone experiences change in the same way. For some, the divorce can be overwhelming and so they cling to the possibility that maybe the relationship can be saved. For others, the idea of being alone weakens their sense of security. We are in fact creatures of habit and so we become attached to a way of life even when we have outgrown it.
Time To Reflect
Many of us think that as we go through the divorce, we’ll be prepared to handle all the different feelings and emotions. Yet, in truth there are some emotions and feelings that come as a surprise. Whether you’re the one that has chosen divorce or if the divorce decision was made for you, the dissolution of a marriage is painful to say the least and calls forth a lot of different feelings. Yes, it is very stressful when facing divorce, but when we’re forced to stretch ourselves, we become stronger people. After all, aren’t the struggles we face in life, the things that make us become who we truly are?
Can Divorce Offer a New Opportunity?
Perhaps divorce provides us with an opportunity that few people consider. Not to sound cliché, but the breakdown of a marriage provides us with the chance to create a better and stronger life as well as a better relationship with a future partner. How? If we’ve learned anything from a marriage that ends in divorce, we become more careful in our choices. We pay attention to things that happen early on in a new relationship and rather than dismissing it, we take it into account. We also take the time to understand ourselves better and we recognize what we need and how we feel. In addition, we come to see that through this experience, we gain more insight into creating more positive ways of dealing with stressful situations. Whether it’s learning to be financially independent or learning to live alone, divorce presents a great opportunity to become a better and stronger person.
Where Do We Start?
No matter how well equipped you think you might be, going through a divorce requires the support of other people. This is no time to be stoic or stand offish, but is instead a time for reaching out to professionals, friends and family that can support you. But don’t choose people who preach and teach. Choose people that can hear you without judgment. You certainly don’t need or want anyone else making you feel uncomfortable about yourself and your choices and since this is going to be a challenging situation, you have to feel safe when facing personal issues. If you have a friend that you feel safe with, allow yourself to confide your feelings to your friend rather than trying to deal with it on your own. And remember, you will probably have days when you feel like beating yourself up for what you perceive are your failures. On another day you might feel very angry and irritated, but on another day you might feel strong. These are all common reactions to an emotional situation, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel your fear, your regrets, your anger, your frustration and even your lack of trust towards and in other people. All that matters is what you do with your feelings.
What to Do When Emotion Takes Over
In some divorce cases, it takes years to resolve issues, while other divorce cases are over in just a few short months. Some divorce cases are contested and others are uncontested, which means some people are in court for a long time, while others are out of court promptly. More than likely, whether it takes a long time or a short time to resolve the issues in your divorce, you’re going to have days when you feel consumed with stress. Some signs of stress include worrying about everything, feeling afraid that bad things will happen to you, worrying that you won’t be able to create a good life for yourself, feeling helpless and powerless over your situation, blaming yourself for the marriage ending.
If you find yourself under an inordinate amount of stress, take some time to do a few things that can help you deal effectively with the stress. Some tips include:
- Pray: You don’t have to be religious to pray. And you certainly don’t have to be religious to have faith that things will turn out okay. Putting out positive energy and asking the universe for support is a powerful way of releasing stress. If you believe in angels or guides, call them in as well. Whatever helps...use it.
- Seek Legal Counsel: Always be sure to seek legal counsel from a divorce lawyer. Divorce entails a million details and therefore you need the help of a lawyer who understands the law and can help you through custody issues, child support, alimony, property settlements. It may be a little costly, but it will be worth it in the long run to know that the law is there to protect you. Choose an attorney that elicits feelings of encouragement. You want your divorce attorney to be smart and to fight for you, but you also want them to have compassion.
- Rest and Eat Well: Don’t neglect your health. Get a good night’s rest and make sure your diet is filled with healthy food. Add some good supplements to your diet, because when the body and mind is under stress, your immune system is compromised and your body is depleted of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
- Meditate: You don’t have to learn a formal way of meditating, but if you choose, there are lots of places that offer courses. If you prefer, just sit quietly and think about nothing or look at the flicker of a burning candle. When you find your mind drifting, just choose a pleasant sounding word and repeat it to yourself.
- Enjoy Music: Music is always good for the soul. Turn on the radio or get out your iPod and dance around the room to your favorite songs. Sing your heart out and think back to the days when music meant so much to you.
- Exercise: No matter how you feel, exercise somehow lifts your spirits. Working up a good sweat releases endorphins, so it will naturally make you feel better. And when you do something physical, it helps release pent up energy.
- Seek Out Something New: Now may be the perfect time to explore something you’ve always wanted to do, but just never got around to doing. Rekindle an old hobby or develop a new one. Find out what makes you tick and allow yourself to engage in a fun activity.
For some people, it could take a very short time to adjust to the divorce, while for others it could be up to two or three years before they totally adjust to the divorce. One is not right or wrong. We’re all just different in the way we adjust. The most important part of divorce for some people is to recognize that they have their own identity without the marriage partner. Of course it’s always best if divorcing couples can make peace with each other, but that could take time. What’s important is to start thinking about the future, which will allow you to move on. If it takes longer than you expected, just accept it. Stop every now and then and acknowledge yourself whenever you do take steps that are positive, for every step you take will help you in your efforts to move forward in your new life.