During and after a divorce, you will have various legal, financial, and emotional difficulties to deal with. Your time with your children might be cut drastically. You might struggle to pay bills, having gone from two household incomes to one or paying out a large portion of your income to child support and/or alimony. You likely have a pile of documents to fill out for the court system. In addition to all of that, you might also be struggling with the emotional trauma of a rough breakup. It can be difficult to keep your spirits up, but it is important that you maintain a positive outlook. This will help not only your own mental health but also that of your children. Read on for tips on staying positive throughout the divorce process.
Know That You Are Doing Your Best
It is common for people going through a divorce to feel guilty. You might ask yourself if you were really the best spouse you could be. You might worry that you have failed your children. When the bills pile up and you don’t have enough money coming in, you might feel overwhelmed and inadequate. It is important to give yourself some grace and to recognize that you are doing the best you can at this moment.
It might be true that you could have done things differently in your marriage or as a parent, but you can make better choices starting right now. If you are in a financial bind, realize that you will get this aspect of your life under control; it might take time, but it will happen. Call your creditors and ask for a deferral or a different payment plan. All you can do now is your best, and as long as that is what you are doing, there’s no reason to feel guilty.
Use Affirmations to Reset Your Thinking
Knowing that you are doing your best and actually saying affirmations out loud are two different things. Take a few minutes each day to look in the mirror and tell yourself nice things. “I am a good parent,” “I am a hard worker,” and “I am worthy of love,” are all statements that you can make to yourself. The act of saying these things out loud can help you internalize them as truth and can help you get through hard days.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your feelings is a great way to put your worries and strife aside for most of the day. Choose a time during the day when you will sit and ruminate on your concerns. During this time, which shouldn’t be longer than about 15 minutes, you can focus on your negative feelings and write them down in your journal. The rest of the time, when you feel negativity creeping in, remind yourself that you will have time later to dwell on that, which might allow you to put it out of your mind.
Another way journaling can help is if you write down something that you’re grateful for each day. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to remind yourself of all that is going right for you now, rather than focusing on what is going wrong. In addition, you will naturally start to look for positive things to be thankful for so that you can write them in your journal. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a great habit that will help you stay positive.
Maintain a Circle of Support
Going through a divorce is draining, and it can help to have people you know are on your side. It is not uncommon for people to lose friends when they separate from their spouses. Friends that you shared as a couple might “choose sides,” and if one spouse seems, in their viewpoint, to be more at-fault than the other, that spouse might lose the majority of his or her friends.
Rely on your extended family and plan on making new friends if this is the situation you are in. You might find a support group for recent (or not-so-recent) divorcees. If you are active in a church or another religious or community organization, inquire as to whether there is a support group available for individuals or parents who are going through a divorce.
Envision a Happy Future
By looking ahead to the future, you might be more likely to maintain a positive attitude. Right now, things are hard, but that doesn’t mean that they will still be this hard in six months, one year, five years, or ten years. Make a physical or mental list of what you expect to improve once you get through the emotional, legal, and financial trauma of the divorce, and envision these things happening.
For example, you might find love again. You might buy a new home or decide to relocate to a different town. If your home was filled with tension, silence, or fighting with your spouse, you can look forward to a more peaceful home life. Maybe you would like to change careers, make healthy lifestyle changes, or make travel plans. Even if you feel stuck in your situation right now, understand that this is temporary and that things will get better.
Seek Professional Help
Finally, if you are having a hard time maintaining a positive outlook, don’t be afraid to seek counseling. A therapist can help you explore issues that you have dealt with, that you are currently dealing with, and that you will likely deal with in the future. Seeking professional help sets a good example for your children: There’s no reason to suffer from a negative mindset, and there is help available. Another professional you might consider is a life coach, who can walk you through the changes you would like to make for a more positive and productive life.
Keeping your outlook positive as you go through your divorce can be a challenge, but it is important for your own well-being and that of your children that you make an effort. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether that is from your friends and family or a professional. And remember, you will get through this!