How to Protect Your Mental Wellbeing During Divorce
Divorce is an unfortunate ending to a long-term relationship, whichever way you look at it – and, also unfortunately, it appears to be on the rise. In 2021, there were 9.6% more divorces than the previous year; this an increase that can be described partly by the coronavirus pandemic, but also by an increasing boldness in people knowing when something isn’t right for them.
Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of a divorce, the process is painful and drawn-out. Much is said about the legal side of managing divorce in the UK, but what of the emotional side? How can you protect your wellbeing while going through one of the most difficult events of your personal adult life?
First and foremost, it is absolutely vital that you understand the importance of seeking support through your divorce. This, naturally, encompasses the choosing of the right family lawyer to fight your corner regarding important potential issues such as child custody or asset distribution; more importantly, though, it encompasses seeking out the right voices to heed your pastoral needs too.
Family is an important piece of the puzzle here, but we’ll get to them shortly. Divorce can be an emotionally complex matter, and it can yield some oft-unexpected consequences for mental health and wellbeing. Even if you feel as if your head is on straight, organising some lone therapy sessions can help ensure you do not give in to negative or dangerous thinking patterns – and hence work in your own favour both through the divorce process and at home.
Divorce can be overwhelming as a life event and process, but it needn’t be all-consuming. Rather than allowing the process to subsume your daily life, you should work to give yourself ‘time off’ from thinking about it. This might involve actively throwing yourself into new hobbies, but mindfulness can be a much more achievable semi-passive route to giving your brain some room for clarity.
The thing is, we often acknowledge that tendency for divorce to become all-consuming early on; instead of meeting it properly, though, we meet it with bad habits. Binge-eating and increasing drinking are common results of the divorce process, and can bring short-term benefits – but at major long-term expenses, and at the expense of your mental health as well as physical health. Keeping fit is a much more sustainable way of coping, between helping you keep the pounds off and helping you access some endorphins at the same time.
Don’t Be a Stranger
Support networks, as discussed earlier, are crucial to navigating divorce healthily and clear-headedly. As well as involving professionals at various stages in the process, you should also be involving family. You may feel the urge to pull away from familial help, to endure alone – if only to spare other loved ones your current troubles. But this is the wrong way to go about it, and your family would love to be there for you. Let them, and don’t be a stranger!