Separation can be emotionally difficult. For more tips on how to deal with these emotions see Family Law in BC’s Coping with Separation Handbook
It is important to take care of yourself during this highly emotional and anxious period in your life. Throughout this chapter, we have talked about how hard it is to go through the process of separation and divorce. In order to make good decisions and reach a positive agreement, you need be healthy in body, mind and spirit.
The list below describes important ways to help you cope with the stresses you may be dealing with. The information provided may be obvious, but it is worth considering how you can do a better job in each of the areas listed.
Make sure you are sleeping enough so that you stay healthy and alert. Dealing with separations can be very exhausting; you may feel more drained than usual. Be sure to listen to your body. Being tired will make it harder for you to stay focused on the issues and negatively impact your ability to make decisions. Staying up late preparing the night before a hearing could hurt your chances at court more than it helps if you’re not well rested.
Well-nourished bodies are better equipped to deal with stress. Eating healthy will help your energy levels throughout the day and will help you stay focused and think faster. Even though you’re busy or stressed, don`t skip meals. Eat a well-balanced diet to fuel your body and mind.
It’s important to take care of your body. Exercise is a great way to release stress and avoid the effects of anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and make you feel good. You don’t need to be an athlete to in order to get these benefits. Go for a short walk or a cycle or join a fitness class to stay healthy.
Things to Avoid
Set some time aside for you. Find an activity you enjoy doing and allow yourself to focus on it. You will burn out if you’re thinking about your separation 24/7. You can better handle stress if you give yourself time to relax. Try to find an activity that engages you, such as dancing, painting or yoga.
It may feel very isolating, managing your separation on your own. Reach out to others who have gone through this before. They may be able to offer tips and emotional support as they know what it’s like.
Support from family and friends is important. Try to surround yourself with positive people who can support and comfort you. Don’t be afraid to share your fears and concerns with a trusted friend or family member. If you can, bring a friend or family member with you to court to help calm you and be there for you.
Talk things out. Bounce ideas around with someone to get a new perspective and help you make good decisions. Find someone supportive – not just someone who hated your former spouse. Make sure you find the right person. Not everyone wants to hear about your divorce or separation. Talking to the cashier at the deli might not be the right choice.
Don’t hesitate to get professional help if you need it. Talking to a counsellor or medical professional can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings and get a better handle on them. Professionals have expertise and experience you can learn from. In Chapter 3 we will discuss Using Professionals in more detail.
Recognize when something is beyond your control and let it go. You can’t change how others act but you can control how you react. Stay focused on what you have control over and let go of the rest.
More than 90% of cases settle before a final trial. Be smart about considering settlement options early in the process. If you settle, you will not get everything you wanted – but you may get enough to make it worthwhile to avoid a long and exhausting battle, with an uncertain outcome. It is important to continually revisit this question and assess the possibility of the other side accepting a proposal from you to settle.
Before moving on with the course, take a minute to think about ways you can stay healthy. In the next section, you will have the chance to complete a Health-Check Questionnaire.