Coping with Divorce
Divorce is not typically an easy experience for anyone. Whether amicable or otherwise, divorce can bring about tremendous change that affects all areas of one’s life and is considered to be a major life event. Sometimes divorce is a surprise, and sometimes it is the most compassionate resolution after marriage counseling and other intense efforts. Today, we’ll discuss five healthy ways to cope with divorce, no matter the circumstances.
Find a Support System
While some are very lucky to have supportive family and friends during a divorce, that is not always the case. Many times, divorce can leave both parties unsure of where they stand with mutual loved ones, resulting in additional feelings of loss if friends (or even family) “pick sides.” For those who don’t have a support system, or who have lost it, it can be extremely helpful to connect with others who have experienced similar circumstances. This can look like in-person support groups, networking with others who have been divorced, and online communities. Connecting with others over shared experiences can be very stabilizing and healing while reducing feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Due to heightened stress during a divorce and the upheaval of usual routines, it can be easy to deprioritize self-care. However, making a concerted effort to attend to yourself even more than usual can do wonders for your stress levels and provide relief to your nervous system, making it easier to deal with activating moments and strong feelings.
Self-care is unique to each individual person and can look like a great variety of things. It could be a long soak in the bath, an extra workout to clear your head, a nap if you haven’t been sleeping well, or a meal delivery service to ensure you’re feeding your body adequately. Contrary to what social media may tell you, self-care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Listen to what your body and mind are asking you for and get curious about honoring. Focusing on rest, feeding your body, and stress reduction are great places to start.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The feelings you may experience during your divorce are likely vast and layered. While they may be overwhelming and difficult to understand at times, it is important to remember that they are a valid and important part of your experience, regardless of whether or not anyone else understands them. In addition to various difficult feelings, you may also feel emotions like happiness or even relief. Feelings of depression are also common during divorce and you deserve self-compassion while navigating them. As uncomfortable as your feelings may be, it is not only important but kind to allow yourself to fully experience them in order to process and move through them. This can be done alone, but can also be done with loved ones or with the help of a professional.
Try a New Hobby
Another healthy coping strategy is to immerse yourself in a new hobby that you enjoy. You don’t necessarily need to have a specific hobby in mind when you start out. This could simply look like dropping into a class that sounds fun at the moment. If you enjoy it, explore further. If you don’t, explore something new the next time! Stepping out of your comfort zone in safe ways can help alleviate discomfort in other areas of your life. Additionally, hobbies can provide a healthy distraction when you simply need to step away from the intensity of your emotions for a little while. Although acknowledging your feelings is important, it can be incredibly overwhelming to indulge in our pain constantly. Breaking up the inevitable heavy moments with experiences that you enjoy is a great gift to yourself and your healing.
Simply navigating your divorce may feel impossible at this moment much less coping well or thriving post-divorce. However, it is possible and you are capable. Although each divorce is unique, and coping mechanisms can vary greatly among individuals, these five methods are a great starting point to discovering what works best for you as you move through this life change. The most important part of the process is to be gentle with yourself, make space for your healing and your inevitable growth, and lean into the support you have available.
Enlist Professional Help
Although self-care and a supportive family are incredible tools to lean on while navigating divorce, there are ways that a mental health professional can support you during divorce that are unmatched. They can help you process emotions, sort through decisions that need to be made, manage boundaries with your former spouse, and provide sound and unbiased advice with your best interest in mind. At Genesis Counseling in Tampa, we provide divorce support through counseling for individuals in all stages of divorce. Our goal is to help you cope during divorce while reconnecting with yourself and preparing to thrive post-divorce.
Are you seeking divorce support? Book now to speak with one of our licensed counselors at Genesis Counseling of South Tampa.