Divorce is stressful. Saying so feels like platitudes, an obvious statement gone stale from too many repeats. But the stress of divorce is unique, one of those situations you cannot fully understand until you’ve lived through it. Suddenly, you’re in this club and only people who have been there really grasp what you’re going through.
That’s one of the (many) reasons we started the Second Saturday divorce workshop in Raleigh: we hope to bring together people who are going through the same battle. We’ve talked about a few ways to manage stress before. But if you’re in the thick of it, here are some more tips for managing the stress that goes with separating, paperwork, child custody, finances, and moving.
- Take a break. Some of these tips will sound obvious, but we often ignore the obvious when we think we don’t have time, or something else is in the way. Taking a break is a hard thing to do. You’re busy. You’ve got children, or you can’t get away from your job. But it’s really important to schedule some time for yourself, time not spent thinking about divorce or your financial changes. Maybe this break is one day of indulgence in front of the TV or reading at a park. Maybe it’s a weekend getaway with a friend. Whatever it is, find a way to stop and disconnect.
- Meditate. Meditation is one of those New Age-sounding things that prompts a lot of eye rolling. But meditation at its true form is simply giving your brain a rest, focusing on the breath. Studies have shown myriad benefits from this practice, including more focus, better sleep, less stress. All of those sound pretty good during life’s difficult times. Try a meditation app such as Headspace or Calm. Both are free to start.
- Seek therapy. Even if you have the best friends in the world, you might need a bigger shoulder to lean on. A therapist can guide you through the worst of things, helping you sort out your insides, which are probably churning with anger, resentment, grief, frustration, and more.
- Find help. One of the weird things about divorce is realizing there is no one else to help pick up the slack with household chores or picking up the kids. In her book, “8 Steps to Being a Great Working Mom,” Gretchen Gagel suggests seeking out your village, a network of people you can turn to for help. In some cases, this might be someone you hire to organize your apartment or babysit. In other cases, it’s a neighbor, friend, or family member who can take the kids to the museum for an hour so you can get some things done. It’s tough to do things on your own, but if you look, you’ll find you don’t have to.
- Exercise. Finding time to exercise can be difficult now that you’re adjusting to doing more on your own. But if you can squeeze it in, you’ll find you feel better overall. Exercise produces endorphins, makes us feel more positive about ourselves, and can improve stress levels.
What helped you manage divorce stress? Please share with us on social!