Self-Care During a Divorce

When a couple decides to divorce, much of their energy is spent on completing tasks, whether these tasks consist of physically moving out of the marital home or making sure to sign all the documents to protect their financial interests.

Too often though, the parties forget to take care of their emotional needs, which sometimes leads to burnout and exhaustion. It is important during this highly stressful and emotional time for the divorcing parties to take care of their personal needs. One important step towards this is for the parties to have reasonable expectations about how long the process will take and what steps they will need to go through.

When Your World is in Chaos

Staying healthy is the most important thing a person can do when going through a divorce. A person will need all of the physical and emotional strength he or she can muster to endure what can be a very grueling time in his or her life.

  1. Be realistic. Be realistic about the timeframe and the other party’s response to the divorce. While it is good to hope that the divorce will be concluded as fast and as peacefully as possible, it may end up being the opposite. Be prepared for the worst-case-scenario. By being prepared for the worst, anything less than that will be a welcome relief.
  2. Be strong. Make sure to get enough sleep, food, and exercise. Avoid bad habits like excessive alcohol use or smoking, if possible. Taking care of your body is important as a best practice, but it becomes essential when you are in a highly stressful environment. Meditation and other deep breathing techniques are positive healthy ways of channeling the stressful emotions we hold inside. Lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet, and holding in stress keeps us from mentally and emotionally being on top of our game.
  3. Use logic, not emotion. Divorce is a highly emotional process. However, it is at this very same time when logic and reason need to take an active role. This can be reinforced by mapping out exactly what you want to gain from the divorce. Writing down what your goals and expectations are and reaching out to professionals like financial planners, life coaches or other counselors, will allow you a different independent perspective on very important issues and decisions that need to be made.
  4. Do something to keep your mind off the divorce. This is the time to look back at the past and remember those activities that made you happy. Try taking part in sports, socializing with friends, reading a good book, or doing other activities that bring you joy.
  5. Do not make any rash decisions. If you are feeling pressured to make quick and important decisions, push back. Do not let anyone bully you into finalizing any details until you are ready. Take all the time you need to make the right decision for you.
  6. Think long-term. The decisions you make today may have long-term consequences, and thus it is important that you make sure to consider what you want for your future. A focus on future events can also help you move forward in your emotional reaction, as it will help you keep hope that things will get better down the road.
  7. Surround yourself with support. This is the time when you need your friends and family the most. Reach out to them, but do not overwhelm them. If you need to, seek counseling from a professional, especially if you want to gain an independent and non-biased perspective.

Resources

If you have any questions about the divorce process in Illinois, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced family law attorneys at Sullivan, Taylor & Gumina, P.C.