A divorce is a highly stressful, life-changing event. When you’re going through the emotional wringer and dealing with major life changes, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The strain and upset of a major breakup can leave you psychologically and physically vulnerable.
Treat yourself like you’re getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible. Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a breakup. As you feel the emotions of your loss and begin learning from your experience, you can resolve to take better care of yourself and make positive choices going forward.
Make time each day to nurture yourself. Help yourself heal by scheduling daily time for activities you find calming and soothing. Spend time with good friends, go for a walk in nature, listen to music, enjoy a hot bath, get a massage, read a favorite book, take a yoga class, or savor a warm cup of tea.
Pay attention to what you need in any given moment and speak up to express your needs. Honor what you believe to be right and best for you even though it may be different from what your ex or others want. Say “no” without guilt or angst as a way of honoring what is right for you.
Stick to a routine. A divorce or relationship breakup can disrupt almost every area of your life, amplifying feelings of stress, uncertainty, and chaos. Getting back to a regular routine can provide a comforting sense of structure and normalcy.
Take a time out. Try not to make any major decisions in the first few months after a separation or divorce, such as starting a new job or moving to a new city. If you can, wait until you’re feeling less emotional so that you can make decisions with a clearer head.
Avoid using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope. When you’re in the middle of a breakup, you may be tempted to do anything to relieve your feelings of pain and loneliness. But using alcohol, drugs, or food as an escape is unhealthy and destructive in the long run. It’s essential to find healthier ways of coping with painful feelings. HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.
Explore new interests. A divorce or breakup is a beginning as well as an end. Take the opportunity to explore new interests and activities. Pursuing fun, new activities gives you a chance to enjoy life in the here-and-now, rather than dwelling on the past.