Be kind to your mental wellbeing while going through a separation or divorce

There is no sugar coating this – separation and divorce can often be a brutal process that has the potential to leave you emotionally and mentally drained.

Going through a separation can disturb the equilibrium not only for you and your former partner but also your children, family and possibly your shared circle of friends.

There is no shame in recognising the potential impact to your mental wellbeing and this article hopes to help you accept – without stigma, self-deprecation or any negative thoughts that it is okay to hurt, seek help and above all to learn to be kind to yourself, particularly during a separation.

Mental health impact – How people react to separation or divorce

Starting and finalising the divorce process itself has the potential to impact people in one of the following ways: –

  • Business as usual – you have an amicable split and divorce borne from a mutual understanding that the relationship was not working.
  • A positive cathartic stage – in some cases it is an explosive stage – realisation as to the finality of the relationship with potential to feel relief and use as a positive spring board for growth.
  • A negative cathartic process and in recognising the finality of the relationship and impending divorce proceedings, it can contribute to a poor mental health position.

Whatever the case may be, a divorce or separation is still an ending, and a time of significant change, so be sure to take time out for yourself.

How can a family law or divorce firm help with your mental wellbeing?

Naturally there will be many variants to the scenarios above and you may ask why is a legal firm – with no footing in mental wellbeing – writing about something that they cannot help with directly?

While it is true that most legal firms will not, or are not professionally qualified to provide counselling, your legal team dealing with your separation and or divorce matters do offer one way to protect you.

Where a broken relationship is fractious and communications between the parties is impossible, your legal team can work as the intermediary, bypassing your need to liaise at all with your ex-partner if needed.

Family law or Divorce firms will also have links with mediation and or counselling services with qualified professionals that can provide you with the appropriate support you need during this time.

How can you manage your own mental wellbeing?

Separation or divorce is no time to be stoical or silo all your emotions. This is 21st century Australia after all and it is okay to admit that not all is well and if you have any concerns as to your wellbeing, we would suggest that you communicate this to your legal team and/or seek your own professional help. There is no shame in seeking a voice, a forum to vent or other professional to help steer you through the process.

One potentially positive aspect of separation or divorce is the opportunity to take up a lost hobby, find a new one, improve your health, go to the gym regularly, make that trip you had planned – ie to focus on yourself.

Use that cathartic moment – be it positive or negative – to realign your life and set yourself some attainable personal goals or challenges.

While it can be an unsettling time with plenty of flux, try to embrace the change as much as you can.

After sometimes years or decades in a relationship where you morphed from a woman/man to a partner to a mother/father it can be quite liberating to rediscover a hidden self that has slowly over time become eroded.

Ride the positive, nurture the possibilities and accept and work on the negatives.

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