Managing Stress During a Contentious Divorce

While every divorce has its difficulties, the stress from a particularly contentious divorce can be especially overwhelming. If you are going through a divorce that involves hostility, tension, and constant discord, it’s understandable if you are having difficulty managing the stress. You may feel like everything in your life has been thrown into chaos as you try to cope with this huge transition.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed by your circumstances during such an emotionally charged time. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you manage the stress of a contentious divorce so that you can focus on taking care of yourself throughout this challenging period in your life.

Take Care of Your Body

It may sound obvious, but it’s important to remember that our physical well-being has a strong influence on our emotional and mental state. Taking care of your body is essential for managing stress during a contentious divorce. Research shows that stress can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health so it’s important to pay attention to your body in an intentional way.

Here are a few crucial ways you can take care of your physical well-being during divorce:

  • Get enough sleep: Insomnia can be a common symptom of stress, so make sure you’re getting enough rest. Allow yourself to relax before bed and create a bedtime routine that allows you to wind down.
  • Eat healthy foods: Eating a balanced diet is important for managing stress. Aim to incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and salt.
  • Stay active: Exercise can help reduce stress and provide a sense of emotional equilibrium. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your routine. Even a short walk around your neighborhood every day can improve your mood and health.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption: Limiting your alcohol consumption is important for managing stress during a contentious divorce. While alcohol may provide an illusion of well-being, it can also make your emotions feel more intense and negatively impact your overall physical and mental health.
  • Stay hydrated: Water is essential for managing stress and keeping your body functioning properly. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Take time to relax: Find activities that help you to relax and unwind. This could include yoga, meditation, or simply spending time outdoors.

Prioritizing your physical health can feel difficult during divorce, especially if you feel overwhelmed by the many changes in your life, managing a demanding job, or taking care of children. However, doing so will help you to get through this difficult time with less overall stress on both your body and mind. It will also help you enter the next, post-divorce stage of your life in a healthy and positive way.

Connect with Supportive People

Connecting with supportive people during a stressful and contentious divorce can provide invaluable emotional support during this difficult transitional moment in your life. Having a strong support system of friends, family, and professionals can help you learn how to cope with the intense feelings of anger, sadness, and grief you may be feeling. Having someone to talk to who will listen without judgment and offer comfort can be incredibly healing.

When connecting with close friends and family it is important to remember that not everyone will understand what you're going through and may not be able to offer the kind of support you need. It's essential to find individuals who are willing to support you in the ways that you need. This may mean reaching out to people who have gone through similar experiences or those who have the skills and expertise needed for providing advice and guidance throughout your divorce process.

It may be helpful to seek out therapy or professional counseling. A trained therapist can help you acquire the emotional coping tools to manage your stress levels during and after your divorce.

Set Boundaries with Your Ex

The dissolution of a marriage can be an incredibly painful and challenging experience, especially when the process is marked by disagreements, animosity, and unresolved issues. Setting boundaries with your ex during a contentious divorce is an essential step in working to protect your emotional well-being during a divorce.

Establishing clear boundaries can allow both of you to navigate this difficult time with a greater sense of control, security, and mutual respect. While some conflicts may be unavoidable, especially if your divorce is already contentious, boundaries can help you to minimize those conflicts.

Boundaries can help create a healthy separation between you and your ex-spouse, something that may be difficult after your lives have been so entwined during your marriage. This is particularly important if your divorce proceedings are acrimonious, as maintaining distance can prevent the escalation of negative emotions and avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Creating this kind of emotional and physical space can aid in the healing process as well. Both you and your ex may benefit from time and space to reflect on your emotions and begin to move forward with your lives as two independent parties.

The first step in setting boundaries is to identify which areas need them most. This could include communication patterns, topics discussed, or any other areas where there has been disagreement or hostility between you and your ex-spouse. Make sure these boundaries are clear and specific so that both parties understand what behavior is expected from each other during interactions.

It may also be helpful to consider how often contact should take place—for example, limiting contact to scheduled meetings may help reduce tension and stress levels for both parties involved. In many cases, it can help to limit communication to email or even to communicate solely through your respective attorneys.

Once boundary lines have been established, it’s important to stick to them when interacting with your ex-spouse. If they try to cross those lines, remind them gently but firmly about the boundaries you have set. It’s important to remember that it's okay to say no and to prioritize your well-being during this challenging period. Setting boundaries does not mean forgoing civility and basic respect for each other, but it does mean establishing clear limits to ensure positive communication and emotional safety.

Find an Activity that Brings You Joy

Finding an activity that brings you joy can be incredibly beneficial for managing stress during a contentious divorce. Engaging in activities that make you can happy not only provide a much-needed distraction from the emotional turmoil of divorce but doing so can also help improve your overall mental and emotional well-being. By focusing on something that you genuinely enjoy, you can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose, which in turn, can help counteract feelings of sadness, anger, or anxiety that often accompany the divorce process.

Participating in enjoyable activities can also promote the release of endorphins, which can help to alleviate stress, reduce pain, and enhance your overall sense of happiness. Engaging in activities you can enjoy can also provide you with opportunities to socialize or even discover new hobbies, which can further aid in your emotional recovery.

Here are some suggestions for activities that can bring joy and help manage stress during a contentious divorce:

  • Exercise (e.g., running, yoga, dancing)
  • Creative pursuits (e.g., painting, writing, photography)
  • Spending time in nature (e.g., hiking, gardening, birdwatching)
  • Meditation or mindfulness practices
  • Learning a new skill (e.g., cooking, playing a musical instrument)
  • Volunteering or helping others in your community
  • Attending social events or joining clubs to meet new people
  • Traveling or exploring new places

These pursuits can not only offer a reprieve from the emotional challenges of the divorce process but can also contribute to your overall mental and emotional well-being. By investing time in activities that make you happy, you can foster a sense of accomplishment, personal growth, and resilience, which can ultimately help you to navigate this difficult period with greater ease and positivity.

Work with an Experienced and Compassionate Divorce Attorney

A skilled attorney serves as more than just a legal representative; they act as a trusted advisor and advocate, guiding you through the complex process while ensuring your rights and interests are protected. Their experience and understanding of the legal system can provide a sense of reassurance and stability during an otherwise tumultuous time.

At Burch Shepard Family Law Group, our team of legal advocates can offer you objective advice and help you navigate emotionally charged issues, such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support. By providing sound counsel and helping you understand the potential consequences of your choices, our compassionate attorneys can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that often accompany a contentious divorce.

Our seasoned attorneys can also efficiently handle negotiations and communication with your ex-spouse and their legal representation. We want to help ensure not only that your voice is heard but also that necessary boundaries are established to minimize confrontations. By entrusting these challenging interactions to us, you can focus on your own well-being and personal growth during this difficult period.

If you are going through a contentious divorce, our experienced attorneys at Burch Shepard Family Law Group are here to help. Reach out to us online or call us at (949) 565-4158 to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your case in detail.