When you are newly divorced it feels as if your world has been ripped apart.
Friends say things will get better; but how?
There are ways to cope with divorce, you just have to give yourself time, patience, and self-love.
Here are 5 Ways to Cope With Divorce.
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
You will likely go through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Psychologists now speak of a hopeful last stage: finding meaning. Remember that you are not necessarily grieving the person you’ve lost (your former partner). Your loss includes tangible things like possessions and perhaps a house. It also includes intangibles such as your old lifestyle and the comfort of being part of a couple.
Your grief may be compounded by anxiety and uncertainty about the future. Keep in mind that you won’t move through the stages in an orderly linear fashion; entering the acceptance phase doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel angry or depressed anymore. In any case, be gentle with yourself and don’t measure your progress against anyone else’s standards. You will heal in your own time.
You will need support at this time. It can come from friends, support groups, or counselor s— or all of the above. Formal settings such as therapy appointments and support group meetings are a good place to express anger or weep openly; that should help you process the emotions. Talking to friends can be trickier. Once you have announced your divorce, feel free to talk openly about it when appropriate.
However, be wary of playing the victim; that’s dangerous because you could end up victimizing yourself with your own negativity. You also risk creating tension among friends with whom your ex-spouse is still friends. Be honest with yourself and others but avoid casting a negative spin on every story. Whenever you can, let minor stings and injuries go. The high road may be bumpier and harder to climb but it always leads to a healthier, more positive destination.
Take Time Off
This may be a good time to be alone, where you can ugly cry whenever you feel like it or binge watch a show your former partner hated. If that feels too lonely, arrange a getaway with friends. A small cabin by a lake, a few bottles of wine, and some old buddies who know how to make you laugh may be just what the doctor ordered. If you have the funds and feel more daring, go somewhere or do something you have been wanting to do but put off in consideration of your spouse.
Maybe he didn’t like sports but you always wanted to attend an NFL game — now is the time to buy tickets. Perhaps she couldn’t spare time for charitable causes but your church is building a school in South America. Adios! Commercials for cruises often show couples indulging in dreamy activities but a cruise doesn’t have to be about romance.
Focus on culture or adventure; Panama Canal cruise destinations offer a good balance of history and nature, all centered around what is perhaps the most acclaimed engineering achievement of the 20th century. Whether you go with a friend or alone, the beauty of a cruise is that once you step on the ship everything is taken care of—including you.
When you are part of a couple doing some things may seem silly or selfish, so you put off getting a massage, attending fitness boot camp or experimenting with vegan cheese. Self-indulgence should still be done within limits — you don’t want to down a pint of ice cream every night — but self-care is absolutely essential. Good nutrition is paramount; eat healthy portions of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eat the rainbow and focus on foods with mood-boosting properties such as salmon, nuts, quinoa, yogurt and avocado.
Augment your wholesome diet with activity including several sessions each week of moderate exercise. Some people find short bursts of vigorous activity help them alleviate feelings of sadness while others find value in the spiritual dimensions of yoga and meditation. Above all, get sufficient sleep. Nighttime can be difficult for the newly divorced so consult your physician if you need help for this one.
Divorce is primarily destructive. Old habits, some friendships, daily life as you knew it—so many things have been destroyed. To combat that, do some creating. Studies have shown that creativity has many positive effects on mental health and happiness. If you have an artistic bent, take a class in painting or sculpting.
Dust off that sewing machine and sticth together a quilt to replace the comforter you used to share. Plant a garden. Build a birdhouse. If you have an old hobby that’s been neglected, now is the time to pick it back up. Even people who have never considered themselves creative can reap the stress-busting effects of coloring (try an intricate adult coloring book) or the calming benefits of keeping a journal.