Depression can be linked to some of the most traumatic and stressful experiences in a person’s life, and for some, none is more stressful than divorce. With over one million couples getting divorced in the United States each year, depression stemming from an ended marriage is becoming more and more common.
Depression can have a variety of effects, changing the way that a person feels, behaves, and thinks about life. Starting with feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and guilt, depression can lead to a loss of interest in formerly interesting things, fatigue, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, and even thoughts of suicide.
Find a Balance
After a divorce, it’s important to take the proper steps to combat depression. Divorce can shake up your life in a major way, but things will improve over time.
Finding a balance is important because it allows you to come to grips with the situation—and the major change that the divorce is likely causing in your life—without letting yourself get dragged down by depression.
Don’t be afraid to seek help actively, through therapy, self-help reading, or discussions with friends or family. While a divorce can be a divisive event for a group of friends, know that a lot of people are out there to help you.
In the divorce proceedings, trying to control your emotions and resisting the temptation to express all of your anger and frustration can ultimately be a cleansing experience. Do your best to handle the divorce technicalities with grace by not stewing over the ended marriage.
One of the major factors in getting through a divorce in the healthiest way possible is by thinking positively about yourself and not letting negative thoughts and emotions consume you. Some amount of sadness—or even guilt—is normal, but letting those thoughts dominate your everyday life is unhealthy and unproductive.
Shake Things Up
Ultimately, overcoming depression after a divorce can come down to more than just talking through your feelings, although that is quite important. It can also be very helpful to adjust your life so that you feel more in control of your everyday living and aren’t constantly reminded of the divorce.
Planning your steps can be very helpful in charting a positive route post-divorce. Making thorough plans is always a good idea when dealing with difficult emotions, because it allows you to stick to a firm schedule and fill your time with productive activities.
It also helps to make adjustments in your home and your daily routine. Divorce is a difficult process, but thinking about it as a new chance to give your life a makeover can be helpful. First, clean out your partner’s old belongings and replace them with your own. Surrounding yourself in the way that you want can help build up feelings of confidence and control.
It might also be worth it to mix up your daily habits. Married life can become formulaic and sometimes even constricting. If the relationship ended in a divorce, chances are that the structure of the relationship wasn’t making either party feel happy or positive in your lives. Think about picking up some new hobbies or involving yourself more in some older ones. In the short term, the distractions can help, and you might find some new things that lead you to be happier in the long run.
Lastly, be active! Get out and socialize, even if you feel a little bit uncomfortable at first. Your friends are there for you, but they also don’t want to see you feeling down—or feeling overly coddled. Making an active effort to get out of the house and see people is a good way to get over the negative feelings after a divorce. If you’re feeling lonely absent your former partner, accept invitations and assert yourself socially.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
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