Divorce brings stress, and you can’t always control how much. It all depends on the complexity of your case, whether children are involved, the behaviour of your soon-to-be-ex and everything else going on in your life at the same time. There are, however, some things you can do to make your divorce sailing as smooth as possible. Here are my top five ways to reduce stress in your divorce.
1. Make time for it
I doubt anyone has divorce on their bucket list, just for the life experience. Even if you were the one who ended things, divorce lands as an unwelcome guest in your life. It can be tempting to squeeze it into as little time as possible, so it doesn’t take over your life.
But, actually, that has the opposite effect. Your divorce will need your attention to make it happen. Without that attention it can drag on for years, or be dictated by your soon-to-be-ex. So, do the difficult thing and make time for it. Maybe you’ll set aside an evening a week (my weekly Q&As in The Absolute Academy are great for this), or some time at the weekend. Even if you don’t set aside specific slots, you’ll need to find headspace and time to do your divorce every week. That might mean stopping doing some other things for a while.
2. Have a plan
If you don’t have a plan, you’ll end up following your soon-to-be-ex’s plan, or your solicitor’s plan, and spending a lot of money!
So what is a divorce plan? It’s a road map to your future: a future you’re happy with. And what does it need to include? All sorts of things, like your desired outcome, your financial needs, your housing and your career intentions. You can read my comprehensive guide to creating your own divorce plan here.
3. Get professional help
I don’t run my business alone. I have help with my planning, operations, words, social media, accounts. I do this because I know the people I enlist can do these things more quickly and effectively than me, and because it frees me up to really be there for my clients and do the best work I can.
Working with (the right) professionals is an investment. It’s an investment in your time and emotional health, for starters: you’ll find divorce a lot less stressful if you have a team of trusted professionals supporting you. It can also save you a lot of money: clients have saved thousands in solicitor’s fees by working with me.
As an aside it can be tempting to instruct a solicitor straightaway: don’t! You may benefit from a solicitor at some point in your divorce, but not usually straightaway, unless there are particular fraud or safety issues you need to get protection from. Read the blogs, listen to the podcast, join The Absolute Academy, and when the time is right, you’ll know exactly what you need from a legal team.
4. Get practical help
As I said back at point one, divorce takes time. It will land in your life, and you’ll need to make room for it. One of the best ways of doing this is asking for help from friends and family. Please don’t be scared to say to people ‘I’ve got a tough ride ahead of me and I’m going to need some support. Can I call on you?’.
No-one worth their salt is going to be rude to you about it. Sure, some people may say they’re too busy to help at particular moments, but just ask someone else. You know you’ll pay it forward when you can. Ask for help with:
- Emotional support: are there friends who will be on the end of the phone for you?
- Food: you may not have the energy to cook sometimes, or have chance to do the food shopping. I bet you know someone who can do a few extra portions of spaghetti bolognaise, and would be glad to.
- Childcare: share school runs or holidays with friends to give each of you some headspace
- Household: having a messy house is absolutely fine. But if you find it’s getting you down, enlist a friend to help with the washing up and catch up over a coffee.
5. Have time away from it
And, we’re back to time again. The benefit of planning in time for your divorce is that you can also plan time away from it! No-one can be switched on all the time. Give yourself daily and weekly divorce detox times. For example, pledge not to open any messages relating to your divorce after 9pm each night.
And give yourself an entire evening or weekend day off thinking about it at all. Make sure you have something fun or relaxing on in that time to take your mind off it: a book in the bath, a coffee with friends, a yoga class – whatever it is that helps you unwind.
Finally, if you find your stress levels are affecting your quality of life, please seek clinical or therapeutic help. You can read more about how stress can manifest in this month’s deep dive: Stress and high conflict divorce.
Work with me!
So there you have it, my top five ways to minimise stress in your divorce. I’d love to be by your side as you navigate the whole process. If you want to be confident you’re covering all the bases in your planning, communicating as effectively as possible and asking for the right things in your settlement, I’m here for you!
You can be part of a community of women determined to divorce with confidence, over in The Absolute Academy.