Divorce during covid times is about as quick and easy as underwater basket weaving, so don’t be surprised when the process begins to take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Psychologists say that divorce is one of the most stressful life events a human can experience, second only to the death of a spouse. Let that sink in for a moment. Even those with an amicable divorce can expect to experience the “5 stages of grief”: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Don’t forget that your children are also experiencing trauma, so taking care of yourself throughout every stage is crucial if you want to meet their needs and be the best parent possible. When we discuss self-care, we aren’t just talking about an occasional bubble bath or treating yourself to a margarita at dinner; we are talking about purposeful steps you can take to protect your mental, emotional, and physical health for the sake of your kids. Here are some tips on how to better look after yourself so that you can be present for your children in a meaningful way.
Talk With A Professional
Sometimes things can feel really big and hard to hold and it’s MORE THAN OKAY to ask for help. Mental health professionals literally exist to help people through tough life transitions with objective, useful, and expert advice. If you want to parent your children in a healthy way during the toughest time in their lives, don’t hesitate to get the support that you need. It might sound scary, but the time you invest in personal therapy is truly an investment in your parenting. Sound decision-making doesn’t always come easily, or naturally, during difficult times, so pick up the phone and make a virtual or in-person appointment.
Take Care Of Your Body
Need an endorphin hit while you’re busy untying the knot? Getting regular exercise is a great way to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, so grab your water bottle and get ready to move! Don’t worry, no one is asking you to join CrossFit or embark on a 30-day ab challenge. “Regular exercise” can include daily stretches, yoga, or 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Playing in the yard with the kids or walking the dog will get your heart rate going as well, so don’t stress too much about finding time to “work out.” Not only are you improving and preventing a number of health problems, you’re also gaining confidence, getting more social interaction (even if it’s just greeting a neighbor on a walk), and coping with stress in a healthy way.
Find A Support Team
Divorce has a way of revealing who your true friends are, so don’t invest your time and effort into people who are just there to watch. You’re going through one of the most stressful events life has to offer, and no one should have to do that alone. Find people who make you feel your best, even at your worst. Don’t look for friendship, look for a support team that can come through for you when you’re too busy or stressed to cook dinner or help you with the kids when you’re swamped with work or emotions. Talk to your trusted friends about how you’re feeling and lean on them during the hard times (do NOT do this with your children). Self-care includes surrounding yourself with loving and trustworthy individuals who will help boost your mood when you need it, so find your squad and keep them close.
Enjoy Your Surroundings
A therapist once told me that the state of someone’s house is usually a reflection of their mental health (uh…don’t panic). In other words, the space in which you work or reside has a huge influence on your emotions and vice versa. It can be hard to move forward when you’re surrounded by old pictures or reminders of the life you’re leaving behind, so don’t be afraid to revamp your space by moving things around and/or changing up your decor. Hiring someone to give your house or office a deep clean can also make you feel like a new person (new house, who dis)?! If refurbishing old furniture brings you joy, then do it! Marie Kondo that closet! Hang that chandelier above your bed that you’ve always wanted but your ex would never agree to! Live your best life and make your home a safe haven for your mental health.
Make Time For Things You Enjoy
Do you sometimes feel guilty for wanting to enjoy yourself? Don’t. If you like roller skating, grab your kids and head over to the rink and show them how it’s done. If you love taking mini road trips on the weekend, fill up your tank and hit the open road. If you have a hobby, do more of it. Hobbies are all about dedicating your time and energy to something that matters to you and brings you joy, which can only have a positive effect on your mental health. Your children want (and need) to see their parents happy and healthy, not crying in their walk-in closet with a bottle of Jack Daniels to keep them company. Discover your unique interests and foster them, for yourself and for your kids.
Remember, taking care of yourself also includes seeking sound legal advice! We would love to help you on your journey. Book an appointment today.