7 Ways to Nourish Yourself During Divorce
Divorce is one of the most stressful things a person can experience. As a divorce coach, and former divorce attorney, I am aware how hard things can be for an individual going through divorce. It’s easy to neglect ourselves when big, stressful things are happening, especially if you are already attuned to taking care of everyone else.
This is a time to be “selfish” and take care of you. I use quotes because taking care of you really isn’t selfish; we’ve just been conditioned to believe that it is. In reality, taking care of you is the best gift you can give to yourself, and others around you. Taking care of yourself during divorce will get you through the hardest moments and able to rise strong on the other side.
Here are 7 ways to nourish yourself during divorce:
Treat yourself with grace and kindness
I put this one first because I think it is the most important thing to do while going through divorce. This is a hard time, and maybe the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life. What would you tell a beloved friend if they were in a similar situation? What kind words would you offer them? Now is the time to give yourself that same grace. Say it out loud for you to hear. It’s ok that things are difficult; it’s ok that you feel it intensely. Give yourself space to feel the emotions and space to experience comfort and joy.
Honor your emotions
On that same note, honor what you are going through and what you are feeling. You may be experiencing a slew of emotions: anger, loneliness, sadness, relief, and numbness, even joy. Allow yourself to express those emotions in a safe way. Spend time journaling, play loud music, scream into a pillow, take a dance class or dance at home. Let those feelings flow through you to help process this experience.
Lean in to your supportive relationships
If you’re worried about being a burden on others, know that the divorce won’t last forever and likewise you will not be stuck in this same place forever. Lean in to your friendships for support. It’s ok to ask for help. If there is something you used to do with your spouse, like attending church or your child’s music recitals, ask a friend to sit with you if you don’t want to do it alone. Not every relationship you have in your life will be the right kind of support you need, so identify the ones that feel supportive and let them help you through this time.
Keep your cup full
Are there activities that you do that leave you feeling inspired, invigorated or energized after? Or something that completely nourishes you and fills you up? If nothing comes to mind right away, it would be a good practice to take some time to reflect on this and write down what comes up for you. Now is the time to include more of these activities in your life. The divorce is going to come with its own challenges, some of which will be completely draining. To combat being depleted, put things in your schedule that invigorate, inspire, or nourish you. More ME time? Put it in your calendar. Daily walks in nature? Make a commitment to do that. Day of fun with the kids? You get the idea. Keeping your cup full keeps you from choosing those destructive activities that might even feel good in the moment, but will further deplete you. It will also give you the energy to get through the hard moments of your divorce.
Listen to your body
Your body will let you know when its time to slow down, take a break, get some movement, eat, or seek professional help. Pay attention to your physical health. Stress lives in our body and can get stuck there, weakening our immune system and making us sick. If you feel like you need to set an appointment to get a massage, or see your doctor, follow through with it. Keeping your body healthy will help you to navigate the overwhelm of change with more energy and more ease.
Keep a routine
Routines help us with stability and consistency, which is key when so many changes are happening around you. If you already have an established routine during your day, make sure to keep it up. If you don’t, consider implementing something during your day. It could be a morning routine you follow to get ready for the day. It could be an evening routine you have to wind down at night. It could be something you do when you drop your kids off at school or daycare, or a lunch meeting you have every week with a friend or family member. Whatever it is, make it special and sacred to you by setting a loving boundary around that weekly or daily ritual.
Build a support team
This is going beyond friends and family. Building a support team of unbiased supporters is going to be essential to your well being during divorce. A divorce coach will help guide you through the divorce process while helping you to create a plan for the future (read more about why you need a divorce coach here). If your health needs some attention, consider hiring a nutritionist to help support your health goals. A financial advisor can walk you through your financial picture and help create a long-term plan. A realtor can help assess the worth of your house and find a perfect home if you need to move. All this to say, you don’t have to bear the burden of divorce on your own. Hiring experts in other areas will ease the pressure of figuring everything out, while offering valuable guidance, support, and care during and after your divorce.