No matter if divorce is a mutual decision or feels like a one-sided desire, the end of a marriage brings many changes. Even if a marriage was filled with arguments and stress, there will still be anxieties about adjusting to the future. The Holmes Rahe Stress Scale lists divorce as the second most stressful experience among adults. Though the study was conducted in the late 1960s-1970, divorce consistently makes it into the top five.
As with most life experiences, resiliency or ability to adapt is a powerful indicator of how one will transition through a break up. If you're in the middle of a divorce or even contemplating serving papers, what can you do to increase your ability to adapt to a new lifestyle?
Psychotherapist and relationship expert Stacy Kaiser, contributor to Live Happy, says it's important to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually as you transition through divorce.
"On an airplane, we're instructed to put on the oxygen mask first. If we can't breathe, we can't help someone else. This is true in divorce, as well," she says.
Kaiser shares some tips for helping you through the transition.
1. Rally your support system. Decide who you still consider to be your close circle and bring those people in.
2. Take care of yourself. Exercise. Take a yoga class. Eat healthy foods. Get plenty of sleep.
3. Reach out. Friends may pull away because they aren't sure what to do or what to say. They may be waiting for you to make the first move.
4. Give yourself time to heal. Perhaps work with a therapist, either individually or in a group. Read books or articles but keep in mind that sometimes what the experts advise might not feel right for your family. Each situation is different.
5. Get to know yourself. Reflect. You have to get to know the new you. Who are you now? Do you want to date? Who do you want to date? Do you need to reinvent yourself professionally, especially if you're going back to work after being at home with the kids? How will you fill your free time?
6. Decide whom you'd like to be in your circle. Surround yourself with supportive friends. Try to meet some new friends who are single.
The transition through a divorce may mean redefining yourself and your family. Taking care of yourself and surrounding yourself with supportive friends can help you through this exciting yet scary transition.
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