We’re coming to the end of Mental Health Week, with World Mental Health Day upon us tomorrow (10th of the 10th). So the team at MELCA thought it would be beneficial to discuss how divorce can affect your mental health, and most importantly, how you approach your divorce can have a huge impact.
Some of the main emotions that can lead to poor mental health can include sadness, anger, confusion and uncertainty. These are all emotions that are often felt when separating from your spouse.
So how can you help to protect yourself and look after your mental health during this period?
- Recognise your feelings:
It is important to recognise how you’re feeling rather than to ignore it. It is okay, and entirely normal, to feel sad, angry, confused, upset and frustrated. You may be uncertain and even anxious about what the future holds, you may feel stressed about your financial situation. All of these feelings are completely normal responses when a life-changing event such as divorce or separation occurs.
- The WAY you approach your separation can have an impact:
A divorce through the adversarial system and through the courts can be emotionally draining, financially stressful, and can drag the entire process out for a number of years. Cut-throat lawyers fighting to win (and lose) can have a damaging long-term effect on your family and your future relationship with your ex-spouse. A collaborative divorce through MELCA will assist you in making the right decisions for your whole family. You will work with a family consultant who will help you communicate with your ex-spouse and assist you to look forward to positive future for your family, reducing your overall stress and uncertainty.
“It’s been 20 years since my separation and I’m still feeling the affects of the court system. I felt like I was in a tunnel, in a vortex, I couldn’t see the end or anything around me. It was all consuming, it dragged on for much longer than it needed to, and was completely damaging. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
- Don’t let it consume you:
Make time for friends, activities and be sure to keep some level of normality in your life. It is very easy to be thinking about it all the time, but this is emotionally exhausting. Fill your days doing things you enjoy. Perhaps try a new hobby or teach yourself something new, keeping your mind alive with new activities and knowledge is a real positive light.
- Sleep, exercise and eat well:
It sounds simple, but there a proven studies to support that something as simple as diet and physical well-being can have a huge impact on your mental state. Eat a good balanced diet, get outside and exercise, and make sure that you’re trying to get a good amount of sleep each night. If you are struggling, there are some great calming apps available – one in particular called “ReachOut Breathe”.
- Focus on the future:
Simply focusing on goals for the future, and positive events in the future can really help you push through the tough times.
Remember, that the most important thing in regard to managing your mental health is to talk. Talk to a friend, talk to a professional, talk anonymously via an app – whatever you choose, do not let your emotions bottle up. Remember that everyone is different, and it is important to find the right method of help for you and your circumstance.
MELCA work with a number of fantastic counsellors and psychologists, please feel free to get in touch if you would like to be referred to one. For immediate advice, please contact: www.lifeline.org.au