By: Kaylin Zabienski, Marriage and Family Therapist
Getting divorced is a huge life change. Even if you feel ready for the relationship to end, there are still tons of difficult emotions that come up as you embrace your new normal.
While there is no way to completely eliminate these feelings, there are plenty of strategies you can use to care for yourself during this transition. Here are just a few.
How to Stop Divorce Anxiety
Accept whatever emotions arise
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel when going through a divorce. Many people feel a variety of emotions as they navigate the process. You might feel at peace one day, then hurt or angry the next, then full of grief afterward.
It’s important to embrace these feelings, no matter what they are. While it can be uncomfortable to face challenging emotions, avoiding them will only intensify them over time. You can prevent suffering by learning to lean into whatever feelings arise.
Connect with your support network
You shouldn’t have to navigate your divorce alone. Vulnerable times like these call for leaning on your loved ones for support.
You can get creative with how you engage with your friends and family. You might not feel like talking about your divorce all the time, and that’s okay. Sometimes, a little distraction can be healthy. Write letters with a family member who lives across the country or catch up on a favorite show with a close friend.
Incorporate gentle movement
Anxiety goes beyond our thoughts and feelings–it can also impact our physical body. Muscle tension, headaches, and stomach issues are all commonly associated with anxiety.
Similarly, physical activity can be a great way to cope. Next time you’re feeling anxious, try incorporating some gentle movement. It doesn’t have to be anything intense–taking a walk or even doing some light stretching can help release pent-up energy.
Spend time in nature
Nature is another helpful way to cope with anxiety. Spending time outdoors can be incredibly peaceful and grounding, especially when tensions are high.
Again, this doesn’t have to be anything intense–you don’t even have to be an “outdoorsy” person to enjoy nature. Something as simple as taking a walk through the park or sitting on the beach can help you feel more at ease.
Try a new hobby
The uncertainty that comes along with divorce can be overwhelming. You’re on the verge of something new and aren’t quite sure what to expect. You might feel totally out of control.
However, leaning into this feeling can help. You’re entering a new chapter in your life–why not try a new hobby or activity to go along with it? Consider taking a new fitness class, trying a craft like painting or knitting, or joining a club that’s centered around a topic you’re interested in.
Consider working with a therapist
Self-care not cutting it? You might benefit from a little extra support as you navigate this big life change. Working with a therapist can help.
In therapy, you’ll process the emotions that come along with your divorce. You’ll also get help making sense of your experience and learn new ways to cope that are customized to your unique situation. Don’t wait to reach out for help.