Five Things to Do to Ease the Pain of Divorce

1.  Find a support group.  Many people find comfort and strength in sharing their experiences with others who are similarly situated.There are numerous places to find support wherever you are in the divorce process.  The Lilac Tree in Evanston offers a number of regularly scheduled support groups and workshops for women who are contemplating, in the process of or have recently finished their divorce. You can find their schedule online at thelilactree.org.   Meetup offers many divorce related groups. The meetings are posted online.  In most instances, you can show up when you feel like it and there is no obligation to continue if it's not for you. There is usually no fee to participate either.  Houses of worship are another places to find support.  Many offer programs related to divorce and do not require you to be a member of the congregation to participate.

2.  Find a Therapist. I recommend this to all of my clients regardless if they are the party seeking the divorce or on the receiving end.  Talking to a trained expert is beneficial. Momentous life changes occur as a result of divorce. The way you grocery shop, your daily routine, access to your children, how you spend your money, returning to the work place, dating, feelings of sadness or fear.....the list is endless.  Change is coming and it can be daunting. Get prepared by finding the right therapist to help you navigate the changes.

3. Try something new.  If there is something that you have longed to do, but haven't, now is the time. Take a deep breath, grab a friend or go it alone.  Want to learn to play the guitar, run your best 5K or learn to speak french? Many colleges and universities offer non-credit enrichment classes. Depending on what you are interested in, there are also organizations that offer classes.  Want to grow a vegetable garden? Check out your local park district or botanic garden.  Meetup is an online clubhouse where you can find anything (and I do mean anything) to do. You will now have free time.  Trying something new is a positive way to stay busy and keep the blues away.

4.  Keep a journal.  Many scientific studies have established that journaling has positive health benefits. Research from the University of Texas/Austin indicates that daily journaling will strengthen your immune system.  There is growing evidence that journaling reduces stress.  Writing about your feelings helps clarify them and helps you focus on what you are experiencing.  This, in turn, can result in feeling more centered and in the moment.

5.  Take care of yourself.  Eat healthy. Stay active. Talk to a friend. Go to a movie. Find a reason to laugh. Find a reason to be grateful. Sleep. It's the little things that add up and will help you feel better about going through a divorce.