How to Survive Divorce: 8 Tips to Begin the Healing Process

Even if your relationship with your partner has taken a turn for the worse, a breakup can feel overwhelming and emotionally devastating because the process represents the ending of the commitments, goals, and dreams your once shared together. Recovering from the pain and uncertainty of a divorce can be difficult, and fully overcoming your grief may take some time. Every ending leads to a new beginning. Use these helpful divorce tips to know how to survive divorce and begin the healing process.

1. Challenge your negative thoughts

You can let the situation take over or you can choose to be proactive about the divorce process. Don't allow intense negative thoughts based on a fear of the unknown to take over your entire outlook on life. Try to remember the grand scheme of things by imagining what your life will look like even just a few months or years down the road. Weigh each negative thought with the truth and reality. For example, if the thought that you'll never find love again creeps in, confront that fear head-on and challenge it. Remind yourself that this situation is only momentary and that it will pass with time.

2. Be kind to yourself

Redirect the love and energy you used to pour into your relationship and focus on your love for yourself. While it may be tempting to give in to feelings of shame, insecurity, or self-loathing, take time each day to practice being kind to yourself. Let yourself off the hook and realize that it's normal to grieve and acknowledge your loss. Beating yourself up will only prolong your healing, but treating yourself with patience, respect, and kindness may speed up your recovery process. By being your own best friend throughout your divorce, you'll be better equipped to take responsibility for your emotions and to navigate through them more efficiently.

3. Take it one step at a time

Even in the midst of a painful divorce, there are certain daily responsibilities you have to take care of. When you're in a situation that already feels overwhelming, it can be tempting to either take on too many tasks all at once or completely procrastinate. Allow yourself the room to handle responsibilities one at a time. Make a list of daily or weekly tasks you need to deal with and prioritize which ones are more important. For things that can't wait such as paying bills or responding to pertinent work-related emails, address those tasks first so you can cross them off your list of things to do. If a few responsibilities can wait for a day or two, write them on a calendar so you don't forget about them.

4. Don't play the blame-game

Chances are, the process of divorcing will require you to have to communicate with your ex at one point or another. If your conversation becomes too heavy or argumentative, take control of it and steer it in a different direction. If the two of you are unable to communicate amicably, reschedule another time to talk, if possible. Refrain from participating in the blame-game. You'll both need some time and healing to be able to see the events surrounding your divorce with clear eyes, and it can be detrimental to both of your ability to move on if you give in to the temptation to argue or blame each other.

5. Compartmentalize your feelings and emotions

You'll experience a wide array of feelings throughout the healing process. Understanding when to allow yourself the room to feel your emotions and when to put them on the shelf until later is important. Strong, hurtful emotions can take a toll on your job and your other relationships, especially if you have kids. When an intense emotion surfaces, give yourself a few seconds to reflect, then make the decision to revisit the emotion later when it doesn't conflict with work or other responsibilities. You might even discover that by revisiting the feeling later on, its intensity will have significantly diminished.

6. Get a strong support system

During intense emotional situations, it can feel tempting to withdrawal and isolate from family and friends. Make a focused effort to reach out to the people you know and trust the most. You may be able to navigate through much of the grief process on your own, but there will be definite times you'll need to have a strong support system to reach out to. Consider seeking help from a professional therapist or counselor who can guide you through the divorce process with greater clarity. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to about your divorce can make all the difference in the world.

7. Disconnect and recharge

Turn off your cellphone and set some time aside at least once a week to pamper yourself. Rent a funny movie, schedule a night out with friends, or order in from your favorite restaurant. Whenever you feel you're reaching the end of your rope, take action by indulging in self-care.

8. Realize when grief has turned into depression

If months have gone by and you haven't noticed much progress with your recovery, it may be time to reach out for professional help. A therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce counseling may be able to help you overcome the grief you're dealing with and provide you with effective tools to help you move on from the painful divorce process.

While a breakup is inherently about change, you have the ability to direct that change in a variety of positive, beneficial ways. There's no one-size-fits-all guide to how to survive divorce. However, with the above suggestions, you can start the process of healing and making a fresh start after going through a divorce. If You have any questions concerning the divorce process, telephone the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free in office consultation

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