While no recently engaged or newlywed couple wants to think that their marriage will fail, the divorce rate in the United States continues to hover around 50%. With so much emphasis placed on the division of assets and custody during a divorce, the emotional trauma that divorce brings sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.
As your trusted mental health counselor in Michigan, I want to stress that acknowledging the emotional turmoil caused by your divorce is essential in order to protect your emotional and mental well-being. While there is no such thing as a simple divorce, these tips can help you make the process a little easier.
1. Cut Yourself Some Slack.
Do you find yourself feeling angry one minute and sad the next? Perhaps your emotions range from relief at leaving a bad relationship to complete despair at the idea of continuing on alone. No matter what you’re experiencing, relax. Fluctuating emotions are a completely normal part of the process. Don’t get caught up in what you “should” be feeling; simply allow yourself to process each new emotion as it arises.
2. Don’t Engage In Unnecessary Arguments
If you and your spouse have chosen to get divorced, it’s safe to assume that you may not be on the best of terms. Tensions are running high, and it may be easy to let frustrations spiral into arguments. However, I encourage you to recognize these patterns and head off any potential arguments before they become too involved. Additional arguments won’t do anything to help the process; if anything, they will only serve to make the situation worse. If you notice an argument brewing, step away from the situation until you have both had time to cool down.
3. Take Time For Yourself
Between working with your attorneys, negotiating with your spouse, and still trying to keep up with your job and/or your children, navigating a divorce can be overwhelming. In order to cope with the stress, it’s crucial that you set aside some time to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be much; even a few minutes can make a huge difference. Pick your favorite relaxing activity – soaking in a hot bath, reading a good book, etc – and give yourself some time to recharge. Of course you want to take care of those around you, but you must take care of yourself first.
4. Think Positive
In my blog about New Year’s Resolutions to improve mental health, I discussed the importance of focusing on the positive aspects of your life. Positivity tends to breed positivity, and negativity tends to breed negativity. Try not to let the stress of your divorce bring you down. Instead, focus on the things in your life you are grateful for, such as your beautiful children and/or your stable job. Thinking positively will help boost your mood as well, putting you in a better position to approach your situation rationally and realistically.
5. Minimize Your Children’s Exposure To Conflict
Don’t underestimate the strain your divorce will put on your children. Their home as they know it is changing forever, and it’s only natural that they would be stressed, sad, and/or scared. Make the process easier on them by keeping them out of the conflict between you and your spouse. Don’t ask them to take sides, and only engage in heated arguments when your children are not present. Ease the process for them by listening to your children and making sure they know that they can come to you with any concerns or needs.
6. Talk To A Counselor
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the only people who can benefit from therapy are the ones who are crazy or severely depressed. The truth is that everyone can benefit from online therapy in Michigan. As your therapist, I will provide a listening ear and work with you to help you find the solutions that will best help you navigate your challenging situation. Divorce is a big event with even bigger consequences, and it’s important that you not convince yourself you should navigate the process alone.