How to Self-Care During and After Divorce
Going through the process of divorce and separation is daunting and stressful. Make sure you are doing everything you can to take care of yourself.
More often then not, self-care gets put on the back burner when we are in the middle of divorce and separation. Because of the overwhelming nature of it all, we can quickly resort to self-loathing, self-criticism, or sabotaging behavior.
But getting the support you need, developing the right mindset, and giving yourself every advantage possible can allow you to come out of this experience a better and more empowered you.
True self-care is not merely a list of self-nurturing behaviors; it is a fundamental philosophy by which you choose to live your life. It stems from a conviction that you are ultimately responsible for your own life and are capable of attending to your individual needs.
This conviction can be at best shaky when we are going through a significant stressor or life transition, such as divorce.
So start by breaking the concept down into bite-size pieces. Examine the following areas of self-care. What priorities are coming up for you?
Are you taking care of your basic physical needs right now? What could you be doing differently?
Are the people in your life supporting you? If not, what could you do to get the support you need? Could you hire a coach or join a support group?
Are you living in alignment with your core values right now? What are your core values?
How do you feel about your finances? What do you need to do to take ownership of your finances?
What could you do to attend to your mental health? What goals could you give yourself in terms of personal growth and development?
How could you support yourself emotionally? How is self-talk contributing to your psychological well-being? How could you be more compassionate toward yourself?
When you’ve identified your priorities, you can begin to set small attainable goals for yourself.
When you do, you will want to keep in mind the following factors which can significantly influence your ability for self-care.
There are certain behaviors you should avoid. Although some of these can make you feel good at the moment, they can sabotage your long term goals, success, and personal growth.
These include but are not limited to:
Spending time gossiping and bad-mouthing your ex.
Sitting around discussing how bad things are with your girlfriend.
Using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or numb the pain.
Leaning on any addictive behavior to get through the day.
Jumping into a new relationship.
Meaning and purpose:
There is no escaping the fact that divorce is a tough and challenging time. It is considered a significant life stressor, second only to the loss of a loved one. Attempting to find meaning in the experience can cultivate hope, inspiration, strength, and resilience.
You can ask yourself the following questions to begin this process:
How will you be true to your values through this experience?
What will you learn about yourself?
How do you want others to perceive you?
If you were not feeling scared, overwhelmed right now, what would you do?
Whom do you want to become on the other side of this experience?
Mindsets and core beliefs:
You have many ideas about yourself and the world. Some of these beliefs are conscious; some are unconscious. Some of them serve you, and some of them cause pain and suffering. You need to unpack and uncover these beliefs to maximize your ability to thrive and move through this period of your life. For example, if you believe you should be punished for ending your marriage, self-care might be challenging. You will need support in finding strategies for identifying and challenging the beliefs that are getting in your way.
Working with a coach:
Getting the support, you need at this time is crucial. A well trained, a professional coach will be in a position to support you in the following ways:
Help you identify priorities for self-care.
Listen and give you the space you need to express your concerns and emotions.
Help you identify limiting beliefs and strategies for turning them around.
Help you view your experience from a variety of perspectives.
Support you in finding solutions and tools for meeting your challenges.
The time leading up to, during, and after divorce is a challenging time. Give yourself the self-love and support you need to not only survive this experience but to come out the other side the strong and resilient woman you are meant to be.