Looking After Yourself During Separation
Separating from a partner is rarely easy and can adversely impact emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Self-care is essential, as is viewing the issues to be solved as a marathon, not a sprint.
That said, it is not always easy to find the time, energy or inclination for self-care during a separation. The process may leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, drained, confused, depressed and anxious – and even angry and bitter. However tough the situation, prioritising your own wellbeing will help you make better decisions.
While the following tips and strategies might be of some assistance and provide a roadmap for getting on with life after separation:
1. Eat properly
Good nutrition is essential. A balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will fuel your body and mind and help you manage your stressful situation better. Be careful about how much alcohol is consumed. Apart from any other reason, over consumption may also adversely impact your family law issues.
2. Get active
Exercise is a proven way of improving mood and decreasing feelings and symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Remember, the intensity of the activity you do isn’t important. What matters most is that you get physical in order to induce changes in your body which help to produce positive feelings. Walking, cycling, hiking, skateboarding, scooting with the kids, swimming, tennis, golf, gym, pilates, yoga – even playing outdoor games with your children – are all physical activities that will help provide emotional relief.
3. Breathing techniques
Breathing techniques can help you feel calm and can also prepare your body and mind for sleep. Getting sufficient sleep is another crucial component of mental and physical wellness, so it may be worthwhile trying some deep breathing techniques at bedtime. Even the simplest deep breathing exercises can have a profound effect on your state of mind and the bonus is that they can be done anywhere, anytime. There are some great apps that assist with mindfulness and mediation.
4. Set up a circle of support
A separation can be an emotional roller-coaster and it can be difficult to think clearly and rationally. However, despite any turmoil and grief you may feel at the loss of your relationship and the loss of the future you had envisaged, it is critical that you make good decisions for you and your family.
By surrounding yourself with trusted friends, family, health experts and advisors, you will reduce the likelihood of making decisions you may regret down the line. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, and consider engaging an empathetic family lawyer at the outset who can walk you through the process making sure your best interests are met.
5. Be gentle on yourself
Being kind to yourself doesn’t show weakness. It shows strength. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, acknowledge the space that you are in and don’t expect to cope 100% of the time. Forgive yourself for mistakes, learn from them and take small manageable steps forward.
6. Focus on the big picture
The emotional upheaval of a separation or divorce can manifest in many ways. Strong emotions come to the fore and these need to be kept in check. If there are children involved, it is important to do things that are in their best interests, however hard that may be. By doing your utmost to manage the impact of the situation on your family and minimising their exposure to conflict, you will be helping them (and yourself) in the long term.
7. Focus on positivity
Research shows that divorce is one of the most stressful life events and is extremely challenging, even for the most resilient of people. Finding ways to keep your spirits up, surrounding yourself with positive people and maintaining a sense of humour can help you cope.
As family lawyers, we understand that the end of relationship can be a traumatic and stressful time for everyone concerned. We also understand the benefits of having trusted, experienced legal representation from the outset and we know how this positively impacts the individual’s wellbeing as well as positively influences the outcome.
Taking positive action to look after yourself during your separation is critical. And if you would like advice from empathetic family lawyers in Perth who will work hard to serve your best interests, you’re welcome to contact the team at West Family Lawyers. You’ll find our details at www.westfamilylawyers.com.au or telephone us on 9380 9111.
Please note that this article is informative in nature and does not constitute legal advice.
Natalie has worked in family law for 18 years, with skills and qualifications in law, mediation, psychology, management, and company directorship.
Natalie is equally comfortable at mediation negotiating a settlement and in the Family Court advocating for clients. She has experience in all areas of family law, including child support, financial settlements, and parenting issues. She is part of a small team of trusted family lawyers in Perth practising in the Family Court of Western Australia.
Find out more about Natalie here.