• Emily Pringle

Looking after your mental health during Divorce or Separation

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Getting divorced or separating can hit you full on – emotionally, mentally, and physically. You can feel like your world has turned upside down overnight. You may also find yourself experiencing periods of anxiety or depression, both during and/or after the process.

Given that it is a recognised statistic that one in four people will experience challenges with their mental health at some point in their lifetime, experiencing these feelings when going through divorce or separation is completely normal and shouldn’t be worried about.

But you do need to ensure that you are doing everything you can to look after yourself.

The first step to try and overcome those feelings is to acknowledge how you are feeling. There is nothing to be ashamed of and pushing your emotions to one side will inevitably make you feel worse.

Be brave, and face into them.

Here are some strategies that I work through with clients at The Divorce Partner that will help you manage your mental well-being when going through a divorce;

1. Relaxation - Take time for yourself. Lots of us try to avoid 'sitting still' because we worry that if we stop then they will fall apart emotionally. Whilst there is some benefit in keeping busy and active, it is also important to make time for relaxation and reflection. Doing conscious relaxation exercises will help focus the mind but also allow your body and mind to heal.

2. Exercise - When we feel depressed or anxious, our motivation for doing exercise can be on an all-time low. Exercise stimulates our mind and body and we always feel better after getting active. If you are struggling, start small. A regular walk out in the fresh air will definitely lift your mood, even if just to the shops and back. Try doing this everyday as a start.

3. Get Healthy – We cannot emphasise enough the importance of looking after all aspects of yourself. Diet and physical health in particular play a huge part in how we feel emotionally. Are you eating a balanced diet or comfort eating on takeaways? Are you drinking more than you usually would? Are you skipping meals? Get yourself a health check-up. Consider it an investment in yourself, your own personal MOT. You would do it if you have a car so why not take the same care over your own body.

4. Support Network/Team - Look at the people around you, friends, family and colleagues. You will be surprised how much support you can get from them if only you ask and help them to understand how they can help you. Make a list of the things that you want to do and then identify who in your network can help you i.e. who can help you exercise, plan healthy meals, organise finances, help with childcare etc. And don’t under estimate the power of the rest of your network – solicitor, divorce coach, financial adviser – you just need to use the right people for the right things. A divorce consultant can help you shape what this looks like if you are struggling. You will be more likely to take action if you do things with others and they can motivate you when you have a low moment.

5. Find a Focus - Your divorce does not have to define you, nor does it have to seep into every aspect of your life, but a lot of the time we find that it does happen. Finding other things to focus on increases our motivation and self-esteem. Think about the stable areas in your life, for example your job. Are there opportunities for training and development? And then think of the things that you have always wanted to do, but never got the chance….

Not everything in your life has to be negative. Put something new and exciting in your life.

6. Managing your Stress levels - Despite all the positive actions listed above, you may still experience periods of stress when going through a divorce

a. Listen to your body and take a break. Stepping away from a situation and going for a walk will help calm those stressful emotions

b. Be mindful of your breathing. Stress tends to quicken the breath. Take time to slow your breathing

c. Be kind to yourself. Spend time talking positively to yourself and reminding yourself of your strengths. Divorce tends to bring out the negative self-talk and insults from the ex. Counteract that by making time to appreciate all your good qualities.

d. Talk to a divorce consultant. We are here to take some of the stress away, don’t feel that you have to go through it alone.

Only you can control of how you cope with your divorce or separation. Don't let it destroy you, because you never know what or who is around the corner. This is your chance to redefine your life, and to live it as you want to.

Life can be even better.

For help with improving your self-esteem and confidence when going through Divorce or Separation, or for help on any of the above, call me on 07814009408. Or email on