World Mental Health Day is coming up and we know there’s almost nothing that takes more of a toll on mental health than a divorce. In fact, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a list of 43 stressful life events, divorce comes only second to the death of a spouse or child. Along with stress also comes a higher risk of depression and anxiety among those going through a divorce versus the general population. While these feelings are certainly normal, their severity, duration and impact can be lessened. That’s why we’re sharing these mental health tips during divorce as part of our effort to observe this day by raising awareness and support for these important issues.
Making Mental Health a Priority
With all that needs to be worked out during a divorce including distribution of assets, custody, child support, and alimony, mental health is likely the last thing on your mind. However, that shouldn’t be the case, not only for yourself but also for your child(ren) because divorce takes a toll on their mental health, too. If these mental health issues aren’t given proper attention it can impact you all physically; causing issues such as insomnia, weakened immune system, weight gain, and in the case of depression, even increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, some cancers, heart disease, and arthritis according to WebMD.
Mental Health Tips
Prioritizing mental health from the get-go can help you to lessen the severity of any stress, anxiety or depression that arises from the divorce before it becomes more severe. Here’s how:
- Seeking Guidance from the Start – Although many people try to shoulder the challenges of divorce themselves because of misplaced embarrassment or guilt, there is no shame in asking for help. Seeking professional guidance from a family therapist or a counselor specializing in divorce can provide you and your child(ren) the tools to navigate the trauma of divorce in a healthy way.
- Own Your Happiness – This is not so much about who’s to blame for the divorce and/or for the unhappiness during the marriage. It’s more so about taking responsibility for the fact that you are in charge of your own happiness. Divorce may be the first step in that journey, but don’t stop there. From little things like doing something that makes you happy each day to taking some time with yourself to figure out what you want going forward and how to make those things happen.
- Start Healthy Habits – And reinforce the ones you already have. It not only leads to a sense of accomplishment but can contribute to a more positive mindset overall. Ideas include practicing gratitude, committing to better sleep habits, exercising regularly, eating better, and getting back to your hobbies or even starting new ones. Also, specifically look at ways you can reduce stress during this time such as meditating, yoga, relaxing in nature, reading, and/or journaling.
- Work Towards an Amicable Divorce – Of course, it’s tempting to take your ex ‘to the cleaners’ so to speak, especially if they were in the wrong. But it may just end up hurting you – and your child(ren) – more if the divorce is contentious and drawn out. Mediation is an alternative to court litigation that can not only be less confrontational but also more cost-effective, more private, and can provide a quicker resolution. In this process, a trained mediator serves as a neutral third party and uses dispute resolution methods and negotiation techniques to guide the mediation constructively towards an amicable divorce settlement.
What’s more, our mediation services are 100 percent virtual for added flexibility and convenience. For additional information on how our mediation services can help you, contact us today.