29th Apr 2022

Prioritising Mental Health During and After Divorce

It isn’t a secret that going through a divorce is tough and takes its toll on couples both emotionally and financially. The unknown future arrangements for the children and the heavy cloud over how to move forward can be incredibly difficult to navigate through when you are dealing with the whirlwind of emotions following the breakdown of your relationship.

Support from family and friends is often readily available, but what you may not realise is the importance of looking after you. It is usually easier said than done, especially if you are looking after the children and their wellbeing, but taking time out will hopefully benefit you both during and after your divorce.

What can you do to help yourself?

Finding a moment to breathe and process the emotions you are dealing with is imperative. It is new territory and although you may know people who have also gone through a divorce, no two are ever the same, and your feelings and concerns will differ. Find ways to change your focus and concentrate on your wellbeing.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, certain types of exercise will require you to switch off and be present in the moment, for example, football, aerobics, boxing. All of these need you to concentrate which will allow your brain to switch its focus, whilst your body is producing endorphins – a double whammy! Focusing on physical wellbeing benefits your mental wellbeing.

While there are endless benefits to meditation, a simple breathing exercise will often reduce tension and anxiety almost instantly. Try to factor this into your daily routine so it becomes a habit. Mindfulness is a great way of easing tensions and slowing you down. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness and there are hundreds of apps and websites to help you on your way.


What can Berwins do to help you?

We are a small, close-knit team with a wealth of family law experience, who have walked different life paths allowing us to be best placed to help you in an empathetic and understanding way. We understand the importance of good mental health and how this can impact your decision making and we can tailor the way we deal with the process based on your individual situation. We are not ordinary lawyers; we’re open minded, friendly and approachable. We genuinely care about you and your future.


What can others do to help you?

Saying things aloud often allows you to look at the situation from a different angle and while family and friends can be a great support, they may struggle to be impartial. However, a therapist or coach with experience of divorce will provide you with guidance, understanding and a listening ear. We have worked with local counsellors to advise them of the divorce process and the legal basics, and this in turn enables them to support you.


What are the impacts of good mental health during divorce?

It is more likely that you will be able to make sensible decisions in relation to finances and the arrangements of the children. A clearer mind will allow for a smoother process, which will often reduce the time and energy required, and in turn, the legal costs.

Having a more positive experience throughout your divorce can have a huge impact in other areas of your life. Often it will allow for children to also deal with the separation of their parents in a more positive way, and may even allow for lines of communication to be opened up with your ex-partner. While you may not be considering future relationships during the divorce, holding onto negative feelings in respect of the breakdown of your relationship could stop you from entering into them.

Divorce can have a huge impact on any children involved, and whilst the benefits of their parents’ wellbeing have a positive impact on them, their mental health needs to be looked after too. Try and incorporate some of your wellbeing activities into family life by going on a woodland walk, doing a family yoga session at home and even introduce them to mediation. Often children will be better at looking after their mental health than adults, once they have been taught how.  

Emma Lees is a Solicitor in Berwins' Family team. If you need support or advice on any of the above, give us a call on 01423 543 108 and we'll be happy to help.

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