There are many emotions that people experience during a divorce. Two common ones are anxiety and fear. The unknown and future uncertainty within a divorce is what leads to anxious moments and worry; especially when it comes to children, finances, dealing with grief, dating and maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex. It’s normal to worry and feel anxious.
When a relationship ends, many emotions are triggered and as a result, it takes time to heal. Even though the relationship may be ready to be over, it still represents a loss. A loss of plans, dreams, hopes, family and connection. These emotions leave you feeling emotionally drained and stressed out. While in the middle of a separation questions come up such as:
- What will life be like without my partner?
- Will I be financially secure?
- Will I find someone else or will I be alone?
- How will my children adjust?
- What if this divorce drags out?
- How do I get over this sadness and anger?
It’s important to remember and remind yourself that you can get over this difficult time. Follow these steps to cope with a breakup or divorce:
- Accept that it’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, frustrated, tired, anxious and confused. Accept your feelings, don’t fight them.
- Cut yourself some slack. You may need to take some time before you can function the way you usually do. Give yourself that time. Don’t expect yourself to be able to continue as though everything’s the same; because it’s not. Everything’s different.
- Don’t go through this alone. Share how you’re feeling with family and close friends who you trust. Isolating yourself can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.
- Remind yourself that you still have a future and can create new dreams. After a breakup, it can be hard to let go of dreams and goals. As you go through the stages of grief and loss, you will learn to replace old dreams with new ones.
- Make healthy choices. When you’re going through a stressful and anxious period, it’s important to maintain daily routines and structure. Some of those routines include eating and sleeping well, as well as exercising. These routines can be hard at first, but they should definitely be a part of your goals.
- Explore new interests. A separation or divorce doesn’t just have to be an ending. We all give things up for the sake of our relationships. Some things are bigger than others. Take your breakup as an opportunity to rediscover yourself and your interests. Pursuing new things can help put the past firmly behind you and help you move on.
- Never make permanent decisions on temporary feelings. Wait until you are feeling less emotional before you make substantial decisions or changes.
- Make time for yourself each day. Healing begins with self-care. Take time to care for yourself. Spend time with your friends, listen to music, write in your journal, practice meditation/yoga or read a book or magazine.
- Clean and organize. A productive way to come to terms with a separation/divorce is to clean out drawers, closets and other areas of the house that contain your spouse’s personal items. Replace these areas with your new stuff.
- Take the high road. Separation and divorce can get messy. There’s no doubt about it. Messy and expensive. Always ask yourself is the fight worth it? Is it worth it to draw it out? Or is friendly the way to go? Friendly doesn’t always mean fair, but it definitely has less anxiety attached to it and is always better if children are involved.
Remember, you aren’t alone in your feelings. After you accept your feelings and begin to heal, focus your energy on the positive things that you have in your life and those things that you can build your future on.