Whether formal or informal, separation and divorce are amongst the most difficult challenges in life, and generate a large amount of stress. The range of emotions experienced can vary from anger to anxiety through to a sense of insecurity and incompetence. If you have children, you may feel that you have failed in your duty to them or that you are an unworthy parent. Acknowledge these feelings and understand that they are a normal part of separation.
Emotional support is essential to help overcome feeling isolated and depressed. In addition to availing yourself of the necessary legal assistance, enlist the support of family or friends at times when anger and frustration boil over and need to be expressed. You may also benefit from joining a local support group to share the experiences of others.
Helping Kids Heal
Your children need to feel loved and accepted, especially during this tumultuous time. Dispel their fears by explaining that even if the family changes, their parents love and support for them will not change. Actions speak louder than words; reassure them by spending time with them, and show more affection when they need it. Remember that children model themselves on their parents, so be mindful of what you say and do when they are with you.
Get Professional Help
No one expects you or your children to cope with the stress of divorce or separation alone. Your family doctor can provide you with advice and guidance on effective therapies. Some children may even be more comfortable discussing their feelings and concerns with a counsellor rather than their parents.
Keep To Your Routine
Continue to follow your normal routine to create a sense of normality for the family. If you go swimming on Thursdays, keep doing it. The order and continuity will help ease the concerns of the children, and they will be reassured to know the schedule for the next day or weekend.
There are some decisions that need to be taken immediately rather than waiting until after separation – such as finding somewhere new to live or, perhaps, a job. However, other decisions may be put on ice until the dust has settled, such as changing careers or studying. Deal with the decisions that are pressing, but allow yourself time to make decisions that can wait.
Unsettling changes in family life may lead to changes in eating habits, sleep and general routine. Be aware that healthy eating, exercise and restful sleep will give you energy that is vital for your mental and physical well-being. Take the necessary steps to alleviate stress. It is not always possible to avoid stressors, but a few minutes of deep breathing may bring some relief to your body and mind. Try relaxation exercises or find a meditation technique that suits you.
Focus On The Future
Imagine your future for a moment. Think about what you want to achieve and the steps you must take to accomplish your goals. If life in another city appeals to you, or you wish to find new employment, or start a business, develop a plan of action that will make your dream a reality.
Separation or divorce do not mean that you are a walking failure. Your relationship no longer exists, but you can make sure you learn from this experience. Concentrate on your qualities and your personal growth. Maintain a positive attitude – the future will seem brighter and you will move forward with more confidence.