Going through a divorce is a heartbreaking, highly stressful event, and it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. Divorces are full of complicated emotions.
If you’re seeing signs that your marriage is over and initiate the breakup, you’re likely to experience fear, resentment, guilt, doubt, and relief, sometimes all at once. If your spouse initiates the breakup, you can feel shock, betrayal, decreased self-esteem, anger, and more.
Some days, you may not know how you feel, and your emotions can change in seconds.
Divorce also makes life uncertain, and you may suddenly find that you feel insecure financially and emotionally. Dealing with the divorce itself and your division of assets can add on even more stress, and if you have children, the situation becomes more complicated, too.
With so much stress and so many emotions, divorce can have physical and mental side effects that you need to be prepared for.
Combat the Physical and Mental Side Effects of Divorce
Be Aware of Negative Responses to Emotions
You’ll be vulnerable during a divorce and may be tempted to deal with your emotions in negative ways, such as by abusing prescription drugs. Even with approval for use, they often still come with several risk factors. Former substance abusers often relapse during a divorce, and that relapse often begins with the emotions and thoughts that the divorce has generated.
If you suspect you’re at risk for coping with your emotions in a negative way, you’ll need to stay ahead of the issue and find better ways to cope. Exercise and meditation can help you to deal with emotions in a more positive way. Consider finding a local divorce support group so that you can talk about what you’re feeling with other people who are going through the same type of situation. If you’re dealing with anxiety, you can manage it with positive strategies like eating a healthy diet, practicing mindfulness, and even using CBD oil.
While there are many strategies you can use to cope with your emotions during a divorce, don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling, too. A talented divorce counselor can give you personalized suggestions to help you deal with the specific issues you’re facing during this time. The counselor can also help you to sort through some of the emotions you’re dealing with, and they should be able to help you better understand and cope with the end of your marriage.
Consider seeking both pre-divorce and post-divorce counseling so that you have support during the entire process.
Take a Step Back
In the midst of a divorce, life can be chaotic and uncertain, but it’s important to make time for yourself and your own physical and mental wellbeing, too. One study found that people who were divorced or widowed were at an increased risk of health issues. Study participants who were divorced or widowed were 20% more likely to have health issues like heart disease or diabetes and were 23% more likely to have mobility issues, like problems walking short distances, than participants who were married. This may be due to the fact that during a divorce, people sacrifice their self-care.
To combat this issue, prioritize some time that lets you escape and take your mind off of the divorce, if only for a couple of hours. Make an appointment to meet up with friends for lunch. Enroll in a weekly yoga class. Go out for a daily walk or take a short weekend trip to explore a new area. This is an ideal time to take up new habits, like exercising or learning meditation. Focus on an activity that you enjoy and that gives you health benefits and relief from the stress of focusing on your divorce.
Prioritizing Your Children’s Wellbeing
Divorce is traumatic for children and teens, too, so if you have kids, you’ll need to handle your divorce maturely for their sake. Make sure your kids feel loved and supported through the entire process and don’t talk badly about your spouse in front of them.
The chaos and stress of a divorce can be distracting, but it’s important to remember that you need to monitor your children’s wellbeing, too. Check-in your children on a regular basis, and stay in touch with their teachers to make sure that they’re still doing well in school. You should also monitor your children’s online presence, including their activity on social media, to ensure that they’re staying safe.
Your children may also benefit from seeing a counselor both during and after the divorce. A counselor gives your kids an unbiased party that they can confide in. Your children may be afraid to discuss their feelings with you out of fear of hurting your own feelings but may be more willing to open up to a counselor.
A divorce is a tumultuous, stressful, and upsetting experience, but remember that you and your family will get through it. Tough as it may be, prioritize your mental and physical health during this time. You deserve to be happy and healthy post-divorce, but you may have to advocate for your own health during this time.