How to cope with a divorce

Embarking upon a separation can be one of the most daunting prospects in someone’s life. When you have shared your life with someone for a period or time, short or long, and may even have children together, any change can be extremely scary.

Without realising it, we can often put ourselves under a lot of stress and pressure to do the right thing.  This can have a detrimental impact on our health. When feeling emotional or stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode and releases a flood of hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol.  Long term, this can be damaging to your health, ability to make balanced decisions and ultimately on your immune system. 

Here are 10 positive steps you can take to help you cope with divorce or separation.

Topics to be answered in this article

1. Surround yourself with loved ones

If you are a “talker” surround yourself with friends and family that lift you up and give you mental strength.  Avoid those negative people that will try and wallow with you. You might also want to consider some sort of “talking therapy”.  Further resources on this can be found here – What are talking therapies and counselling? – Mind and remember – Your Tribe is your Vibe.  Whilst it can be reassuring to know that other people might be in a similar position to you and can give advice, always keep a focus on your own wellbeing and draw only the positive from others.

2. Write in a journal

If you are more reserved and prefer the company of your own thoughts and feelings, find other ways of expressing these such as writing in a journal.  Take this time to remind yourself of the things you still feel grateful for, such as your children or the support you have around you. Many people often keep a “gratitude diary” on a daily basis but writing down one or two things each day they are grateful for, such as cuddles with your pet. Over a long period of time, your perspective on life will start to change and your overall mood should improve. 

3. Maintain routine

Maintaining routine is key, particularly if you do have children.  This can be monitored by investing in a chalk board or wall calendar for the fridge door. Positive endorphins can be released when ticking off a list and feeling you have achieved something in that day.

4. Stay active

Get outdoors and feel the sun on your face (when it decides to come out!). Keeping active is really good for the mind and body and again will release those positive endorphins. If you haven’t done so before, challenge yourself to join your local gym or exercise class and begin enhancing your usual daily routine, or simply talk a walk around the block before starting your day.

5. Relax

Try not to sweat the small stuff and only give your time and energy to important things that you can control. Most of us are natural control freaks who cannot cope when things don’t go to plan. Let go of expectations that may not be achieved and take each day as it comes.

6. Express your emotions

Do not hold your emotions in, let them out, otherwise you will feel like a pressure-cooker waiting to explode. Use the network around you or a form of physical activity to express these feelings, not the children.

7. Do things for yourself

Do things that make you happy and relaxed, like Yoga or having a hot bath with a drink of your choosing. Spend at least five minutes per day on a self-care regime and over time. You will naturally start to put yourself first and not let external factors beyond your control, influence your mood.

8. Try a hobby

Take up that hobby you never felt you could do before – focus your energy on this. Instead of dwelling on the past, look to the future. There are tons of events advertised on social media such as Eventbrite or Facebook that you may not be aware of, which will force you to get out that comfort zone.

9. Be patient

Remember that things cannot always be resolved overnight as much as we want them to. You will be okay at the end of this process and, longer term, will feel far happier than you do right now. Especially if you take steps to prioritise your own needs instead of focusing on the past.

10. Don’t rush decisions

Never make a decision in haste – if in doubt take a night to digest things. If you are really unsure, seek legal advice from your positive support network but avoid speaking to too many different people. Everyone will have a different opinion, including your Family Lawyer, so try to limit the network that you choose to involve when navigating this next chapter to a close circle of people that you trust only.

Places to get support and help

Here are a few useful resources that may help.

A great start if you need some emotional support during early stages of a separation is Relate – find some useful guidance here – Help with separation & divorce – Counselling & Advice | Relate

If you are worried about the impact a separation might have on your children or need to pursue any welfare concerns, seek initial advice here – Divorce and separation – Cafcass – Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

You can also find advice on supporting your child through a separation here – Support for your child – Gingerbread

If you have concerns about leaving an abusive relationship, contact this local charity Splitz – Splitz Support Service – Home

Another option to address any issues in dispute directly in order to reduce stress and cost is to attend mediation – find contact details of your local mediation service here – Find your local mediator – Family Mediation Council

How can Goughs help?

The prospect of divorce is stressful and saddening, but we are here to help ease the burden. With our help, your divorce will be as straightforward as possible and we’re here to support you through the whole process.

Our experienced Family Team can help you deal with all related matters including, finance, children and property matters. You’re not alone. Contact us today for your free 30-minute consultation with a trusted advisor.

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Author Bio

Georgina Catlin

I have been practicing Family Law since 2016, prior to qualifying as a Solicitor in 2018. Going through a separation can be one of the worst experiences in someone’s life and I know separation can be a very daunting prospect. I feel extremely passionate and committed to ensuring that the process is made as straightforward as possible for my clients, by delivering firm and clear advice, whilst trying to achieve a swift and fair settlement.

Over the years, I have developed a strong ability to empathise with my clients and pride myself of being warm and approachable to all. Positive mental health is really important to me and I will always encourage clients to seek additional support if required.

Check out some of my recent videos, with top tips, here:

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