Self-Care During Divorce is Critical to Mental Health

Whether we get divorced in our 20s or 60s, whether it happens quickly or it’s a long time coming, divorce can be devastating to our mental health.

For some people, the pain becomes so bad that they experience situational depression. Once reaching this state, a person’s outlook on life can bottom out, making it tough to get back on their feet again.

If you’re facing a divorce or recovering from one, focusing on self-care can significantly help your mood and attitude about yourself. Even small positive actions can help you maintain confidence and positivity.

What does the term ‘self-care’ mean?

Chances are, Millennials are more familiar with this term than non-Millennials. Members of the younger generation practice more self-care than their parents or grandparents ever did, and there’s a $10 billion industry to prove it.

But self-care doesn’t only look like kale smoothie powder or gluten-free bath bombs. Self-care is any healthy action you engage in solely for the purpose of improving the way you feel. Relaxing hobbies, daily exercise, faith practices—these are all things that help us destress and focus on our own happiness, if only for a limited time.

Remember, we’re talking about healthy actions. So, getting together with friends for conversation over dinner and drinks is appropriate self-care. Getting drunk and waking up next to a stranger? Think first because this type of behavior will make you feel worse in the long run.

Why we neglect self-care during divorce

During a divorce, people’s sense of self-worth tends to take a nosedive. They question their decision making skills and may feel like they have failed. Also, they are now without a partner who might help fight these feelings.

The time of separation and divorce is also a busy one, a period of life filled with legal forms to complete, court hearings to attend and decisions to make about living situations, parenting schedules and bank account changes.

People are less likely to take care of their bodies and minds when they feel bad about themselves. They might think, even subconsciously, that they don’t deserve care. Add to this a busy schedule and it’s no surprise many people experiencing divorce let self-care fall off their priority list.

How to practice self-care during a divorce

You have probably been practicing self-care your whole life, in one form or another. During a divorce you need specific types of self-care, practices that enrich your spirit and focus on your health. After a self-care activity, you should feel fulfilled and refreshed.

Healthy eating and exercise: Eating a healthy diet and getting daily exercise is the best way to take care of yourself during divorce. However, resist dramatic changes to your routines like taking up CrossFit or becoming a vegetarian. You don’t need additional major challenges now.

Personal appearance: Getting a new shirt or a fresh haircut might be just what the divorce doctor ordered. Maintaining your appearance benefits your confidence and may even help you move forward. Go get a pedicure or a hot shave, and turn off your stress for a while.

Social and spiritual: Now’s a good time to pick up a daily devotional book, dig up a journal and reconnect with friends. Feed your spiritual self as much as possible, whether that means getting closer to your faith community or committing to daily meditation. Go to church, join a support group, seek help from unhealthy addictions and take positive steps towards your new life.

No matter how much pain you’re feeling during your divorce, take time to be kind to yourself. You deserve to move safely through the process of divorce and self-care can help assure you come out better on the other side. For more help in moving through the divorce process, contact us at (815) 600-8950.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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