How to Prioritize Your Mental Wellbeing During Divorce
Divorce is often a time of high emotions and high stakes. Facing the uncertainties of a new post-divorce future can be daunting for anyone. During the legal proceedings, it can be difficult to cope with escalating stress and uncertainties.
Rest assured that there are ways to preserve your mental wellbeing—and your sanity—while undergoing a divorce. While it’s easier said than done, there are healthy practices that can help you make the most of things during this difficult season. You can take heart in the fact that you’re proactively working to create a brighter, healthier future for yourself and any little ones involved in your separation.
5 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Divorce
While it can feel like there’s too much going on during a divorce, it’s crucial to prioritize your mental wellbeing. Ending a marriage can be a major source of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions that can endure long after the divorce papers have been finalized.
It’s okay to care for yourself during this difficult time, as choosing to do so is not a selfish decision, but a necessary one. Keep reading to learn 5 healthy ways to practice self-care and preserve your mental and emotional wellbeing during divorce proceedings.
#1. Stick to a schedule.
Your physical health is directly related to your mental and emotional health. Training your body to settle into a healthy routine is an excellent way to care for yourself during a divorce.
Finding a reliable schedule to accommodate your needs is a great strategy to nail down healthy routines, reduce anxiety, and set clear expectations in your day-to-day activities—a valuable thing to have, especially considering that the world of divorce can be fraught with uncertainty at times.
Consider incorporating healthy routines that work best for you and cater to your personality, personal life, and career. If you're an extrovert who draws your energy from trusted friends and family, consider hosting a weekly game night or another social activity. If you're an introvert whose job requires you to be at the office at the crack of dawn, consider setting aside an hour each evening to unwind and enjoy some alone time, whether it's catching up on your favorite show, trying a new meal, or journaling.
Whatever your typical schedule looks like, find ways to work in the necessary time to meet your needs, whatever they may be.
#2. Consider your sleep and diet.
When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, sleep and diet often go hand-in-hand—and both are absolutely crucial to your overall wellbeing. While it may be tempting to order takeout a few nights a week (you have a lot on your plate, after all), sometimes it’s worth the extra effort to fuel your body with the resources it needs.
It’s perfectly fine to turn to your favorite comfort food every now and again, but when possible, try to sub out some of those processed foods for fruits and vegetables (the recommended portion is 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily) and avoid foods that give you “short bursts” of energy and pleasure (such as foods high in salts, sugars, or fats).
Limit caffeine intake before bed if you can, as it can keep you up tossing and turning otherwise. We all know how tempting it can be to surrender to Netflix's "Play Next Episode" button, but limiting screen time before bed is an excellent practice to ensure you get a good night's rest. Opt for a warm, calming bath instead of another episode, and your body will thank you for it.
#3. Be open to new things.
Let’s face it: when going through a divorce, we could all use an extra helping hand. For some, being open to therapy is an extremely effective technique to work through difficult emotions and establish a plan to move forward. For others, picking up a new hobby—even one that initially intimidates us—is a healthy way to grow, challenge ourselves, and meet new people.
Whatever your choice, it’s always a good idea to be open to new people, hobbies, and things. Consider exploring in-person or virtual options for therapy (there are many different kinds of therapy out there you can try until you find one that suits your needs) and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. In the meantime, consider picking up an old hobby that you once enjoyed or exploring new ones, whether it entails joining a recreational sports league, getting into baking, or finding a new form of art to express yourself.
#4. Lean on your support system.
By now, you probably know the people you can truly trust in your life. It’s important to lean on friends and loved ones that are supportive, encouraging, and nonjudgmental during life’s toughest seasons—and nine times out of ten, divorce will be one of those difficult times.
As humans, we don’t just want human connection—we need it. Research shows that having a strong social support network not only boosts our mental health, but our physical health as well. Social support can improve our immune systems and even reduce high blood pressure during stressful times.
Our personal relationships don’t always take the form of friendships, either. Counseling and therapy can also be excellent ways to maintain your mental health during a separation, so consider leaning on a trusted therapist who can help you navigate this rocky path.
No matter which people comprise your social support network, it’s important to identify and focus on strong, quality relationships during a divorce to take care of yourself, as no one should have to carry that burden alone.
#5. Set appropriate boundaries.
Just as human connection is important, setting appropriate boundaries with people around you is equally important. There may be various areas and people in your life that you should consider setting boundaries for, such as:
- Your ex. While it’s important to exercise clear communication when possible, make sure you vocalize your needs. Maybe you’d prefer for them not to call or message you to discuss the divorce on Sundays because you set that day aside for quiet time. Maybe one of you is willing to consider altering your daily schedule (such as switching gyms or churches) to make the break as seamless as possible. Whatever you need, make sure you speak up respectfully and clearly to set healthy boundaries to make the divorce proceedings as pain-free as possible.
- Your work. If you decide to tell your colleagues that your marriage is coming to an end, it’s okay to vocalize what you need from your friends and coworkers. If you’d rather them not talk about it or ask questions, be sure to tell them so. If talking about it helps your mental health, try leaning on them during this difficult season. If you’d rather not tell anyone at the workplace at all, that’s completely okay, too.
- Your family. For many divorcees, this may be the trickiest item on the list. Families can be complex with or without divorce involved. Consider whether you want to tell your family right away or wait until later—whichever is healthiest for you. It's important to think ahead and have a plan in the event that your spouse tells their family sooner rather than later so you can retain a sense of agency and control while minimizing the stress of the unknown. It's okay to set healthy boundaries for family members during the divorce process, especially if you feel swamped with concerns and questions—no matter how well-meaning they are.
Our Firm Is Here to Prioritize Your Family
At Trabolsi | Levy | Gabbard LLP, we know how emotional, stressful, and overwhelming divorce proceedings can be. We’re here to lighten your load by being your go-to resource for questions and concerns, and will fight tirelessly to make sure your voice is heard in the courtroom. With over 100 years of combined family law experience, we pride ourselves on providing sound legal counsel that is personally tailored to your unique needs and goals.
When it comes to the rest of your life, it’s imperative to obtain a favorable outcome in court. That’s where our skilled divorce attorneys come in. We’re here to be your guiding light when the road gets rocky, and keep you on the best legal path forward to help you achieve the results you desire.
Getting divorced in LA? It’s important to have the right team in your corner. Call (310) 455-8364 or contact us online to request your free case evaluation.