Adjusting to life after a divorce can be difficult at best and at worst, so dark that most want to forget about those months or years. It is
easy to fall into depression and feel alienated after a divorce. The shared dreams, hopes and goals that a marriage creates are suddenly gone and each person is left to maneuver alone, hoping to find a new life. It is a time when a strong support system is most needed, yet many people find that suddenly their friend pool is a lot smaller than it used to be.
This is the moment when people usually go into survival mode. However, it doesn’t take a psychology degree to know that there’s a better option: Why not thrive? Why coast by, day to day, when you could take the steps to find happiness, to create or strengthen the support system and start a new path in life. Here are some strategies to help fend off the depression, alienation and confusion that come with divorce.
WebMD.com recommends some strategies to face the challenges that divorce brings and to forge ahead. One is to find and build up a strong support system. Having a few friends and relatives to talk to, share a laugh with and call for practical help when needed can make the difference between feeling completely overwhelmed by the divorce and finding the strength to move on. After a divorce, people often find that many of their friends are just not available to them, partly because many of these friends no longer know how to deal with the new dynamics. But reaching out to those friends that can provide the needed strength and support is the only way to involve them and show them they are really needed and can help.
Another strategy recommended in the article is to develop and explore new interests and hobbies, to redefine who you are. Divorce impacts
identity, so people who had invested their whole identity in their marriage find themselves adrift in their new reality. Have you ever wanted to go
rock-climbing? Bike through Europe? Find new activities that you may not have explored when you were married in order to distinguish yourself as a new person, with new interests and a new zest for life.
Healing over time and forging a new life are also necessary to overcome a divorce. The healing process takes time and cannot really be rushed. You may find yourself grieving, and well you should. Divorce is very similar to a death – it is the death of an old, familiar life. The pain
associated with divorce stays long after the divorce is finalized. Patience is very important during this period, and trying to ignore the need to grieve, cry and feel sad is not conducive to getting ready to move on with life.
Even during the healing process, you can begin the process of moving on and creating a new life. The negative emotions tied to divorce
sometimes lead you to stop taking care of yourself, and this can hasten the development of depression. Part of moving on means being careful about taking care of your body and mind, exercising, eating balanced meals and perhaps meditating to maintain overall health. Being healthy, both in body and mind, is vital if you want to avoid giving in to depression.
Moving on also means getting involved in new activities, meeting new people and developing a positive attitude toward the changes that become
inevitable after a divorce. Meeting new people does not necessarily mean jumping into a new romantic relationship. Doing this too soon might mean falling into the same patterns that caused the divorce. But it does mean learning to build new relationships by meeting new friends and learning to trust them and grow with them.
A positive attitude and expressing aloud what a person is feeling are also tools that are very helpful in combating stress and depression caused by a divorce. The attitude a person takes during this time will be the major deciding factor on whether this period is one of depression, tears and constant fear, or one full of positivity, possibilities and hope.
Being able to sit down and talk to someone who is a good listener can also help with managing the negative emotions experienced during
this period. Whether you look to a psychologist or a friend over coffee is no matter – if they’re supportive and eager to listen, you’ve found a diamond in the rough. But above all, be brave enough to give yourself a pep talk if you need one, and let yourself know that you’re doing a good job. This helps to create the positive attitude that can strengthen the resolve to move on with life and create a new one, filled with old and new friends and interests.
Divorce is a period of overwhelming emotions that can leave you feeling a little bit paralyzed. However, overcoming the negative aspects of
this process is the key to thriving after your divorce in a new life!
Bio: Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing