Practical tips for self care throughout separation and divorce

Divorce is generally recognised as being one of the most stressful life events someone can experience. The breakdown of a major relationship can take its toll in emotional and physical terms, not to mention financial.

The Family team at Harper Macleod have many years of experience in supporting clients to deal with the legal aspects of separation and family law issues generally, and offer a few practical tips to help you to support yourself during the process.

Family Law Lawyer Divorce Separation Self Care Mindfulness Meditation Mental Scotland Solicitor

1. Remember that common ground remains. 

Ultimately people decide to separate because they want to feel better than they do in their relationship. It is a longer term goal. The process of sorting out the financial and child related issues arising on separation can be eased if both people understand why the relationship has come to an end. Trying to find some common ground helps to minimise resentment.

2. Take responsibility, not blame.

Typically the process of separation and the next few years following separation are easier if people do not try to blame the other person, or themselves. Developments in relational theory suggest that both people in a relationship contribute to the process of the relationship breakdown. That is not to say that people are necessarily to blame – it just means that matters are never quite as straightforward as saying that one person is responsible. In recognising this it may be easier to stop feeling angry at your former partner.

3. Talk to Family, Friends or Professionals 

Talking to trusted family members, friends or a trained professional can help you to come to terms with the emotional impact of separation. Remember to choose your confidant wisely though – sometimes the indignance of supportive friends and family members can actually make the process of resolution more complicated. It is important too that your children do not become the person you turn to when you are angry or upset. Research shows that it is not separation itself which is harmful for children, but the way in which their parents handle it.

4. Focus on the basics of daily life.

 If you can prioritise sleep and eating sensibly you will be physically better able to cope on a day-to-day basis. In turn, you are likely to be better able to cope and adjust to the changes in your life on the emotional front, too. Exercise has also shown to help lower stress and anxiety.

5. Create a Support System 

It is likely that family members and friends will want to help you, but may not know how. Sometimes scheduling in regular events like cooking for a friend, or visiting a family member each week can help create a sense of structure which you may feel you have lost on the end of a relationship.

6. Be compassionate and open-minded.

We have already mentioned that blaming yourself and others when things do not work out is common but ultimately unhelpful, even destructive. It can be difficult to stop your mind from going down that route when you are stressed or upset.

Coping strategies involving things like meditation can be helpful, but are perhaps not for everyone. The principles of mindfulness, and compassion to self and others can help to dissipate some of the more negative emotions that naturally arise on separation.

Modern neuroscience tells us that forging connections with other human beings can help the healing process. It is alright to be open-minded about the possibility of moving on, and to bear in mind the possibility of a happy future.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss the legal implications of separation with a solicitor who understands that the legal aspects do not occur in isolation from your wellbeing as a whole, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family Law team on 0141 221 8888.