Divorce is a very significant loss that has been likened in impact to the loss of a death. It can make the grief process more difficult if you are around people who don’t understand how major the loss is in your life. When you consider the vast changes that take place at once, including changes in living arrangements, time with kids, finances, and relationships with mutual friends and family, it is not surprising that many people have difficulty processing it all. Your vision of what your life was going to be like has changed dramatically, and it is important to appreciate the impact. Here are 3 steps to help you work through the process of grieving your divorce:
1. Take good care of yourself physically as well as emotionally. Your mind and body are connected, and it will help your mental state to optimize your physical health. Eat healthy foods, take vitamins and supplements as needed (many people can benefit from taking fish oil and a food based multivitamin to start; your naturopath can create a supplement “cocktail” tailored to your needs). Start a doctor approved exercise regimen, ideally focused on cardio workouts to release mood enhancing endorphins. Your health and body image will improve, and it is positive for your self esteem to send yourself that message that you are worth the care.
2. Spend time with friends and family who support you. While you need time for assessment, both of your ex spouse and yourself in order to understand what happened in the marriage, don’t isolate yourself. Allow others to help provide social time and emotional support to help fill the space left by the absence of your ex.
3. Honor your emotional state. If your are feeling overwhelmed, consider seeing a counselor to help you work through your emotions, as well as help you understand your part in the divorce to avoid repeating any patterns that could harm your relationships in the future. Journal your emotions, join a divorce support group, and expect there will be ups and downs. One moment you may feel nearly over it, the next you might be triggered by a memory and feel badly again. Know that it may not be a straight line, but with self care and support, you will move through the pain and have the opportunity to invent a new dream for your life.