Divorce can bring out the “crazy” in a usually level-headed person. One day you seem to be able to manage the everyday ups and downs that occur in your life, and the next day you feel like all hell is breaking loose.
Here are 8 ways to take control during divorce:
1. Accept your feelings. Divorce is hard. It creates thousands of feelings that can take over very quickly. It is important to accept these feelings and actually feel them so you can process them and start the journey of moving on. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage and life as you knew it and thought it would be.
2. Take deep breaths, yoga, meditation. Do what it takes to quiet your mind. Think of the consequences of your actions and try to refrain from having outbursts that will only prove to quicken your spiral out of control. If you armor yourself with tools to keep calm in times of stress, you will be well prepared for whatever comes your way.
3. Take care of yourself. Do not let your emotions take over to the point where you cannot eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, or take care of yourself in general. Studies show exercise releases endorphins needed to feel good. Think of the oxygen mask on an airplane: You must first take care of yourself before you can then take care of your children or anyone else.
4. Phone a Friend. Some women report that their friends, while wanting to be supportive, just don’t “get it.” This may be the case, but if they are offering their ear, take it. You can also join a support group for women going through the divorce process and make some new friends who do “get it.”
5. Get Professional Help. Talking to a therapist used to be very taboo, but not in this day and age. Being able to have someone listen to you and help you express your feelings during this difficult time can be priceless.
6. Take alone time. Get to know yourself. Make time to take yourself out on a date. Learn what you like, don’t like, want from life, don’t want.
7. Be careful not to fall into the trap that alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other self-destructive behaviors can lead to. It is easy to go on a bender to forget your troubles. Realize that in doing so, you are creating even more problems for yourself.
8. Take a pause. Realize you do not have to respond to that scathing email from your ex right when he sends it. Push the pause button and think to yourself, Do I need to respond right now? Do I even need to respond at all? You can even write out a response, getting out everything you would really love to say, and then either send it to yourself or delete it.
The better care you take of yourself during this tumultuous time, the better off you and your children will be. No one is saying this road will be easy but, in the end, it will hopefully be worth it. Giving yourself permission to take out your aggressions in a healthy way, as outlined somewhat above, will start the process of healing.
Give yourself a break if you lose it every once in a while. After all, you are human and no one expects you to be calm and put together all the time. As long as you can prioritize and not let the out-of-control feelings take over, it is okay to throw a tantrum… but, if possible, not in front of your kids, or your ex, or your boss. In the end, your divorce is giving you a chance to have a second chance in life. Try not to self-destruct before you are able to take control during divorce and get to the other side.