While divorce rates have been steadily falling over the last 15 years, there are still more than 800,000 divorces recorded in the U.S. each year. Every year, more than 1.6 million people are directly affected by a divorce, not including children and other family members.
Going through a divorce can be one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. The process can be lead to sorrow, anger, and other negative emotions. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with divorce, but doing so can lead to health complications and substance use disorders.
Give Yourself Permission to Feel Differently
The range of emotions that you may experience can be very wide. Many of these may be totally new, and you might feel overwhelmed. Part of the procedure for dealing with them is to accept that these emotions and feelings are perfectly normal for people in your situation.
It is natural to feel grief and sorrow following the breakdown of a marriage. If you feel like crying, then give yourself permission to allow the grief out. If something amuses you, do not feel guilty about laughing just because you are also grieving.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
Self-care is an important aspect of good mental health, and it improves your overall well-being—even if it feels indulgent from time to time. Some days will feel as though the weight of the world is too much, or the future seems to loom ominously in front of you. On these days especially, it’s important not to stay in bed. Get up, take a shower, wash your hair and get some physical activity. If the weather is decent, spend time outdoors doing yard work or go on a walk and take in some fresh air.
Consider Divorce Counseling
It is normal to feel that no one understands what you are going through, but this is not the case. Specialized therapists are available who work specifically with people who are going through a divorce. These counselors have a wealth of experience in helping people in similar situations. They can help you identify and cope with your emotions in positive ways. The trauma associated with divorce can be likened to other types of mental distress, and the same treatment methods can be used to help uplift negative mindsets and allow room for healing.
Try to Keep Yourself Occupied With Healthy Activities
Obsessing about the end of the relationship is not a healthy way to cope. It is more beneficial to stop staring at the past and, instead, make positive plans for the future. This is usually easier said than done, but making a mental effort to keep your thoughts and activities forward-focused will benefit you in the long run.
Try focusing on your health and developing a fitness goal that you can work toward. Engaging in physical exercise is always good for raising the spirits and has many additional health benefits. Pick up an old hobby that you neglected during your relationship, or find a new activity that you’ve always wanted to try.
Although your life may look different now than you thought it would, there is much to look forward to. Millions of people have experienced similar situations and emerged with a better understanding of themselves and what they need from a partner and from life.