If you've ever been through a divorce, you know that it's the one experience that threatens to rob you of your sanity on a minute-to-minute basis.
There are more than a few ways to minimize the mental and emotional damage that the divorce process does in your own life, and it's generally a fairly simple undertaking, if you stick to your guns once you've made a few decisions.
1. Refuse to play the game.
We know that divorce is typically a game of "Who can screw whom out of what". Do you really need to keep his Great Grandmother's china? Decide from the beginning (and keep it to yourself) what you can realistically live without, and move this thing forward.
2. Get out and be social.
Nothing refreshes the soul like a much-deserved field trip.
Getting out of your usual environment feels like you're physically pushing away the box that all of your stress is in, and the further away you get, the better you'll feel. Get yourself into an environment where you can talk to others about everything, and nothing. Don't talk about your divorce. Talking to people who aren't going through the same experience is enlightening and uplifting like nothing else I know.
3. Re-group as a group.
Kids internalize what they see and hear.
Believe it or not, your children see or hear you stressing over the details of your divorce (even when you think they're not listening), and as a result, they stress too, and it usually manifests itself in the form of things like sleeplessness, inattention or acting out at school, etc.
Taking time out to "regroup" as a group is a must. Treat your kids to an evening or a day away from their home environment whenever possible. It doesn't have to be elaborate. A movie, the zoo, or even a trip to the neighborhood park for some fresh air can be a huge relief. The more they see you not stressing over it, the less they'll stress.
4. Realize that this too shall pass.
Getting caught up in all of the drama that's going on with your divorce will give you an overwhelming feeling that this will never end.
Trust me, it ends. Whether it's in three months, or three years, this too shall pass. The task at hand for you is to fill your time with ways to manage the emotion of the process. Looking at it as your way of starting fresh, and making some solid plans for your future helps you to look forward to doing the simplest things, like re-decorating your home (and we all do it). It puts a whole new spin on the divorce process.
5. Take care of you first and foremost.
If you have a nervous breakdown, you're no good to anyone.
Taking care of yourself first simply means remembering to do the first four steps like they were your religion. "Who's going to take care of my kids if I'm busy 'taking care of myself'" isn't a relevant question. I'm not saying that you should let your children run wild and unfed. I'm simply saying, if you are fine, your kids will be too. Remember to take care of your spiritual, emotional and physical self, or you'll find that you might soon be a candidate for a straight jacket.