Coping with divorce

Divorce can be one of the most stressful, frightening and emotionally charged times in anyone’s life. The decision to end your marriage is not a decision made lightly. Whether you were the one to decide, your partner was or it was mutual, with that comes a range of emotions that come flooding in on top of you in such a force and in such a rush it can become overwhelming, exceptionally painful and confusing.

Some of the feelings you may experience are shock, sadness, anger, overwhelm, guilt, shame, rejection, fear and maybe even jealousy. All these and more are all part of the grieving process and the adjustment to the changes that are happening.

You may find yourself frozen with the range of emotions and the enormity of things that need to be done and thought of. You also won’t have just your own feelings to be looked after but also the feeling of your children if you have any and you may find yourself having to also deal with the feelings others such as family members, in laws and friends and may find yourself caught up in what they are also experiencing.

The number one priority is for you to look after yourself! And that is all aspects of yourself. You won’t be able to deal with everything that is happening and will happen in the future if your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing deteriorates.

Coping with emotions during your divorce

Remember the feelings and emotions that you are experiencing are all normal and they need to be felt and expressed in order for you to be able to move forward and to move forward stronger and healed.

Your feelings and emotions shouldn’t be suppressed, nor should they be able to control your life indefinitely. In order to be able to process and move forward, feeling those emotions and feelings should be a priority and having the right supports are very important to supporting you through the healing process and coping with divorce.

Ways to do this are to let yourself cry when you need to cry, feel the anger when it arises and don’t feel ashamed you are feeling it. Speaking with a trusted friend or family member who you know is understanding, empathetic and supportive of you will be an important part of being able to express yourself.

Journaling is also a good way to not only get those feelings out and acknowledge them but also a way to explore them. If writing is too difficult or the emotions still very strong, a video diary is really effective. You can speak like you are talking to a friend and the words can flow freely and you will be able to work through the emotions and feelings as you are talking. Then if you’re not comfortable keeping it you can delete it.

Seeking support from a counsellor, psychologist or social worker is another way to help you when coping with divorce. Having someone not involved and is impartial can be a great relief in being able to explore your feelings to as much or as little as you want to. This summary of the 5 best ways to deal with anxiety during divorce may also help.

If your children have special needs, their anxiety can also increase during divorce.  Strategies on how to help your child with autism may assist you to manage their anxiety when they are coping with divorce.

Physical health during your divorce

During times of great stress and emotional distress a number of physical things may become disrupted. You may find that you will have trouble sleeping or won’t be able to sleep. You may lose your appetite. You may get sick more easily than usual and you may be more impatient. You may find that your memory could be affected, you have trouble thinking, solving simple problems and you may cry more easily.

Your physical health will have a big impact on how well you are coping with divorce and are able to deal with the situation and your feelings resulting from the separation. If you are run down, not sleeping, eating healthily and looking after your health,  you will have greater difficulty being able to deal with not only the emotions that you are feeling, but also what needs to be done during the divorce.

Try to make sure you get enough rest and sleep. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. If you are finding it hard to turn your thoughts off at night then try some meditation, journaling or call a friend or close family member who you know you can confide in. This could also be a good time to use your video diary. 

If you are having trouble sleeping, here are 8 tips to get a good night’s sleep.

Make sure you continue to eat regular healthy meals. And make it a priority to do some regular exercise. Even if you just go for a walk each day. It will help you to relax, will help you feel physically healthy and is a great stress relief.


Meditation is a great tool to bring into your day on a regular basis.

As little as five minutes a day can have huge positive effects on not only your emotional and mental health but also your physical health. It can help reduce stress, over-thinking, anxiety and relieve symptoms of depression.

The Head Space app is a great app for daily usage.  Guided meditation can also be very beneficial or attend a meditation class (in person or online) with an experienced mediation practitioner. 

Coping with divorce and recovering takes time

Remember there is no time frame to the grieving process. 

Be kind to yourself, work through and process these strong emotions so they don’t consume you and you are able to rebuild your life into one that fulfils you and brings you contentment.  

There is no shame to admit you are not coping with divorce and to ask for help and engage with divorce support services to assist you.

About the Author

Natalee Hudson is a life coach and meditation and mindfulness teacher. She has worked for many years supporting people with making positive changes to their lives.  

If you need family law advice about your separation or divorce, get a free personalised information pack or contact us to make an appointment with a member of our family law team.

More resources to help with coping with divorce