3 ways to take care of yourself during divorce or separation

3 ways to take care of yourself during divorce or separation

Life is busy and keeping on top of everything can be difficult at the best of times. Carving out time for self-care is important for everyone but it is even more essential when going through a major life change like separation or divorce. Here are three ways you can take care of yourself to make sure you don’t end up in mental and physical burn out.

Give yourself time

Many people going through separation or divorce want to get it over with. It can be a painful process and it may seem very attractive to make quick decisions to get though the process as quickly as possible. On the other hand, some people feel paralyzed with anxiety and fear when it comes to making any decision regarding their separation because they feel immense pressure to make the best decision for themselves and their children. The key here is to give yourself time. Allow yourself the time to process your emotions and get in touch with the right professionals who will help guide you through the process. Rushing through it or feeling bad because you can’t seem to make any decisions will not help you in the long run. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to take the time you need

Focus on radical self-care

Radical self-care is the idea of making your physical and mental health a priority. It means (but isn’t limited to!) getting enough sleep, eating well and making time for activities and people that energize rather than deplete you. Often we put self-care on the back burner when life gets challenging, but this is exactly the when it becomes crucial.

Think you don’t have time? Make it about quality, not quantity. The trick to it all is to have the intention that you are putting yourself first, without guilt. Be compassionate with yourself, and talk to yourself kindly. Yes, we all have that critical voice inside our head and with a little effort, we can catch ourselves and change the script.

Think it’s selfish?  No. The better you become at looking after yourself, the better you can be at taking care of others. You can’t give of yourself when there’s nothing left.

The more you practice, the easier it will be and eventually it will be second nature for you to fill up your cup before sharing it with everyone else.

Call in reinforcement

There is no shame in asking for help. Whether it be a friend, family member or professional therapist or counsellor talking through your feelings and emotions can help you come to terms with them and move on. Let people help you through this stressful time and take some of the weight off your shoulders. Maybe you get your sister to babysit so you don’t have to bring your kids along to appointments or you get a co-worker to take something off your plate at work. Letting people in will make you feel less alone and more able to handle the divorce/separation process.

These three practices are all considered part of good emotional first aid. Taking care of emotional wounds such as divorce is just as important as taking care of your physical body. Following these steps will help guide you on your path to healing.

About Natalie Carrière

Natalie is a bilingual registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She has a master’s degree in counselling and spirituality from Saint Paul University, as well as a master's degree in medical anthropology from the University of Ottawa. Natalie offers a holistic, integrative approach and has experience with anxiety, depression, life transitions, divorce, parenthood and grief, to name a few. She enjoys working with her clients and considers it a privilege to be able to accompany them on their journeys of self discovery and healing.