Getting divorced can knock you sideways emotionally, physically and mentally and make you feel like your world has turned upside down. You may also experience periods of depression or anxiety. As it is a recognised statistic that one in four people will experience challenges with their mental health at some point in their lifetime, experiencing these feelings when going through divorce is completely normal.
The first step to try and overcome those feelings is to acknowledge how you are feeling. There is nothing to be ashamed of and pushing your emotions to one side will inevitably make you feel worse.
Here are some strategies that will help you manage your mental well-being when going through a divorce;
1. Relaxation - take time for yourself. Many people try to avoid 'sitting still' because they are worried that if they stop then they will fall apart emotionally. Whilst there is some benefit in keeping busy and active, it is also important to make time for relaxation and reflection. Doing conscious relaxation exercises will help focus the mind but also allow your body and mind to heal.
2. Exercise - When feeling depressed or anxious, motivation for doing exercise be on an all-time low. Exercise stimulates the mind and body and you will be guaranteed to feel better after getting active. If you are struggling, start small. A regular walk out in the fresh air will definitely lift your mood.
3. Get Healthy -It is really important to look after all aspects of yourself. Diet and physical health plays a huge part in how you feel emotionally. Are you eating a balanced diet or comfort eating on takeaways? Get yourself a health check-up. Consider it a MOT. You would do it if you have a car so why not take the same care over your own body.
4. Support Network - Look at the people around you, friends, family and colleagues. You will be surprised how much support you can get from them if only you ask. Make a list of the things that you want to do and then identify who in your network can help you i.e. who can help you exercise, plan healthy meals, organise finances, help with childcare etc. You will be more likely to take action if you are doing it with someone else and they can motivate you when you have a low moment.
5. Find a Focus - Your divorce does not have to define you, nor does it have to seep into every aspect of your life. Finding other things to focus on increases motivation and self-esteem. Think about your job. Are there opportunities for training and development? What about career change or new job? Not everything in your life has to be negative. Put something new and exciting in your life.
6. Managing Stress - Despite all the positive actions listed above, you may still experience periods of stress when going through a divorce.
- Listen to your body and take a break. Stepping away from a situation and going for a walk will help calm those stressful emotions.
- Be mindful of your breathing. Stress tends to quicken the breath. Take time to slow your breathing.
- Be kind to yourself. Spend time talking positively to yourself and reminding yourself of your strengths. Divorce tends to bring out the negative self-talk and insults from the ex. Counteract that by making time to appreciate all your good qualities.
You have control of how you cope with your divorce. Don't let it destroy you, because you never know what or who is round the corner. It could be even better.
For help with improving your self-esteem and confidence when going through Divorce, try Divorce Coaching www.northhousecoaching.com
For more information about support during Divorce, check out www.divorcedparents.co.uk