4 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself!
Most studies rank a divorce or other family law matter as being one of the most stressful events in life that you will ever go through. Even when both parties are trying to collaborate or search for methods in working with one another, there is still uncertainty, stress and even trauma in going through the process. That’s why one of the most important, most valuable things you can do in such a situation is take care of yourself. Intentionally focus on giving yourself some extra kindness and grace during this trying time. Many people have a tendency to put on a brave face and try to get through this life storm while telling everyone around them that they are fine and even trying to be brave for their children. However, by acknowledging your feels, setting aside some time for yourself, and trying to process through the feelings, often you can begin and then ultimately, dig into your needed healing process. While life is often characterized as peaks and valleys, going through a divorce or other family law matter is often considered one of the lower valleys in your life, you can get through the process and await the peak on the other side.
How can you take care of yourself during this trying time?
1. Lean on your loved ones.
Hopefully, you have meaningful friendships and loved ones, including family members who can provide you with emotional support during this time. While many people tell us, as family law attorneys, that they don’t want to burden their friends and family with their difficult feelings, we can assure you that your loved ones want to be there for you. In the same way that if your loved ones needed you and did not share that with you, you would be sad or disappointed, do not deny them the opportunity to support and be there for you. Many friends and family also do not know or are not sure what the best or right thing to say is in a situation such as this. Thus, if there is specific support or help or something else you need, it is best to simply express your needs. For example, tell them you simply need a listening ear or the opportunity to vent, without them feeling that they need to offer suggestions or solutions. Some solutions take time and patience to find and your friends or family members may not be able to provide solutions, but can certainly be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. If you would like a support person to attend your meetings with your lawyer to help ask questions, take notes, process information, and offer suggestions, almost always we can plan for and arrange for this!
2. Schedule Time to Take Care of Your Physical Health
During times of stress, many people neglect or spend less time taking care of themselves, including their physical health. Often during times of emotional pain and processing, our bodies need- more than ever- to be taken care of including sleeping, eating, and exercising or moving. We see many clients who barely eat due to their stress, worry or fear about what is going on in their life. In that situation, you may need to put alarms on your phone that remind you to eat at scheduled times. Many of our clients that have unprocessed anger or frustration report feeling a lot of relief through kickboxing classes or other exercising opportunities that require a large amount of physical exertion. Still, other clients benefit best from having alone time to quietly and privately process their feelings or emotions. This may mean nurturing your own needs by getting some extra rest or it may mean taking some individual hikes to explore and see nature and give your mind some time to process.
3. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Undoubtedly, divorce or family law matters put a significant mental toll and stress on a person. There are many ways that you can support your own mental and emotional health during a trying time. If needed, see a counselor or therapist. It is common for a client to be experiencing depression (sadness) and/or anxiety (worry and fear for the future) with the kinds of life changes that we address in family law matters. Getting some professional help to allow you to find healthy ways to cope and process with these changes is a sign of strength- not weakness. If you are not sure you need a therapist, go to the bookstore or library and find some books about healing during and after divorce. Some of our clients have also reported finding some amazing, healing podcasts, particularly ones where other people’s stories of finding hope and healing are shared!
4. Leave Yourself Breathing Room in Your Schedule:
Similar to how we started this article, it is paramount that you give yourself some grace and kindness in going through such a hard time. Be gentle and forgiving of yourself! Some people throw themselves into their work or focus all of their attention on caring for the children, but often, these things to excess, result in a situation where you do not have an opportunity to actually work through and process through your pain. While sitting with, and even confronting difficult emotions can be hard, it is an often necessary path to find healing. If you have extra wiggle room in your schedule, do not find another task or commitment to fill it with. Allow yourself some quiet time to relax or do nothing or to do something to take care of your body.
Divorce and family law matters are hard, but by enlisting the right professionals to help you through the process, you will almost certainly feel more confidence, strength, and peace. At Pingel Family Law, we have been helping people thrive and succeed through changing life circumstances for more than twenty years and we would be honored to help you through your life transitions. Call us today at (816) 208-8130 to schedule your consultation!