How can you develop resiliency or the ability to bounce back from divorce?
Whether you’re the one who served the papers or the one responding, the divorce process (and all that comes with it) is at the top of the most stressful experiences. Divorce involves financial, legal, and emotional stresses that might seem unbearable as you reach for that second or third glass of wine.
We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Yes – and no. The experience in and of itself doesn’t offer some magic elixir but, like any challenge, it’s how you get through the experience and what you take away.
Your ability to adapt in the face of disaster or change is something you can develop and is a powerful indicator of how you’ll transition through the breakup. If you are a parent, the way you adapt will serve as an effective model to your kids who will need these tools as you navigate through divorce and throughout their own lives.
So, how can you develop resiliency or the ability to bounce back from divorce?
Stacy Kaiser, Live Happy Editor at Large and licensed psychotherapist, says it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically as you go through this transition.
“On an airplane, we’re instructed to put on the oxygen mask first. If we can’t breathe, we can’t help someone else. This is true in divorce, as well,” she says.
Kaiser shares some tips for helping you get through and bounce back through these challenging times.
1. Assemble a support system. Decide who will remain in your inner circle – and bring those people in. Put together a team to help you with the details: a strong attorney, a financial team or adviser.
2. Keep those close friends in the know. Friends may pull away because they aren’t sure what to do or say. Reach out when you need a sounding board or to unwind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.
3. Practice self-care. Go for a walk; take a yoga class. Resist the urge to peel the icing off a half-dozen cupcakes or drink a nightly bottle of Cabernet. Instead, eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and lean protein. Try to get enough sleep.
4. Give yourself time to heal. Maybe that includes working with a therapist, individually or in a group. Read articles, books, and online posts, but bear in mind that the advice of experts might not feel right for you or your family. Each situation is different.
5. Get back in touch with your authentic self. You will face lots of decisions. Who are you on your own? Do you need to reinvent yourself professionally, especially if you are going back to work after years home with the kids? How will you fill your free time? Are you going to date?
6. Make new friends but keep the old. You may want to add single or divorced friends to your social circle.
Divorce can be overwhelming when we consider all the different aspects. Outsourcing some of the details to experts for advice can certainly help. A strong attorney can help with the legal issues. A financial adviser or team can assist you in making wise financial decisions. A therapist and/or coach can guide you through the process and outcome.
Take time to reflect on the experience. Journal, blog, or talk with a friend. Process information one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to use professionals or those who have gone through divorce as a sounding board before making any decisions.
As with any of life’s challenges, transitions provide us with the opportunity to learn and grow – if we use those opportunities. Divorce means redefining your family and often, yourself. Taking care of yourself and surrounding yourself with supportive friends can help you bounce back from this transition.
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- Get Over It: I Can’t Move On From My Divorce. What Am I Doing Wrong?