How to heal mental health after a divorce
Divorce can be one of the most disruptive life events people can go through. Yes, your separation is likely to be more positive for you, your former spouse, and any children you have. That doesn’t necessarily mean the experience is particularly easy, though.
In fact, studies show that divorce tends to have an immediate negative impact on the mental health of divorcees. This can result from the significant and turbulent changes the end of a marriage causes. It also creates stressful scenarios, such as the inability to see shared children as often or experiencing a different financial status. It’s certainly not unusual to live with depression or anxiety following a split.
The good news is that you can navigate this situation and thrive beyond it. Let’s look at how to heal your mental health after a divorce.
A divorce can be an overwhelming experience. You may have spent a significant amount of time navigating arguments with your ex, interacting with lawyers, and handling complex asset and custody division matters. It’s not unusual to seek a little peace once the process has finished. However, it’s important for your mental healing to ensure you don’t drift into isolation.
A vital part of this is to recognize how important communication is to your continued wellness. Firstly, it helps you to maintain the supportive relationships you have with friends and family. A commitment to communication also empowers you to express your changing needs and boundaries in your work and personal life. Not to mention that if you have children, honest and open communication can be instrumental in helping them handle the turbulence of the new situation.
If you find it difficult to communicate with friends and family, you may find it helpful to start with a third party in the form of a therapist or counselor. This gives you an outlet to express your feelings and explore your challenges in a confidential environment. Your therapist may also help you to develop the language and tools to start talking with the people you’re close to in ways that are conducive to healing.
Bolster Your Self-Esteem
Divorce can feel like a big knock to your confidence. There may be a range of new changes to your life that you may not feel you have the skills to address. It’s also common for people’s sense of self to be tied to their long-term relationships, with divorce having a destabilizing effect. One of your priorities for healing, once the dust has settled, is bolstering your self-esteem.
There is a tangible connection between self-esteem and mental wellness. Having a chronically low perception of your worth can cause or exacerbate anxiety, loneliness, or symptoms of depression. At the earliest opportunity, you should take steps to challenge any negative beliefs about yourself. Look for evidence that disproves negative self-talk and highlights your positive attributes. Wherever possible, surround yourself with people who both recognize your significant value and express this.
You may also find it helpful to adopt behavior that promotes self-confidence. Managing your appearance to emphasize the aspects you like most can help boost your spirits. Even being more assertive in your daily activities may help you feel like a more active participant in your circumstances and raise awareness of your strengths.
Take Practical Action
Managing your mental health following a divorce can feel a little unwieldy. After all, you’re navigating complex emotions and psychological difficulties that may change unexpectedly. It can, therefore, be helpful to take actions that provide you with a sense of control. Attending to these practical elements promotes your agency. It can also relieve some points of pressure, allowing you to handle the mental load.
You may find it helpful to start with the financial components of your post-married life. Divorce can disrupt financial stability, which in itself can cause additional stress. Taking action to manage your finances now can protect you from further difficulties, improve your quality of life, and take some of the pressure off. This may include arranging payment plans to handle settlements or your share of debt. Take an honest assessment of your financial means and craft a monthly budget. Taking out new credit cards and using them mindfully can help restore your credit, too.
Part of your approach to practical action can involve making bold changes in your life. You may decide that you want to explore a new career path, in which case you can seek out education and training opportunities. If most of your friendships were connected to you and your ex as a couple, seek out social groups to meet new people. Even redecorating your home to suit your preferences can be empowering. Not to mention that driving positive change could be good for your ongoing mental wellness.
The various difficulties of a divorce can do a number on your mental health. Effective healing involves committing to communicating, both to your loved ones and therapists where appropriate. Bolstering your self-esteem can also be instrumental in helping you overcome hits in confidence. Remember that some decisive practical actions can help you better navigate the stress related to feeling out of control of your circumstances. The change in your life may be unavoidable, but you have the power to move on positively.
Guest post by Luke Smith
Tags: behavioral health, crossroads health, health services, mental health after divorce, mental health divorce, mental health facility, mental health treatment, Mentor Ohio, self care