Marital disruption or divorce can cause depression, lack of life satisfaction, and health problems, especially after the marriage and divorce procedure end. People who do not take care of their mental health during divorce are often left feeling helpless, angry, sad, lonely or even ambivalent towards their future relationships.
The multiple internal and external factors responsible for the divorce itself can harm an individual’s post-divorce mental health too.
It may be difficult for someone to manage and navigate through taking care of their mental health while divorcing because of their inability to manage negative emotions or restore emotional composure. The negative mental state during and after a divorce can lead to distancing, anxiety, distress, depression, and even suicide.
This is why it is extremely important to understand and know how to deal with the emotional impacts of divorce. Read on to find out ways you can work through the grief process and take care of your mental health during divorce.
5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Divorce
Divorce is sometimes referred to as the “death of love,” and regardless of whether or not you were the one who initiated it, you will feel grief and loss during and after the divorce. This is why it is essential to go through the grieving process and learn to cope with the initial effects of the separation. Many experts have discussed the following five stages of grieving:
1. The Denial Stage
This stage usually starts at the very beginning of a divorce. It may be difficult to accept that your marriage is about to end, and that is entirely okay. Denial is a normal feeling to have during such a major change in your life. It is also a type of coping mechanism people use when you are hoping to reconcile with your spouse.
2. The Questioning/Bargaining Stage
This is the stage when you question whether the divorce really has to happen: “Could I have done something differently? What would have happened if..? What do I have to do to make this marriage work again?” This is an attempt to change the past and the course of events leading up to the divorce, and it is entirely normal.
3. The Depression/Anger Stage
This stage of the grieving process is a dangerous one. People often go through depression, anxiety, loneliness, loss of appetite and more during this stage. The flip side of depression is anger, and you may float back and forth between these two states, or get stuck in one. If you are unable to cope with your negative feelings during this stage, it is vital to reach out to loved ones and seek professional help.
4. The Evaluation Stage
During a divorce, it is crucial to evaluate the reasons the marriage did not work out – no matter how hard that might be. The factors that led to your divorce may be difficult to process, but evaluating where things went wrong will help you move on. You need to take responsibility for the part you played – even if that was just to ignore the warning signs that something was wrong.
And, regardless of what the reasons are, you should let yourself feel the emotions that come with this stage.
5. The Acceptance Stage
Finally, this is the stage where you accept the fact that your marriage is over. By this point, you should be ready to move on and start building a new life.
Taking Care of the Physical Self for a Healthier Mental Health During Divorce
In order for one’s mind to function properly during such a stressful time in life, it is essential to take care of the physical self and not just mental self. This is because a divorce affects both equally.
One way to do so is to pay attention to eating healthy foods, especially in the earliest stages of the divorce process. Proper nutrition and weight regulation can help you experience both mental and physical stability, and in turn, help cope with the divorce as well.
Moreover, exercising and breathing techniques are also recommended to help with stress management and getting a good night’s sleep. And most importantly, avoiding drugs and alcohol is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. Since drugs and alcohol and depressants, they can quickly push a person into the negative emotions caused by the divorce. So, instead of turning to drugs and alcohol for emotional relief, one should try other stress-relieving methods, like hiking, sports, art, meditation and even cooking.
Maintaining a Positive Attitude and Sense of Humor
Even though divorce is a difficult time for even the toughest among us, finding ways to boost your spirits and maintain your sense of humor can help you cope with this challenging transition. It is important to focus on your strengths and not look at a divorce as a failure but rather as an opportunity to create a new life. A divorce is a chance to change, learn from mistakes, and start over.
Surrounding yourself with positive and energizing people who will make you laugh is an excellent way to decrease feelings of stress, loneliness, or helplessness. Listening to uplifting music or watching comedies or inspirational movies can be good for your mental health, and can also help you start a great new beginning.
A New Relationship Will Happen When You’re Ready
Now that you are back on the market, you should not feel the pressure to go back to dating right away. Efforts to find a new, potential partner can affect your mental health in various ways; it can make you feel angry, impatient, stressed, and isolated. It will make you feel like you are not enough anymore.
The best way to make a spectacular comeback to the singles market is to focus on yourself and learn who you are without your partner before you even consider dating again. This should be an excellent opportunity to rediscover your love for art, music, movies, and other things you missed out on during your marriage. And it is entirely possible that during this process you will come across a new someone who will help you start a new chapter of your life.
Final Words and Recommendations
Divorce can be extremely damaging to your mental well-being. This is why is it so important to take care of your mental health during divorce. If you are going through a divorce and are having a tough time dealing with it, you can also try writing it all down. If writing is not your strong suit, there are numerous online sites, such as PapersOwl, that provide writing services that can help you if you’re stuck. With some practice, you can start to write about your divorce journey; studies have shown that daily journaling can be extremely helpful for working through emotional as well as practical issues, which will help you care for your mental health during divorce.
Eveline Heston is a freelance writer who is educated on a wide variety of topics, such as psychology, literature, education, and many more. She is mostly interested in researching relationship psychology.