After a divorce, you are faced with an unknown frontier. A shared future, once planned and full of possibilities for discovery and passion, is forever changed.
Perhaps your journey now feels scary and uncertain. You’re standing at the starting line again. Alone.
Do you feel as though you’ve lost a big piece of yourself or who you thought you were?
It is that feeling that makes self-care after a divorce so crucial for your mental and emotional healing.
Why Is Self-Care a Vital Part of the Healing Process?
After a divorce, you are tackling the world and figuring out a new path for yourself on your own. Going forward and building a new life for yourself requires being as strong as you can be, both mentally and emotionally. And beginning the healing process by looking inward will help you in your outward journey to happiness and feeling whole once more.
Divorce can stir up buried emotions or create new feelings that may be crippling to our sense of self. These can include feeling hopeless or helpless that the future can be brighter or anxiety about moving on alone or guilt that you could have or should have done more to save your marriage.
Before you can begin your pursuit of a new life in earnest, acknowledging, accepting, and processing these or other emotions you might have will be vital.
Self-Care for the Healing Process
How you go about your self-care looks will different from what others do for themselves. Finding what works best for you may take a little time. For example will a divorce recovery group or individual counseling or being among friends or going it alone be the best route? But ultimately, your self-care regimen will be your guide through the healing process of divorce recovery.
Consider these helpful self-care steps:
1) Allow yourself to grieve
Divorce is a trauma. No need to always put on a brave face.
Sometimes, we feel guilty or ashamed to grieve. It may seem to be a sign of weakness, which can be especially true for men. However, grief is a natural reaction to the loss of the life you once had. You’ve experienced the ‘death’ of your future as you once imagined it.
Suppressing grief can affect our overall wellbeing. For example, we can become moody or lose our ability to concentrate or begin losing sleep or have nightmares or use alcohol or other substances to ease the emotional pain. But these never work.
Not only are you not with the partner with whom you had built a life, but you have to ‘say goodbye’ to that version of yourself and the life you once lived. As with the death of a loved one, this can cause shock, anger, regret, and denial. It’s okay to give yourself permission to work through those stages of grief as you move forward.
2) Talk it out
After divorce, it is important not to try to put on a happy face. No one expects you to be okay or to be your old self. While you don’t want to be a ‘downer’ in the group, your friends and loved ones are most likely wanting to help you through the pain and loss.
So, don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling with others and get emotional support from friends, family, a support group, or a professional therapist. When you’re with people who care, you gain support, encouragement, and relief.
3) Seek healthy coping methods
You may want to ‘blow off steam’ or feel like taking more risks after a divorce. Of course, don’t let anyone discourage you from having fun and trying new things. However, you should avoid using unhealthy ways to cope such as reckless behavior or extravagant spending or acts of retaliation against your ex-partner.
Try improving your mental and physical health instead. Explore a new hobby or visit a new place. Eat nourishing and balanced meals and dedicate time to recuperate and repair.
4) Commit to moving on
We cannot move forward if we are hung up on our past. After your divorce, try not to remain too closely involved in what your ex-partner is doing. Unless there are children or a business involved, you don’t need to be in constant contact. Put away the old photo albums, don’t dwell on the mistakes you made, and don’t hold onto resentment or anger. Carrying a grudge never has a good outcome.
If you are finding this difficult to achieve on your own, talk to a professional therapist who can provide understanding and tools to help you process your experience. Get support and begin to let go.
Take the Next Step…
Divorce can be devastating. It can turn your life upside down and leave you feeling rejected, abandoned, drain your self-worth.
However, those feelings don’t have to last forever. Begin your recovery with self-care. Caring for yourself compassionately and intentionally helps ensure that you heal well and move forward, fully prepared for your own bright future.
For more information, contact me now to begin resolving issues connected to your divorce. Let’s start determining what’s next for you!
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