Overwhelm is common in divorce. Use these 3 ideas to beat it as you’re dealing with divorce.
Do you ever feel all tangled up on the inside and didn’t know which direction to turn?
Or maybe you feel that you’re stuck in quicksand and it’s taking all your effort to just make it through each day?
Or worse, you feel that you’re wearing a choke-chain of all your responsibilities and don’t really know who you are anymore?
Don’t worry. I’ve been there. In fact, everyone I know who has been through divorce has been there too. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re dealing with divorce. Overwhelm can be hard to overcome and yet it’s a common part of divorce. Knowing how to get through it or stop it all together is a critical skill to develop as you’re dealing with divorce. What I’m going to share with you today are some of the techniques I regularly use with myself, my family and my clients when things start to feel overwhelming.
1. Change your story.
When I was finding my way through the aftermath of my divorce, I used to tell myself really scary stories. They were stories of doom and I told them over and over again – like a broken recording. I was feeling overwhelmed and the stories I told myself made things worse. I didn’t see any way that I could ever stop the chaos I was living in much less get on to dealing with my divorce in any real way. I felt like I was performing and not really living. I was really miserable!
But, things slowly changed when I started changing my internal story. Instead of envisioning a life of doom and destruction, my stories became more about experiencing sadness and then more about being tired of the sadness and imagining what changes I could make. And then, I started actually making changes – some really big changes. I started living again instead of feeling like a prisoner of circumstances.
It can be the same for you. Simply by changing the story you’re telling yourself, you can dramatically (even if it takes time like it did for me) change your life for the better, stop feeling overwhelmed and really begin dealing with divorce in a way that allows you to move on.
2. Take care of you first.
For those of us who have a tendency to get burned out, when we feel stressed about divorce it can be especially easy to forget about taking care of ourselves and just focus on what needs to be done for others instead. After all, they’re depending on us, right?
It’s easy for me to identify a new client who isn’t taking care of themselves because they have a difficult time answering questions like
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you exercising?
- Are you eating nutritious meals?
in the affirmative. They’ll squirm a bit before answering or try to deflect the question with a joke or some explanation as to why they can’t sleep or exercise or eat well.
If you can’t honestly say you’re getting enough sleep, adequate exercise and eating well, you would probably benefit from taking better care of yourself. Taking care of yourself isn’t an afterthought – something you do after you take care of the rest of your responsibilities. Taking care of yourself is VITAL to you being able to take care of your responsibilities. Without your physical well-being, you won’t be able to take care of anyone or anything else, so, please, make sure you’re putting you first and treating yourself well. It’s only when you have the energy that you can begin dealing with divorce in a productive way.
3. See the lighter side and laugh.
Somehow, when things are really miserable and you’re just not sure how you’re going to deal with one more pressure, there comes a moment when you realize just how ridiculous everything is – all the pressure and stress suddenly become laughable. I’ve found the best thing to do when I reach that point is to laugh. I’m not talking about a simple tee-hee-hee or chuckle, I’m talking about a deep-from-the-gut laugh.
Laughter is a great cure for stress and overwhelm. It causes you to loosen some muscles and tighten others. It requires you to breathe differently and it gets some different hormones flowing through your body – the kinds that help you to feel better.
In working with my clients, I often incorporate really bad jokes to get some laughter going. Laughing always lightens the mood and allows my clients to see things from a slightly different angle and break the strangle hold overwhelm had on them.
With overwhelm and stress being such common elements of our daily lives – not to mention divorce, these 3 simple ideas can be a great springboard for you to prevent yourself from succumbing to burn out and begin dealing with your divorce in the most productive manner possible.
Your Dealing With Divorce Assignment:
The next time you’re feeling stressed out, pick one of the 3 suggestions above and try it out. After all what have you got to lose besides your stress? I know that if you consistently take the necessary steps to help you deal with the stress of your divorce, you’ll be better able to manage it.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.
If you’re looking for more help recovering from your divorce, read more articles about Healing After Divorce.
A celebrity break-up can help you discover that you are definitely still lovable.
I recently read an article ridiculing Robin Thick for giving his estranged wife, Paula Patton, gifts and public apologies to woo her back. What I found so interesting is the obvious derision the author had for his attempts.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning cheating. I’m also not ignoring the fact that it takes a lot of hard work by both parties for a relationship to survive an affair. What I am surprised by is how the author of the article assumes that Thicke’s attempts are obviously wrong.
Gary Chapman has done some important work on love languages that is important to consider before an outsider can make any judgments on the validity of Thicke’s or anyone else’s attempts at showing love and apologizing.
Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, identifies five different ways that people give and receive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. We each naturally express love in the ways that we prefer to receive love.
Considering Thicke’s attempts to woo Patton back involve public apologies and lavish gifts, I’m guessing that two of his preferred love languages are words of affirmation and receiving gifts. Based upon the reporter’s article and Patton’s reported response to the gifts, I’m guessing that neither one has receiving gifts as their preferred love language.
What does this have to do with you? A lot! Knowing your love language is a critical step in recovering from divorce.
Being clear about how you receive love can help you know how to make sure you still feel loved despite the end of your relationship. You’ll be able to discover ways to show yourself love. You’ll also be able to explicitly ask your family and friends (a.k.a. your support team) for the things you need to feel loved.
For example, if your preferred love language is words of affirmation, you could speak words of affirmation to yourself as you look into your eyes in the mirror.
If your preferred love language is physical touch, you could get a therapeutic massage or ask your support team to give you more hugs.
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
Discover your primary love language. Take this quick on-line quiz and discover your primary love language.
Think of one way you can show yourself that you’re loved. Once you know one way that you can show yourself that you love you, do it!
My primary love language is acts of service. A couple of ways I let myself know that I love me are having a housekeeper in to clean my home and daily exercise.
Think of one way your can ask you support team to show you love this week. If your primary love language is quality time, you might ask a family member or friend to come over for a conversation over dinner and a bottle of wine.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation with me.