Taking good care of yourself

The ending of your relationship is likely to bring with it a range of difficult feelings. Regardless of how your relationship ended, you may find yourself going through a period of loss, hurt, anxiety and anger.

Taking good care of yourself will help you deal with the changes you are going through and will ensure that you are able to help your children to adjust.

Whatever you are going through, your children need to be able to rely on you. Deal with any difficult stuff away from them.

Deal with anger and sadness
Feelings of anger, sadness and loss are all common. If you feel them, you need to deal with them. If you don't, the feelings will either eat away at you or will come out in inappropriate ways.

If you find that you are shouting at your children or bursting into tears out of the blue, think about ways of dealing with your emotions.

Exercise is good for reducing stress and anger – dig the garden, play sport, ride a bike or just go for a brisk walk. Try to release anger in a controlled way – go somewhere private and shout, smash old pots or thump a pillow. If you feel tearful, find space to allow yourself to cry – it really helps.

Watch out for depression
Most people feel 'low' as they go through divorce or separation. However, these feelings of sadness and low energy can develop into something more serious. If they do, it's important that you get the right kind of help. Use our self assessment tool, below, to help you think about whether you are affected by depression.

 

Don't rely on alcohol or drugs
When you're going through a tough time, it can be tempting to use alcohol or drugs to make things feel better. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the odd drink, in the long run, alcohol and drugs will have a negative effect on your mood and health. They will also reduce your ability to stay in control of your emotions.

Eat and drink properly
In the early days after separation, it can sometimes be difficult to summon up the energy to cook properly. Especially if your children are not with you. Try to prepare and eat proper meals whenever you can and make sure that you drink enough water.

Think, also, about the food that you are eating. Foods that are high in fats and sugars often lead to mood swings. Try eating wholemeal bread and pasta, fresh fruit and plenty of vegetables. If you are not used to cooking, now might be a good time to experiment. You will find some excellent recipe ideas at BBC Good Food

 

Routines help
Your life before your separation will have had its own routines. Many of these will be lost and it can leave the world feeling chaotic. Try to keep old routines that are useful such as going to the gym, meeting friends or taking your children to their grandparents.

You may feel that you are unable to work for a short time. If this is the case, you may be able to take leave. If you are unfit for work, consult your GP. Some parents find that not taking time off helps them to cope as it gives them focus and routine.

Try to set yourself new routines. These may be based around the parenting time that you have agreed with your child's other parent. Over time, you may think about beginning new activities such as clubs, sports, volunteering or adult education.

Ask for help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If you need it, ask for it.

 

Useful links

NHS Choices - Understanding Depression

About one in 10 of us develops some form of depression in our lives. The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most depressed people make a full recovery. This site will help you find out more about depression, what you can do, and how the NHS can help.

 

Samaritans

Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day. Whatever you're going through, whether it's big or small, don't bottle it up. Samaritans are here for you if you're worried about something, feel upset or confused, or just want to talk to someone. Address: 30 Hue Street, St. Helier, Jersey. Tel: 08457 909090

 

GP Training.net

The public section of this website has a very useful list of self help resources.

 

Counselling Directory

Counselling Directory aims to be the leading service for providing counselling advice and information - connecting those in distress with the largest support network in the UK.

 

 

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Child focussed information and support around all aspects of divorce and family separation.