By Guest-Writer Kathleen Rock, JD, MS, LCPC
Divorce is one of life’s major stressors, even when one or both parties feel it is for the best. It is additionally stressful if it is something you did not want. It is essential for divorcing parties to take care of themselves during this time. If children are involved, the parents must take care of themselves if they are to take care of their children.
It is important for parties to get adequate sleep, eat well, avoid highly processed foods and get regular, preferably daily exercise. We often overlook these helpful behaviors when we are under stress and that is when they are most important. Work-life balance is also important to navigate this change.
Avoid numbing behaviors including alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs (other than necessary prescriptions) over-working or eating to excess or not eating. Do not isolate—shame and guilt often accompany divorce and parties often isolate because of this. Reach out to safe, trusted friends for support.
Finally, while it is healthy to process the experience with a safe/trusted individual, bashing your former partner to others will benefit no one. Families and friends most often take sides and when the dust settles, permanent ill-will may exist. A neutral objective professional can help to walk you through this experience to a place of healing. Ultimately, this can be a positive, growing experience.
Kathleen Rock is a licensed attorney and mental health professional in Bozeman, Montana. She can be contacted at (406)587-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.