Dealing with the Daily Anxiety of Divorce
Divorce is one of the toughest challenges in life, especially if children are involved. It's hard not to feel like you're underwater and can't swim to the surface. You're not alone. You will need many resources around you that will help you cope with anxiety each day. Start by using these tips for coping with anxiety and reach out for counseling if you need extra support.
Get Into a Self-Care Routine
While in the marriage, you were receiving some forms of daily support from your spouse. Those might have diminished over the years. But, he or she was helping with tasks around the home, i.e. meeting the needs of pets, driving the kids to their activities, and taking out the trash. With just one adult in the home, all tasks fall to you or get redistributed among you and your kids.
Write down a new routine that starts with getting ready in the morning. Build in time for grooming, eating, and self-calming practices like meditation, yoga, exercise, and listening to positive affirmations. A self-care routine helps you feel centered at the beginning of each day, which is important when you are handling the ups and downs of divorce. You might have to wake up earlier to have this time before the kids start their day. Things will crop up out of nowhere with the ex-partner and the kids. For instance, you might get emails from your divorce lawyer asking for information. It is a lot to juggle with your existing commitments.
Address Co-Parenting Needs Early On
Whether you decide to hire legal representation, you need a parenting plan. It's something you and your ex talk about to get the kids into a new routine. A good plan includes what days and nights you have the kids, who will drive the kids to and from school, how their living expenses and medical needs will be paid, and so on.
Your financial responsibility might be more than you bargained for, so, look for a side job to keep your household budget stable. If you were a stay-at-home parent, update your resume and consider going back to school.
Assure your kids that the divorce is a decision between the parents. This is not a time to say bad things about your ex. It's a time to keep schedules consistent, be a good listener, and enforce discipline in each home. Respect how the rules might be different when the kids are with your ex. Do not let the kids or your ex get you involved in arguments.
Deal With Being Alone
From Day 1 when you or the ex moves out, you must immediately adjust to the silence. There are vast amounts of time alone in the home (at least in your bedroom). The kids might be home, but they are also going through the pain of divorce. If you did not want this divorce, start moving through the grieving process. You are processing the loss of a family member. There are many steps to grieving, which is where counseling can help.
Many singles start a journal or join a group of separated adults to dialogue about their daily lives. It is an ongoing conversation you have with yourself as you identify what is most important to you and your kids and how to approach new relationships.
Make Time for Your Support System
Another emotional part of divorce is the shift in personal relationships. Many adults feel like their family, friends, and co-workers take sides or pick a guilty party. They want to determine who caused this breakup. Remind everyone that this process is not about who is right and who is wrong. The marriage is ending; everyone must adjust.
A word of caution. You might be close to your spouse's family. Suddenly, they do not want to talk to you or say hurtful things because you are rejecting their loved one. You might not get understanding from some friends and relatives, but you will find new support in the most unexpected places.
Avoid Self-Damaging Habits
Understandably, sometimes, you want to numb out. You want to escape the pain and all the decisions to be made. Many new singles want to sleep more or go out with their friends and party.
- The challenge is not getting into bad habits like smoking, drugs, or alcohol. Moderation is key.
- Watch your diet. It is tempting to sit home and binge-watch TV and eat comfort foods.
- Taking a walk is a good way to clear your head.
- If you can't stop the persistent anxiety, you should consider speaking with a therapist.
- Don't get trapped inside your head because you can't handle everything alone.
You are Going to Get Through This
In the end, each person handles the anxiety of divorce differently. Change never comes at a convenient time. Divorce can impact your job performance and force you to stop certain activities, such as a sports team, because there are different demands on your time. You might get more time with the kids.
Realize there is an end in sight! There are things to negotiate with your ex-partner. Expect that you will not get everything you want. Get up each day and be positive! Embrace the challenges because working through each of them moves you forward into your new life. Over time, the emotional roller coaster slows down, and you build a new normal.
At times, limit contact with your ex-spouse. You need time to heal, but never avoid important discussions about your kids. Focus on the most pressing issues and use later conversations for less important issues. You have all the resources inside to become a stronger YOU!
Being single is new and different, however when you are alone, you get time to explore new interests and get to know yourself again.