During a trying time like divorce proceedings, you may be experiencing increased anxiety. In an attempt to lessen the burden, we’ve compiled six areas of focus to make the lengthy process less burdensome on your life:
1. Don’t go through it alone.
It often helps to talk with a trusted friend and/or family member who can act as a sounding board when difficult moments arise during the divorce process. In addition to religious leaders, there are many therapists and licensed counselors in Georgia who specialize in helping patients navigate through a divorce. There are also numerous support groups, both in person and digital, available for those in various stages of the divorce process. Give yourself the freedom to express yourself authentically instead of keeping the stress built up inside. Isolating yourself can increase your stress levels and compromise your career, relationships, and overall health. If you’re not ready to share your emotions, then a divorce journal is a wonderful tool for releasing your internal dialogue. Etsy.com is a great resource to find a journal that is designed to bring you peace and joy.
2. Cohesively decide what to tell the kids. Do not involve them in conflict.
One major cause of divorce stress is the feeling of guilt when kids are involved. Make a list of all the reasons this decision will benefit them in the long term. Attach it to your bathroom mirror, computer, or anything you see on a daily basis.
Here is our advice on how to help children of all ages cope with divorce:
Avoid arguing with or talking negatively about one another in front of them. Don’t use them as messengers or make them take sides. If possible, discuss the topic with your spouse in private and devise a plan on how to tell your children about the divorce, and attempt to relay the news across a united front. Make sure you emphasize that your divorce is not their fault. Listen to and ease their concerns, and be compassionate but direct in your responses. Have a calm discussion with them about what they can expect in the future. Encourage them to ask questions and share their emotions with you. Be aware of the fact that children take anxiety cues from their parents, so it is important that you monitor your own behavior around them throughout this process. If necessary, involve school counselors or professional children’s therapists to provide alternative outlets for your children to express their feelings during the process.
3. Take care of your body
It is not uncommon for those who are going through a stressful time in their lives to engage in extreme dietary habits. Try to avoid either end of the spectrum by maintaining a regular routine and keeping your pantry stocked with healthy items. Keep a journal or use an app such as My Fitness Pal to log your meals and eating habits. Don’t use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a way to cope; as they will likely lead to more problems. Ask your friends to help you maintain healthy habits during the divorce process by checking in on you often and holding you accountable. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible. Try to avoid making major decisions or changes in life plans.
Exercise is also a good outlet to reduce stress and take care of your body. Your physical health impacts your mental health, which can significantly affect your overall well-being in many ways. Even if you did not regularly exercise before, it would help to try new activities during the divorce case to help reduce stress and productively channel your thoughts and energy. Yoga, meditation, or daily walks are good options that you can easily add to your daily routine. Reconnect with things you enjoy doing apart from your spouse – take time to enjoy life and make new friends.
4. Avoid heated arguments with your spouse.
When you feel a fight with your spouse coming on, walk away, hang up the phone or put down the keyboard and calmly suggest that you both try talking again later. Take a few minutes to calm down to avoid engaging in a power struggle that you know will not end well. By not immediately responding to a harsh comment or an antagonistic email, you can take control of the situation and show your spouse that you are not going to let this interfere with your time. Always remember that anything you say or write can be used against you in court. Please also feel free to consult with your attorney before responding if needed. Rest assured that there is an end in sight, and your attorney is working hard to bring this chapter of life to a conclusion.
5. Attack stress at the source.
Imagine your stress as weeds in a garden. In order to prevent them from taking over, it’s critical to remove their roots. Is your stress caused by uncertainty with finances? Meet with a financial advisor. Brainstorm additional income channels with your entrepreneurial friends. Make a game plan in every worst-case scenario you might be imagining.
Does the idea of co-parenting cause anxiety? See a counselor that specializes in dual-household families. Seek online support groups who can connect you with individuals going through the same reality. Divorcedhumans.com is a great resource. Reduce your stress with proactivity. Although it may seem life is spinning out of control, you are the one ultimately behind the wheel. Take your power back.
6. Find a great lawyer who can advocate for your best interests in the divorce.
(2019 Marple Rubin Family Law holiday party)
Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can mean fewer bumps in the road. Surround yourself with supportive friends and professionals who are on your side. It’s easy to feel isolated during a divorce. Your attorney will reassure you as often as you need how common they are. Regardless of how circumstances may seem, you are not alone. This too shall pass.
If you would like to learn more about the attorneys at Marple Rubin Family Law or schedule a consultation, please contact us at 770-796-4000 or visit marplerubin.com.