Twelve Rules of the Road for Getting Yourself Through Tough Times
This is the third in series of posts on dealing with grief during divorce or legal separation and taking steps to move on emotionally. This post is adapted from material developed by Sharon Baker for use in her family counseling practice in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
When you are going through a difficult time in your life such as a divorce or legal separation, it can be helpful to know some of the common feelings you may experience and how to deal with them as they arise.
You can expect to go through a cycle of:
Shock and denial
Anger and depression
Understanding and acceptance
Then it goes around and around, many times, between anger/depression and acceptance. After a time, acceptance becomes stronger and lasts longer.
Let your attention focus on your loss; it is a good way to understand your pain. There is a message in your pain that will lead to solutions. Pain can give you motivation and energy to bring about changes.
Seek quiet and rest. Take extra good care of yourself. Exercise, eat properly, keep life as simple as possible.
Acknowledge and express your feelings. Talk to someone who knows how to listen. Keep a journal.
Seek out support from friends, family, clergy, divorce or crisis support groups and counselors.
Stay aware. Do not try to alter or numb your feelings with substances, such as alcohol, drugs or overeating.
Be realistic in what you expect from yourself. It is normal to have mood changes, to feel confused, to have mixed feelings about your spouse.
Have faith in your beliefs and in yourself. Remember to be grateful for what you do have. Having life, you are a miracle of creation. You are alive, you can feel, you can learn, you can grow.
Work. Enjoy the benefits of a daily schedule and of accomplishment, especially in the small changes you are gradually adding to your life to make it better.
Be good to yourself.
Take time to be with adults and to enjoy social activities when you are ready.
Remember that healing is already in process. Time and nature are on your side. You will recover!