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Dealing with divorce and anxiety

13 Feb 2019

It’s well-known that divorce is one of the most stressful life events you can experience. If you are going through a divorce, rest assured that feelings of anxiety are normal at this uncertain time, and that there are healthy ways to cope.

What is divorce anxiety?

Divorce anxiety is a term given to the feelings of fear and uncertainty that many people experience when going through a divorce (or considering it as a possibility). Symptoms can be both mental (for example, worrying about the future) and physical (such as a quickened heartbeat, sweating or poor sleep).

It’s very natural for the idea of divorce – a breakdown of the identity and security that your life has been based around – to evoke feelings of anxiousness and worry. This is a normal stage when coming to terms with the changes you are going through.

Common thoughts and feelings

Divorce can bring up a whole host of feelings, some of which can come as a surprise. You may feel:

  • Grief and loneliness at the end of a relationship
  • Anger and frustration at how things are turning out
  • Shame or embarrassment, as if you have let yourself or others down
  • Fear of the future, and a worry that you won’t cope
  • Concern for your children and how they will deal with the divorce.

Divorce often involves the loss of more than just your spouse; the marital home, mutual friends, your financial security and your sense of identity as a married person are all at stake. A lot of things may be changing at once, and losing the comfort of your familiar routine may leave you feeling anxious and insecure – even if the divorce was instigated by you, or you feel it’s for the best.

Coping mechanisms for dealing with divorce anxiety

Anxiety is common among people going through divorce, but there are things you can do to help yourself through this difficult time.

  • Allow yourself to grieve. It’s healthy to acknowledge your feelings and give yourself space and time to process them. If you don’t do this, they may resurface later on. Don’t be afraid to talk things through with friends – or see a therapist to support you through this difficult time. For some people keeping a journal is a good way to manage and make sense of their feelings.
  • Start a new routine. When life is hard, we need routine more than ever. With the loss of your old life, it’s a good time to develop new habits that you can stick to every day. Look after yourself by making sure you eat and sleep well, and see friends often.
  • Try something new. During a divorce, you’re saying goodbye to the past. To help you cope, taking up a new hobby, or simply booking a holiday somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, can switch your focus to the future, giving you something positive to look forward to in your new life.
  • Get some exercise. Anxiety is a psychological state, but it can also manifest itself physically, potentially affecting your sleep, libido and appetite. When you move your body, you’ll reap both physical and mental health benefits which should help alleviate some of these symptoms. If possible, get outside into the fresh air and walk for 30 minutes a day.

Legal support for your divorce

Divorce is a big step. Hepburn Delaney understands the difficult and sensitive nature of a divorce and we’re here to guide you through the process. Contact us on 01442 218090 to book a consultation today.