Jan 28, 2021
Self Care is Important to Get Through Divorce: a Personal Viewpoint
Some say you can have a good divorce, and as a divorce attorney I agree. There can be amicable and friendly divorces where the process goes smoothly, the assets are easily divided, and the children are happy. As a natural mediator, I strive to handle these friendly divorces. However, on the other side, some couples may experience many more obstacles.
Sadly, I have witnessed it and have lived through it. Yes, there are some divorces that you “live through”, and if you are one of those people, I applaud you. It is not easy to part ways with someone with whom you thought you were going to spend your life.
People have asked me how can I get through this? How can I cope with the stress of an ongoing divorce, work, and kids? So many people have asked me this that I decided to write about it. Again, as in most of my blogs, take what you want from this – it is not a one-size-fits-all response, but my hope is that I can positively inspire and influence at least one person going through this hell to believe that they will “live through” the divorce.
Coping with stress, work, kids during divorce
So, here are the things that have helped me “live through” my divorce as yes, I am part of the “club”.
1. Gratitude: I do not get out of my bed until I stop and give thanks for the things I have. I do not take anything for granted anymore. I name at least three things for which I am grateful. And yes, somedays it is hard to muster up the energy to find those three things. Worst case? I am thankful to wake up, to breathe, and to be able to work.
2. Family/Friends: I use my support groups – groups I did not think I would have. I do not like to impose on anyone. My family and friends picked me up and carried me when I did not think I could go on. They listened to me over and over again! They listened to me say the same things over and over and yet, they simply listened. They did not judge. There is this club out there – of people who have “lived through” the horrors of divorce. Once, you’re in the club it is like people will come out of the woodwork and are there for you. I tried very hard not to abuse this gift. Note: everyone is different – so some of your support group will be there to go shopping or golfing with you; whereas others will actively discuss your divorce. Know who is who so you can use your support wisely.
3. Exercise/Diet/Sleep: Sadly, I am at the age where sleep does not come easily for me – plus I am a parent, and most parents do not sleep easily. I will tell you that EVERY day I give myself an hour of some form of exercise – is a GOOD day! I practice yoga, I walk, I ride my Peloton, I box, and I do strength training. Not all at once of course, but I mix it up. It helps and you deserve at least one hour for YOU.
4. Meditate: It takes only two minutes of meditation a day to have a positive physical impact so there is NO excuse! Start with YouTube or buy an app and give yourself this precious time. The beauty of this practice is that it teaches good breathing techniques and this “breathing” has come in handy on many occasions.
5. Journal/Hurt: So, I cry a lot. I never used to be that person, but I am. I own it now. I have learned through the help of various experts that it is okay to hurt. It is okay to cry. It is okay to feel. This means you loved. You cared. I journal as much as I can. Sometimes, the entries are short, and other times I could go on for weeks writing. No one sees the journal. It is extremely cathartic and it helps me to remember – both the good and bad experiences. While writing about the bad things does help you “vent”, I found that writing about the positive memories also helped with my healing journey. After journaling I feel lighter and can go about my business with a clear and present focus.
6. Give back: Helping others is a tried and true method for feeling better about yourself. I was blessed to be able to give to others during my divorce in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it is talking to a stranger and just giving them hope, other times I donated money or tangible items. Either way, giving of myself was and is very therapeutic.
As you can see, this is nothing new. I am sure you have read these things before, but maybe not from a divorce attorney. We feel too. We experience pain the same way everyone else has. I am not perfect in any way, but I strive to find peace and happiness wherever I can. I also really do try to find the silver lining in everything I do. It is very synonymous to practicing yoga. It takes time and devoted practice but it does get easier as I continue to do it daily.
Christine Lombardo-Zaun is and attorney-mediator at the Alpha center for Divorce Mediation. “>Click here to see her profile.>
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