The importance of self-care during divorce

Looking after yourself during divorce, isn’t always your priority, but it should be. Divorce is a major life change. It’s a bereavement, an ending, a new beginning all rolled into one. Even when it’s your own idea, it can feel isolating, lonely and challenging. The importance of self-care during divorce should never be underestimated, so what are the best ways to take care of yourself?

Being compassionate to yourself

Do you practice self compassion? I bet you struggle, don’t you? I mean, you’re a busy woman – children or grandchild, a home to run a career to follow. Then there’s your divorce. This is where you feel like you don’t have it altogether.

Maybe you don’t.

Maybe it’s a mess right now. It feels bad but hey, you’re doing your best. Right?

Putting yourself first

Putting yourself first is perhaps a new habit that  I want you to adopt right now. Today. It isn’t selfish or mean.  Before you say “but Emma, I can’t because…”. You can, because you’ll be a better friend, sister, daughter, work colleague and mother if you do. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first, you really do.

Sleeping well

Sleep. That rare commodity you’d trade everything except your children for. When a relationship breaks down and our mind is in turmoil, sleep often evades us. But a good night’s sleep helps boost our immunity, our resilience and makes us all round better human beings, so make sure that you get plenty of it. I talk more about this in How to be a Lady Who Leaves – The Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready available on Amazon.

Healthy diet

Eating healthily may not be on the top of your ‘things to do list’ either. Particularly when you’re tired and stressed or the children are with their father for the weekend. Pizza and a bottle of red may feel like they are your friend, but they’re not. Eating rich food and drinking more than usual will disturb your sleep and make it less likely you’ll want to get up and exercise, or go to yoga.

Help with childcare

Looking after children is hard work, even though you love them dearly, and even though you wouldn’t have it any other way (well, most of the time you wouldn’t)! When you’re in a relationship, sometimes your spouse helps you with the childcare, sometimes not. But knowing that you have to do most of it alone adds a pressure you don’t need. So, if other mums, your own mum, or Heaven forbid the children’s father offers to have them (and its safe for that to happen), let them help. If all you do is sit down, drink tea or fall asleep, take any opportunity you can to get some ‘me’ time.

Asking for help

Asking for help may not be something you’re very good at. Now is the time to practice. It will often feel like your divorce will never end but will. One day. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength. It’s a gift you can give. Hold on to the fact that you can return the support or pay it forward when you have the capacity to do so.

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit

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