by: Candace McDuffie
Divorce is one of the most difficult and life-changing events that a person could ever experience. No matter which partner files first, the process is a painful one that frequently pits spouse against spouse and usually assets, property, and even parental custody are left up to the discretion of the legal system. Even though the U.S. divorce rate has continued to drop for the third year in a row (and marriage rates continue to increase), a significant amount of Americans have been divorced or married more than once. During such a arduous time, it is crucial to remember to engage in acts of self-care to stabilize mood, ease certain transitions, and make the process of divorce a little more bearable.
- Take the time to feel sad.
Certain periods of life are darker than others. It’s important to remember that no person is expected to be strong all of the time–it’s even considered more normal to have your emotional state fluctuate. The onset of divorce can be traumatic. Spending time mourning the loss of your relationship is important in the process of moving on.
- But also spend time with loved ones.
People have support systems–whether they are family members, coworkers, or friends–that are in place for a reason. Know that they are there for you during times like these. Don’t hesitate to ask them to lend an ear or spare a shoulder to cry on. Not every moment spent together has to turn into an obligatory cry fest. There are plenty of other things you can do instead like have dinner together or go for a walk around your neighborhood.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Working out has been scientifically proven to improve mood, boost energy, and even help you sleep better. When you’re stuck in an emotional rut or just feeling down in general, exercising is an excellent way to enhance your overall well-being. And you don’t have to have an expensive gym membership to get moving: there are plenty of at home workouts that are available at little to no cost.
- Seek out a professional to talk to.
Throughout the course of a marriage, there are tons of intimate moments that you may not feel comfortable sharing with friends and family members. During a divorce, they usually come flooding back with an array of emotions that are difficult to explain. A therapist—an impartial, licensed professional—can help you sort through all of the emotional baggage divorces frequently leave behind.
Although the concept of meditation can be intimidating to those who don’t do it regularly, it can be extremely helpful when it comes to clearing your mind as well as relaxing your body. Meditating doesn’t have to mean sitting on a bare floor with crossed legs making om sounds; it can be something as simple as listening to music with your eyes closed or practicing various breathing exercises.
Candace McDuffie is a dedicated journalist and teacher who holds a Master’s Degree in Education specializing in Critical and Creative Thinking from the University at Massachusetts Boston. Her work has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Vibe, Racked, Brooklyn Magazine, Fusion, WBUR, Metro, and The Daily Dot. She currently teaches creative writing at GrubStreet, a Boston-based nonprofit writing center. You can find more of her work at www.candacemcduffie.com.