Unlock Peace and Serenity: Expert Tips for Minimizing Stress in Your Divorce

10 October 2023

No matter how you slice it, divorce is stressful. Next to death, divorce is the most challenging event to face during our lifetime. While divorce is more accepted today than it was decades ago, the traditional family law system still uses positioning one party against the other to get the upper hand on child custody, child support, and the overall separation agreement. The unfortunate outcome is years and thousands of dollars of unnecessary fighting where no one wins. Things are changing, and today, most reasonable couples facing a divorce are choosing an alternative, like divorce mediation to keep the stress and cost down. Here are the top 10 things you can do to reduce your stress and that of your children when going through a divorce. The good news is that you can make your divorce less stressful

1. Choose an Alternative way to Resolve your Divorce Process

Find a company that offers divorce mediation and preferably one that specializes in INR “Independently Negotiated Resolution”, which takes each of you individually through a divorce mediation process so you do not experience pressure. You feel represented both legally and emotionally. Sometimes, people confuse contested and uncontested divorce and conclude that you must hire lawyers to protect yourself if your divorce is contested. A contested divorce means that there are terms that you and your spouse disagree on, which is typically the case in over 90% of divorces. If you agreed on everything, you would not likely be getting a divorce or need a family lawyer in the first place. While getting legal advice is prudent before you sign your separation agreement, a family lawyer is often not the best person to negotiate the terms around finances and parenting. The National Family Law Act, as well as the Provincial Family Law Acts, lay out the laws for the division of assets, spousal support and child support, so as long as you have an experienced divorce mediator, you are better suited to keep the money in your pocket and save years of fighting. The average divorce through the traditional system takes over three years. Divorce Mediation can be completed in less than one year.

2. Try not to live in the past

The past is the past, so leave it there. Of course, this is much easier said than done and does take commitment and discipline. The bottom line is that at some point, to move on, you will need to leave the past indiscretions of either yourself or your spouse in the past. It is important to remember that their bad behaviour is irrelevant in divorce settlements in Canada. The best course of action is laying the groundwork for new beginnings. Divorce for Men, A Guide to Creating a Great Life after Divorceand Divorce for Women: A Guide to Creating a Great Life after Divorce gives you a step-by-step process to help shift you from living in the past to living in the present and the future. Breakups are painful for many reasons, and capturing the lessons from your past so that you do not repeat the mistakes in the future is the best thing you can do to move forward. To get further tips on grieving after your divorce, here is a helpful link: Tips for grieving after a breakup or divorce. Don’t fight your feelings.

3. Be Physically Healthy: Move Your Body and Get a Full Physical

It is common knowledge that exercise is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Given the high-stress level in divorce, people respond in very different ways. Some will stop eating altogether, and others will look to food and other substances for comfort. You want to ensure that you are physically and emotionally fit at the end of this journey to build a new life for yourself and your children. It is the perfect time to embark on a new self-care and physical health journey. Consider taking the next 12 weeks to Focus on your well-being which includes getting up off physical. Here are a couple of lifestyle and food gurus who may help guide your emotional and physical direction. Health issues: The constant and intense stress from a divorce can cause health problems, according to research from 2020.

4. Practice Positive self-talk

We all know that our worst enemies are those negative thoughts we have inside our heads. The world would be happier if we could only turn those off and allow positive thinking. Unfortunately, that is not reality, and we all struggle to discipline our positive internal dialogue. Oprah Winfrey and Arthur C. Brooks published “The Art and Science of Getting Happier: Build the Life You Want”. This book shows how happiness and unhappiness are critical to a fulfilling and prosperous life. It is a great book for anyone facing that negative internal dialogue and wanting to shift to a happier life.

5. Meditate and Get Sleep

Meditation can take many forms and can be achieved in many ways. One key challenge is staying calm and minimizing your stress during divorce. While there is no magic bullet, there are a few things you can do that are meditative. You can go for a walk, exercise, take a bath, or sit quietly surrounded by the soothing scent of a candle.

Meditation has been a hot topic for some time, and there is lots of advice. Vishen Lakhiani’s Mindvalley and Gaia TV are a few worthwhile places to check out. 

6. Protect your kids

When kids are involved, divorce is even more stressful. Do not bad mouth your spouse around the children. Your children are half you and half your spouse, and whenever they hear negativity about the other parent, it is like sticking a knife in them and telling them they are not worthy. It is one of the severe mistakes parents make when going through divorce. Come up with a custody and parenting plan that truly has their best interest at heart. And never allow your children to be pawns used over child support or child custody. 

7. Wait to start dating until your divorce and separation are complete

Even if you think you have both moved on emotionally, do not start dating another person (or introducing them to your kids) before you are divorced. Jealousy has a fantastic way of showing its ugly head. After resolving thousands of divorces, we have seen just about everything. One of the sure ways to turn a divorce that is moving along peacefully into a legal war zone is to start dating too soon.

8. Be the best you can be and hold yourself to a high standard

Your spouse’s bad behaviour is not an excuse for you to retaliate. The best advice is to always hold yourself to a standard you have no regrets about. The old saying that “it takes two to tango” holds, except that if one of those two refuses to engage in harmful behaviour, the other person has nothing to push up against. The outcome is that they back down. It is known as a concept of power versus force. You can stand firm in your power; however, using opposing force will always backfire.

9. See a counsellor or talk to someone

Seeking professional advice does not mean you are weak. Statistics show that it is, in fact, the most healthy, emotionally well-balanced people who seek the help of outside counsellors and psychologists. Trying to use grit as your way through divorce and handle stress is not a recipe for success over the long haul.

Here are some emotional support groups:

10. Educate Yourself

You likely have a lot on your plate trying to juggle, perhaps becoming a single parent, working and navigating through divorce. It would be best to educate yourself so that when advice comes your way, you feel empowered to make a good decision. Here are some articles and groups that may help you find informative. If it does not resonate, save your time; the goal is to reduce your stress during divorce, not increase it.