Here are 9 Ways to Practice Self Care Before and After Your Divorce

Self-care is essential to navigate a divorce and recover from its effects

Graphic of woman meditating

Divorce is one of the most stressful events someone can experience. Consequently, divorce can debilitate someone's mental and physical health.That is why self-care is a must.

However, making time for self-care is often challenging, especially if the split is not amicable. That is why we wrote this article - to provide you with 9 different ways to practice the essential self-care you need during and after your divorce.

1. Take a break from your normal routine

Divorce ends one chapter and begins a new one. This transitional period provides a chance for divorcees to break from routine.

Stepping away from a routine could help someone reevaluate their to-do list and make changes as necessary.

Self-care could look like using vacation and personal time to avoid workplace burnout.

It could also look like someone allowing themselves to be less productive than usual.

A break from routine does not have to be a lengthy getaway. It could be a momentary escape from wherever you are.

A recent survey found that 46% of Americans reported less anxiety, depression, and stress after taking several 5 to 10-minute breaks throughout the day.

2. Make time for things you love

Someone can reclaim their joy by setting time aside for activities they love, discovering new interests, and reconnecting with the person they were before marriage.

Author Cheryl Strayed picked up hiking following several traumas, including her divorce.

At 26 years old, Strayed completed a 1,000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail for several months alone.

Her best-selling memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, details her transformative journey from a self-destructive soul to the woman her mother knew she could be.

Back-packing mountain ranges is one of the countless passions someone could discover while healing from divorce.

Social platforms like Eventbrite and Meetup allow users to host and register events that cater to various interests like fitness, travel, photography, and music.

3. Ask for help

Someone going through a divorce is far from alone. There are approximately 630,505 divorces every year in America.

Nonetheless, many people feel lonely throughout the divorce process.

Asking others for support requires courage and vulnerability. A divorcee putting themselves out there could experience temporary discomfort but long-term health benefits.

People that surround themselves with a support system could improve their resilience, enhance their optimism, and increase their work ethic.

Support from a trusted circle could supplement guidance from professional and confidential services such as therapists, support groups, and hotlines.

For instance, Community Crisis Services, Inc. provides a 24-hour hotline and resources for those experiencing emotional challenges.

Apart from mental health support, a divorcee could seek help with chores and obligations from someone they trust to lighten their stress load.

4. Write down your feelings

Author Julia Cameron expressed that "Writing is medicine. It's an appropriate antidote to injury. It is an appropriate companion to any difficult change."

Researchers have found that journaling thoughts may provide several mental and physical benefits, such as:

  • Reducing anxiety, depression, and stress symptoms
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Improving memory and mood
  • Enhancing sleeping

There are no rules when it comes to journaling. Grammar, format, and spelling take a backseat to creativity, expression, and healing.

Someone unsure of how to start or maintain a journal could refer to these journaling ideas for divorce recovery.

5. Spend more time with friends

Focusing energy on loved ones could help someone sober up from being under the influence of stress.

Researchers found that socializing with friends releases the "love hormone" oxytocin and helps to reduce stress hormones like cortisol.

Exchanging an hour of ruminating on a failed marriage for watching a movie with friends could turn someone's day and mental health around.

6. Eat a balanced diet

A nutrient-dense diet could help someone manage their stress by regulating cortisol levels and boosting stamina.

For instance, polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fats in salmon and chia seeds could help manage cortisol levels.

Additionally, a healthy diet could strengthen someone's immune system and restore damaged cells.

Fast food and low-nutrient food are typically more convenient than nutritious options. Someone struggling to consume nourishing food could start meal planning.

Researchers have found that meal prepping could help someone save money, lose weight, improve emotional wellness, and enhance diet quality.

A sensible diet also includes eliminating or reducing the consumption of drugs that could exacerbate stress symptoms.

These drugs include excess alcohol or caffeine as well as opioids, and nicotine.

7. Exercise

Graphic of man running

Singer Adele made headlines in 2021 for her 100-pound weight loss and "revenge body" following her divorce.

A revenge body refers to a person losing weight after a breakup as a way to cope or to make their former partner jealous.

Adele quickly shut down these assumptions and explained that she turned to exercise for self-care and to cope with anxiety.

Exercise will provide soothing effects regardless if someone is motivated by vengeance, anxiety, or both.

Researchers found that regular exercise can boost endorphin production and combat the adverse effects of stress.

Endorphins are known as "feel good" chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers.

Additionally, regular exercise may decrease someone's chances of developing cancer, suffering from depression, or having hardened arteries.

8. Practice meditation

Many people turn to meditation to achieve a state of relaxation because of its medicinal effects, little to no cost, and convenience.

It is the fasted-growing form of holistic wellness practices. Meditation tripled in popularity between 2012 and 2017 alone.

The following are benefits associated with meditation:

  • Interrupts fight-or-flight responses
  • Reduces rumination
  • Improves mental focus
  • Boosts kindness to oneself and others

Helpful tips for those beginning their meditation journey include designating a safe space, using correct posture, and scheduling meditation in advance.

Additionally, meditation apps like Calm, Insight Timer, and Ten Percent Happier can guide meditation beginners and veterans alike.

9. Let your lawyer do the work

American courts comply with complex legal precedence and procedure. A divorce is not the time to represent yourself and learn how to persuade a judge in a legal proceeding.

Someone going through a divorce could save themselves time and energy by assigning legal representation to an expert.

An experienced family law attorney could alleviate someone's uncertainty by answering legal questions, managing case expectations, and avoiding costly mistakes.

A skilled divorce lawyer could provide objective advice during an emotionally-charged separation and refer a client to professionals that could provide mental health support.

Self-care is your greatest armor

Divorce can feel like a personal purgatory. Many divorced people mourn a person still alive and face a new life in the wake of a dead marriage.

Feeling overwhelmed by these paradoxes is par the course.

Divorce is also an opportunity to discover and use untapped bravery and strength.

Self-care during and after divorce could determine whether someone merely survives or thrives in their next life chapter.