Even the most amicable divorce is stressful. The emotional, physical, and financial impact of divorce can have a long-lasting effect. Self-care is essential to your wellbeing during - and after - divorce. Here's some divorce advice for women and 5 tips for dealing with divorce stress.
Recognize That You Have Control in the Divorce Process
The divorce process is unlike anything you will ever experience. There is nothing that makes sense about the process. You are most likely in uncharted waters, unfamiliar with the meaning of anything and unclear about what the future holds. This can make it seem like everyone, and everything, is running your life. While you may be unable to control another person’s behaviors it's important to remember that you do have control in the divorce process.
Here are several examples of how you have control in the divorce process. Your choices here will influence your divorce experience and outcome.
Do your homework on the different divorce options. When possible you should work with your spouse to choose the process that best fits you and the best interest of your children. The (4) most common divorce options are:
Uncontested Divorce or Do-it-Yourself Divorce
Take control of your finances. Even if your spouse was the one that paid the bills and managed the money gather as much financial information as possible. You do have access to financial documents for joint accounts. Simply visit or contact the financial institution and gather at least (12) months of statements. If you use a CPA for your taxes then, contact your CPA and gather at least (5) years of tax returns. If you are unable to gather all of the financial documents, then an attorney can issue subpoenas asking trusted advisors and financial institutions for the financial information you have been unable to access.
Choose to behave in a respectful and honest way – even when your soon-to-be ex is not. Your behavior during divorce has a lasting impact post-divorce – have it be a good one. Enlisting an experienced divorce therapist can do wonders for processing and working through the emotions common to divorce.
Don’t Go It Alone
Recognize that you are not alone on this journey. You may be one of the few within your immediate circle of family and friends, but you are not alone. Reach out to family and friends. If you feel like you are going to be a burden or bother to them - DON'T. Think of it this way....if the roles were reversed you’d be there for them, right? They want to be there for you, just tell them how.
You can also reach out to a support group. Most cities have support and social groups for people going through divorce. Reach out! If you feel awkward or have a bit of social anxiety, then try to push through it and reach out anyway. If you still have trouble pushing through, then perhaps it is helpful to remember that someone started these groups because they needed to be connected to people when they were going through a divorce. Lastly, if you don’t see a group that fits you, then maybe it's time to start one. There’s always someone feeling the same as you and maybe they are just waiting for someone to start a group they would be comfortable joining. Check out the Meetup website for your city and see what is going on in your area. If you don't find what you are looking for, then you can post your new group on the site for free.
Keeping a journal can help you express your feelings, emotions, and thoughts in a positive way. This is a great outlet for “getting it all out”. This is also a great way to keep track of the things that stress you the most. By paying attention to your journal entries you will begin to see patterns in what makes you feel stressed. Oftentimes, things like court appearances, big meetings with your attorney, or interaction with your spouse triggers divorce anxiety and stress. Recognize these triggers, name them and then come up with a strategy to proactively minimize their impact going forward. You can do this by digging a bit deeper and asking yourself “why” are these events or interactions triggers.
Focus on the Future
It may be hard to make plans for the future when you are working through the divorce process. And it may feel like it will never end, but I promise you IT WILL. So, go ahead and focus on the future. Taking time now to plan for your future sets you up for success on the day of final separation. This will also empower you to negotiate a settlement that works to support your future plans.
Invest in Yourself
You are your biggest asset – invest in yourself. Divorce can take a toll on a person’s emotions, health, and financial wellbeing. Be sure to take time to eat right, exercise, socialize, explore new interests, and learn more about personal finances. Throughout your marriage you may have given more to others than you gave to yourself – this is often the case. Perhaps it’s been a while since you tried something new. So now is the time to start exploring new interests. Find a local park, walking path or school track and take a stroll. Perhaps there’s a restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try. Invite a friend to dinner and check it out. Investing in yourself will pay dividends for years after divorce. Start now! You’ll be thankful that you did.
Summary: Dealing with Divorce Stress
People don't enter divorce lightly. It is tough, rough and can take a toll on a person's wellbeing. Take these 5 steps in dealing with divorce stress. You, your children, family and friends will be thankful that you did.
We are here if you would like more information on your divorce options. Give us a call or schedule a free 30 minute consultation to explore your options and see which divorce process is right for you.