If you are going through a divorce or considering a divorce, you may understandably be experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety. That is normal and natural. But there are things you can do to manage that stress and make the divorce process as easy on yourself emotionally and mentally as possible.
Have a Plan, and Plan in Advance
One thing that you can do, which is good advice for life in general, is to have a plan about what to do at every stage of your separation and divorce.
For example, if the divorce has not been filed yet, but you know it is imminent, make yourself a checklist, and have a plan. Be able to answer questions like:
- Where will I live if I cannot live in the marital home?
- What will I tell the children?
- What is my financial plan during the first few months of the divorce?
- Do I have all the paperwork and documents that I need if I have to move out?
These are just some examples. Remember that your divorce attorney is not just there for you at the minute you file your divorce—they can be there for you beforehand; do not be afraid to ask your attorney what other preparations you should make in planning for the early stages of your divorce.
Rely on a Support System of Friends and Family
Your plan should also include friends and family. Is there someone whose car you can borrow if needed? Is there a family member for the kids to stay with should things get stressful in your home? You may never need these people to help you—but it will help you mentally to know that they are there if needed.
While planning for these things now may seem stressful, when the divorce happens, being prepared will be one way that you minimize your stress.
Getting Professional Help
Another thing you may want to consider is to seek out professional mental health counseling if you really feel you may have difficulty coping with the divorce.
It is not uncommon for people who have never seen a mental health therapist to see one for the first time because of a divorce. Even if you are not certain that you will absolutely need the therapist, having one ready to help you will go a long way toward making you feel better.
One cause of stress is not getting what we want or feeling frustrated that things in a divorce are not going the way we envisioned them.
That is why a good stress management tool may be to have reasonable expectations about the outcome of your divorce from the start.
Of course, what you can reasonably expect is something you will discuss with your attorney, who can help you understand what outcomes are highly likely, and which are less likely.
Understanding what is likely to happen and what expectations you should have can help keep those expectations reasonable. For example, if you expect $2,000 a month in child support, and your attorney tells you that you should more likely expect in the range of $1,000, you can at least lower your expectations and plan your future around that more likely outcome, thus managing your stress both during and after the divorce process.
Get Out and Be You
You do not have to be an isolated hermit during your divorce, and you are not an outcast for getting divorced. Do not be afraid to go out and be social. Being with friends, and enjoying yourself, can both take your mind off the divorce process, as well as introduce you, slowly, to the single lifestyle.
Your friends, or whomever you are spending time with, can either be a supportive ear, or you do not have to discuss your divorce with them at all, making them a much-needed distraction from the stress of your divorce. Either way, you do not have to and should not “punish yourself” by refusing to go out, travel, have fun, or do the things you enjoy in life just because you are getting divorced.
Manage the Anger
Yes, you are getting divorced in large part because you and your spouse did not see eye to eye during the marriage (or, in some cases, for more serious reasons). Either way, try to let go of some anger. You can still get what you want in a hotly contested divorce, hold true to your demands, and do what is right for you and your kids, all without holding or expressing active, hostile anger.
You may also find that as time goes on, if your divorce is an extended one, your anger may decrease.
If you are concerned about ongoing anger, ask your attorney about methods to lower your contact with your ex, if they cause you that anger. For example, today there are many parenting communication apps that can minimize direct contact with your ex if that is a source of stress for you.
Get Closer With the Kids
Of course, you hopefully always enjoy time with your kids. But think of this time as an opportunity to be particularly close with your kids and to develop an even stronger one-on-one bond with them.
It may seem overwhelming at first to go from a two-parent household to a one-parent household. But think of it instead as a chance to really bond with your kids and spend the time with them you may not have had previously.
Likewise, because you are now sharing custody, you may have times when your ex has the kids, and you do not. This can lead to a feeling of having an “empty nest.” Use this downtime for yourself—get exercise, start a hobby, or just plan for the next stages of your life.
Divorce is not just a legal process–it is an emotional and mental adjustment, as well. Remember yourself, and take care of yourself during the process. An attorney at the Law Firm of Anthony J. Diaz can help. Contact us for questions about what you can reasonably expect in your divorce case.