You said your marriage vows, you had high hopes for a successful marriage and then your world crashed. Your marriage is over. You may feel that your emotional wound will never heal -- but it will. "Change involves letting go, and requires a psychological and physical “movement” in order to begin the healing process,” says Debra Warner, a licensed marriage and family therapist. You have to make an effort to let go of anger, forgive and move on with your life. Appropriate steps can help you heal and take control during this life-changing period.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel your emotions and work through them. Give yourself time to grieve the end of your marriage. Release the hopes and dreams you had for the future as a family. Expect to feel a wide array of emotions from stress, anxiety, guilt, denial, sadness and anger. Healing takes time, and a number of factors affect the healing process. For example, who initiated the divorce, was it expected, was there infidelity and how much resentment is present, says Warner. Having children together will also affect the healing process. It is normal for children to grieve the loss of a family, says KidsHealth.org. Be receptive to their feelings and encourage open communication.
2. Seek Support
You need a strong support system when you are in emotional pain. Seek support from family and friends and do not isolate yourself. Talking about your feelings can alleviate stress, increase your self-esteem and decrease feelings of loneliness. Support groups and professional help also offer an opportunity to seek solace and guidance. "Communication and cooperation makes the divorce process easier for those involved. Having a mediator, such as psychologist may prove helpful to help talk through things and reach decisions with less conflict," according to the American Psychological Association. Counseling can improve mental health, teach you ways to handle your feelings, such as depression and anger, and provide you with methods to cope, says FamilyDoctor.org.
3. Create a Co-Parenting Relationship
You have to find closure with the end of your spousal relationship, and you need to create a co-parenting relationship. As co-parenters, both parents should make all-important decisions regarding your children. Changing from a two-parent household to a single-parent household is a big change. According to the American Psychological Association, it is often beneficial to come up with a parenting plan with your ex and discuss it with your children together. For example, what will be the rules moving forward, when and where the children will stay, and how will parents handle the holidays. Routine is important during this transition. Limit change as much as possible. For example, if your children are scheduled to stay with your ex over the weekends, stick with that routine. Keep your children away from potential conflict as much as possible.
4. Be Good to Yourself
"Treat yourself like you are getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible," says HelpGuide.org. Eat healthy and avoid alcohol or drugs as a means to handle your feelings. Go for a run or take a bike ride with the kids. Endorphins released during exercise elevate mood and reduce stress. Rediscover old hobbies and interests or find new ones. Write in a journal, read, take a hot shower or do something that makes you feel good.
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