5 Mental Health Steps for Divorce

1. Is Divorce something I am ready to do? Many partners are usually at vastly different levels of readiness to enter into the divorce stage. There’s a lot of emotion and people tend to react instead of figuring out what may be the best plan for the family. Moreover, the partner that is ready to forge ahead needs to realize and understand that their spouse might not be at that same stage of readiness.

Working with a family therapist will help you determine timing and when to take the next step into divorce. Discernment counseling, specifically, is very limited in scope and addresses whether to get divorced or work on your marriage. If divorce is the ultimate decision, then parties can ease into a more amicable and collaborative process with the help of a family therapist as their guide.

2. Determine your Goals. While you may be mad, frustrated or tired of everything, don’t let those emotions dictate what your ultimate goals will be when it comes to divorce. Determine what you want to accomplish as part of the divorce process, as well as your immediate and long-term post-divorce goals. Couples have to make some pretty important legal decisions while working through a very stressful and emotional time in their life. Assessing your goals and then picking the process that will meet your needs, will set the tone for future family planning putting those you most care about first.

3. Take Care of Yourself. Because of the overwhelmingness of the legal and emotional process of going from one household to two, sometimes it’s easier to turn to various things like food, alcohol or other addictions. Self-Support is crucial and necessary as you work through this adjustment phase. Start with maintaining a weekly/daily routine that involves healthy eating, getting enough sleep and building in time for exercise and mindfulness.

4. Find your Support Network. To keep that mental stability you will need support as you work through the divorce process. Get together with friends and family and talk to them about your situation, with the one caveat that if they give you advice (and usually they will), know that everyone’s situation will be different and what worked for one family may not work for yours. In addition, find time to meet with an individual therapist and look for group support through church or other organizations. One example of a low cost but effective support group can be found at divorcecare.org.

5. Find your New Beginnings. While divorce can be an uprooting of your life as you have known it, it doesn’t mean your life is over. While it may take some time to heal, there’s an opportunity now to shift your focus and explore new interests, new endeavors, new work or business opportunities. Now is the perfect opportunity to reassess your priorities. Become an explorer and start making decisions that will shift your path in innovative and creative ways towards future goals.

For a more information about the legal as well as procedural aspects of divorce, contact Heart Law, LLC.