The Divorce Parachute
Going through a divorce involves a tumult of emotions.
Many of which are negative and very powerful.
The emotional fallout of a divorce can be damaging and even paralyzing.
Using time and healthy coping strategies, you can move past your divorce and enjoy a happy and healthy life again.
Below are five tips for coping with the emotional fallout of divorce and learning to move on — one day at a time.
Take Time to Grieve
Divorce, as the end of any relationship, signifies a loss.
Don’t be ashamed or reluctant to grieve that very real loss. No matter what the reasons for divorce, the end of a marriage can deal a hard blow.
Even if the relationship was unhealthy, its ending represents disappointment, broken commitments, and the end of a shared future — one in which each of you likely invested a lot of time and emotions.
It is natural to feel sadness and disappointment at this loss.
Like any loss, allow yourself time to grieve and work through those feelings.
Over time, these emotions will begin to fade and you will find yourself moving on.
If you don’t take time to grieve now, you will only be ignoring an emotional wound that could haunt you for many more years to come.
Talk It Out
Find someone, a close friend or relative, to talk to about your divorce.
Share your feelings — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Recognize and acknowledge how you feel and confide in your friend about this process. Sometimes having someone to share in your emotional rollercoaster can help you sort out your own feelings and navigate the turbulent emotional waters of the process we call “moving on.”
Be careful not to dwell on negative emotions and attitudes.
While venting to your friends or family can be therapeutic and healthy, don’t spend too long dwelling on the past.
Share what you need to, then work on replacing those negative feelings with positive experiences.
Stay Physically Healthy
After a breakup it can be difficult to find motivation to do much of anything.
Though the couch or your bed are attractive companions in the immediate fallout after a devastating divorce, don’t fall into that trap.
Force yourself to take care of yourself.
Go for a walk.
Eat good foods.
Indulge in ice cream when you need to, but don’t make midnight binges in front of the Hallmark Channel a nightly routine.
Instead, drink lots of water and move around.
It’s good for the body and for the soul.
As you keep your body healthy, you will benefit from added endorphins (happy feelings!) and the natural happiness that comes from good health.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
The end of a relationship is difficult, to say the least.
To ease some of the pain and the emptiness of loss, make time to be with loved ones.
Have a girls’ night with your friends.
Kick back with the guys.
Spend a week with your family.
Human connection is important. Allow your loved ones to help fill that void your ex left in your heart. Though that relationship can’t be replaced, you can heal.
Allow your family and friends to help.
Focus on New Beginnings
While divorce marks an end, it also signifies a beginning.
It can be tempting, especially in the immediate aftermath of a divorce, to focus on the loss and the finality of the situation. The future that you once had planned out is no longer there, instead filled with uncertainty and perhaps even the fear of the unknown.
Though the future is uncertain, it doesn’t have to be scary.
Train your perspective to focus on new beginnings, new opportunities, and new experiences. Let yourself get excited about these prospects. Explore your passions, interests, and talents.
Don’t be afraid to make changes in your life.
They don’t have to be big.
The point is to practice an attitude of optimism for the future, rather than despair.
As you do so, the cloud of grief from the loss of your marriage will begin to lift, and you will realize that the future is bright after all.
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